I am on a crusade, and I’m inviting you to join me.  Now’s a good time to start, if you haven’t  done so already: think of it as a post-May Day revolution.  You don’t have to take to the streets, or brandish placards.  There aren’t any petitions, or at least, I don’t think there are.  You may have to sacrifice a little time now and again, but nowhere near as much as if you were doing a voluntary job or going on a demo or guerilla gardening.  It’s very simple, and you can do your bit the next time you go into a supermarket , whether it’s a full sized mega-shop or one of those insidious little Tesco or Sainsbury “local” stores that are rapidly replacing independent delis, family run corner shops, and even pubs in this part of the world.  All you have to do is to join the queue for the manned checkout, and when a defeated looking assistant comes to tell you that there’s a self service one available, say no thank you, I’d rather wait.  Simple isn’t it?  Don’t be rude: the assistant is one of a dying species and she’s losing sleep over wondering whether she’ll still have a job at all next week.  So be polite, and explain that you’re not going to collude in the supermarkets’ strategy of making even more profit at the expense of people’s jobs, especially when unemployment is rising alarmingly.

I mean, how on earth do they justify it?  2.65 million people are out of work in the UK today.  In the Sainsbury local store at Clapham Junction, there used to be between 8 and 10 tills, each one operated by an efficient and pleasant assistant.  Now there’s a row of unmanned self service checkouts  with Stepford Wife voices demanding that you remove unauthorised objects from bagging area as if they might be explosive and nagging you to swipe your nectar card.  Beyond horrible.  Bring on the new wave Luddites.  Or if you’re worried about being arrested, just say no, and wait in line for a real person who needs a job.  And please retweet this: let’s go viral.


  1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman on May 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I think I have used the automated tills just twice and both times I had a very frustrating experience so I have avoided them like the plague ever since. It is such a shame that we have come to this and what’s worse is that by our shopping habits we selectively endorse it too even if it is by our lack of comment 🙁

  2. Our Adventure in Croatia on January 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    hi, I avoid the automatic tills all the time…. hate them…. if one of the assistants try to direct me to one I say I prefer to wait in line for the next till with a real person. I hate those voices on the automatic till, and there is always some problem “remove item” or the scan does not work etc etc. It takes me longer than waiting in line…. I’ve even thought about an answer if they would ever insist…… give them back the basket and I’ll go somewhere else for my shopping!

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