Would I like help packing?

I am reading a very funny book at the moment; Unexpected item in the bagging area. Written by Chris Martin, it is a very humorous look at the modern world we live in. But particularly how modern technology is supposed to help us – but rarely does.


Of course the title of the book is a give-away. Those self-service tills in Sainsbury’s have a mind of their own. Sometimes known as the shop-lifting tills they are not altogether popular. A Which? consumer survey recently found that 62% of people hate using self-service checkouts and a further 7% admit to never having tried them. But we had better get used to them – these robotic self service tills are expected quadruple bewteen 2008 and 2014 to over 430,000 units worldwide.

I sometimes use them (and always pay!) but I find them to be slower in some cases than the people-manned tills. And they don’t really interact. It’s all a bit one-way.

But this week on two occasions I have been asked by the till-person-person whether I needed help with my packing. I know my knees may be in pieces after years of squash – but placing a pack of sandwiches, cherries and tropicana in a cheap plastic bag (bad I know) I can just about manage. Especially when I saw the state of the person serving me yesterday – he was old enough to be my great-grandad. I think I should have asked him if he needed a hand scanning my gear… he could hardly see it.

Take note Sainsbury’s – No I don’t need a hand.

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