As The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend approached, I thought it time to stock up on some drink (of the alcoholic variety) ready for the various festivities we were attending. However, I didn’t visit my usual supermarket where every little helps, but decided to go to the one which encourages us to ‘try something new today’ and where they claim to check the prices in the other two leading supermarkets and offer a brand price match. Although the main reason I went to this particular supermarket was because they had given me a 20% discount voucher!
I don’t know why I explained that in such a convoluted way as I am sure what follows applies to all the supermarkets!
Confused? Me too!
I selected my bottles of wine for the evening events and my packs of cider for the afternoons (in case the sun came out). I also picked up some Pimms as that seemed like an appropriate afternoon tipple for watching the pageant along the Thames.
I headed to the checkouts and was a little surprised to find only two open.
Each had a queue already formed, so I decided to make use of the self service checkouts. There were four of these and only one was being used. I parked my trolley to the side and started to offer each item, one by one, to the barcode scanner.
I started with the wine. I had six bottles, and thought I might be able to scan one, press a quantity button and tell the system I had six. However, this was not something that was on offer to me. Especially because as soon as I scanned the first bottle, the machine spoke back to me telling me ‘Approval Required’. I looked around for an assistant to help, wondering whether I was going to have to do this for every bottle.As if by magic, an assistant appeared at my side. She tapped her code onto the touch screen and pressed all sorts of buttons before telling me to continue scanning my items. Picking up another bottle of wine, I scanned the barcode only to receive another ‘Approval Required’ message. I foolishly assumed the assistant had overridden this as I had a trolley load of bottles.
Once more the assistant appeared. I pointed to my trolley and asked if she was going to have to enter her number after every scan. Fortunately she replied with a no, adding that she would do it once at the end.
Why didn’t she just tell me that after the first bottle?
So, four more bottles of wine were offered to the scanner and four more ‘Approval Required’ messages were uttered. Up next came the packs of cider. Both of those were also greeted with the ‘Approval Required’ message. Next came the bottle of Pimms. This had a security tag around the neck of the bottle.
As I gingerly offered the bottle to the scanner, I half expected sirens to wail and lights to flash, but all I got was the ‘Approval Required’ message. Once again, I looked round for the assistant, as this was my last bottle and I not only needed her to approve the entire transaction, but also to remove the security tag.
She duly obliged with the former and told me to continue through the payment screens whilst she went to the customer service desk to remove the security tag. So, doing as I was told, I pressed the appropriate buttons to tell the system how I was going to pay. Firstly, of course, I had to tell the system I was using my own bags! Up next came the payment method. This was going to be twofold – firstly a voucher, secondly a credit card.
There was a barcode printed on the voucher, so, just like the bottles, I offered it to the scanner for it to do its work. And just like the bottles, it invoked a little message from the machine. Not quite ‘Approval Required’, but a message that required an assistant. This time the message was ‘Voucher not accepted – value too high’.
This time, the assistant didn’t appear straight away, as she was off removing the tag from my purchase. However, once she did come to my rescue, it took a second assistant to sort out the problem. After much head scratching, button pressing and code entering, the assistants eventually managed to get the machine to accept my voucher.
Meantime, the queues at the ‘real’ checkouts had virtually gone!
So the moral of the story is, even if you only have a handful of items, and especially if you have alcohol or coupons, save yourself time by joining a long queue!
Unexpected item in the bagging area? Yes, me!