Checkout operators have been removed from a Coles supermarket store in Melbourne, sparking a divided reaction on social media.
Sharing on Reddit, a Coles customer revealed that his local store now only had self-service checkouts with conveyor belts.
“Coles Braybrook now just has self-control. There are no cashiers anymore,” the buyer wrote.
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A Coles spokesperson has confirmed that “hybrid assisted payments” have been installed at the Braybrook store, but insists that “team members are always available throughout our service area to serve and assist shoppers.” (see full comment below).
The move has drawn a mixed reaction among Reddit users, some disappointed by the news.
“Now EVERYONE has a job at Coles,” said one.
Added another: “We’re going to charge them the going rate of a payer and deduct that from our totals.”
Wrote a third: “I refuse to do self service unless there is a 10% discount to do so. I will go elsewhere. This is laziness on Coles’ part.”
One more said: “I prefer checking in with people but not chatting. I don’t like to use the stupid machines. Technology hates me and something always goes wrong. I tolerate small talk if it means not using the machines.
‘I prefer them’
But many others welcomed the move, saying they “would like this to be standard across all stores.”
“I personally like these. And for every teller they no longer hire, I’m sure they hire at least one personal shopper,” said one Reddit user.
Another responded: “As a retail worker, well. People act like the only job in retail is checkout and if checkouts were automated, we’d all be fired. does not happen
Woolies and Coles are in the process of hiring more people for Christmas. Shelves still need to be filled, the deli still needs staff, ticketing and stock counting still need to be done, as do cancellations and repairs, near-expired markdowns, and so on.
“All of which the staff can do now that they’re not standing at a cash register for five hours serving exactly three people, something I’ve done before.
“It’s hard to argue that people prefer self-checkouts when you’re the one at the register doing nothing while people go through the self-checkout, anecdotal as that may be.”
A third said: “I prefer them. I hate small talk. And it’s much faster.”
Others pointed out that it was a good way to stop the abuse and “harassment” suffered by some supermarket checkout workers.
“I think there is another aspect that people are not seeing, the amount of abuse that staff are experiencing,” said one. “I am noticing that more and more staff are using security cameras at Coles and Woolworths.”
Another wrote: “Yes, and clients think the job is easy and look down on the staff. Now they can scan their own shit.”
Another added: “Well being a cashier is the worst form of retail job. I mean, worse in terms of the amount of abuse they receive.”
A Coles spokesman said the supermarket made the move in response to customer feedback.
“After listening to customer feedback, we are providing Braybrook customers with additional payment options to help them complete their purchase faster and pack their bags the way they want,” the spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au.
“We have installed hybrid assisted checkouts at Coles Braybrook that allow team members to serve customers as needed. Team members are always available throughout our service area to serve and help shoppers with their preferred payment.”
In the Reddit post, Coles workers confirmed that they are still available to help scan food if needed.
“FYI, the staff at this college are lovely and more than happy to help people scan things if needed,” said one.