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Supermarket chain Booths axing almost all self-checkout tills following customer backlash

Booths supermarket (Google Street View)
Booths supermarket (Google Street View)

Booths is removing self-checkouts from its shops in a bid to improve customer satisfaction.

The supermarket has announced plans to replace self-checkout machines with human cashiers in all but two of its 27 stores.

It comes after a recent survey of customers found that many find them too troublesome to use.

Self-service tills are often unsuitable for shoppers who want help packing or need to pay by cash. Theirarrival has also meant supermarket chains are cutting back on staffed checkouts.

Booths has 16 stores in Lancashire as well as outlets in Yorkshire and Cheshire. The upmarket supermarket, which rivals northern Waitrose, is believed to be the first chain to move away from using self-service tills.


Speaking to BBC Radio Lancashire, Booths managing director Nigel Murray said: “Our customers have told us this over time, that the self-scan machines that we've got in our stores they can be slow, they can be unreliable, they're obviously impersonal.

"We stock quite a lot of loose items - fruit and veg and bakery - and as soon as you go to a self-scan with those you've got to get a visual verification on them, and some customers don't know one different appleversus another for example," he added.

"There's all sorts of fussing about with that and then the minute you put any alcohol in your basket somebody's got to come and check that you're of the right age."

Mr Murray added: "We are a business that prides ourselves on the high standards and high levels of warm, personal care.

"We like to talk to people and we're really proud that we're moving largely to a place where our customers are served by people, by human beings so rather than artificial intelligence, we're going for actualintelligence."

It comes after Tory MP Simon Hoare and Doctor Who actor John Barrowman criticised supermarkets for shifting towards almost total self-checkouts.

“I didn’t choose to participate in that nonsense, I had already filled my cart, emptied my cart, scanned the items, refilled my cart and so I just skipped the exit line and left,” Mr Barrowman said recently, explaining how he had paid for his shopping.

He added on X: “If you want me to be a cashier with no training then that’s your problem not mine.

“Keep employing young people and give them job opportunities.”

Mr Hoare retweeted his message, adding: “I agree entirely. Worth noting that for some, the shortconversation at the checkout is sometimes the only human interaction of the day. Customers must have the choice.”

Meanwhile, new figures showed the move to self-checkout machines in supermarkets was hitting the number of vacancies in stores, including those in the run-up to Christmas.

Job adverts linked to checkouts were down to just over 2,000 last month, from more than 2,740 a year ago, according to job search engine Adzuna.