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Fed-up Tesco shoppers are demanding more manned tills after struggling to use self-service check outs and ‘missing human interaction’ with staff.
Scores of customers have taken to social media to implore the supermarket giant to stop ‘replacing humans with machines’, using the hashtag #bringbacktescostaff.
The petition which launched the campaign has now received more than 100,000 signatures.
Tesco told MailOnline today that it brought in self-service machines 20 years ago to give customers choice, adding that there are still staff manning tills.
But customers claim those wanting to be serviced by traditional check outs often face longer queues due to fewer lanes being open.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘I never use self-serve tills. Invariable the bloody things find something wrong with my purchase, or my bag, or the way I’m looking at it, so I have to get staff over to fix it anyway.’
Another said: ‘A friendly face at a till improves customer experience hugely. It makes checking out easier, friendlier and addresses problems… machines alienate customers.’
Pat McCarthy, 69, of Brentford, West London, started the online petition calling for more cashiers on tills because the self-service checkouts make her shopping experience ‘physically difficult and overwhelming’, adding that she missed chatting with the staff, particularly as she lives alone.
The petition which launched the campaign (pictured) has now received more than 100,000 signatures
Pat McCarthy (pictured), 69, of Brentford, West London, started the online petition calling for more cashiers on tills because the self-service checkouts make her shopping experience ‘physically difficult and overwhelming’
Tesco told MailOnline today that it brought in self-service machines 20 years ago to give customers choice, adding that there are still staff manning tills. (Stock image of Tesco self-service check out machines)
She wrote: ‘These new self-service card tills have displaced mainly part-time women staff.
‘I love chatting with the staff, albeit briefly, especially as l live on my own. Talking with human staff is important to me. Now that experience has been taken away from me.’
She added: ‘These new tills are not accessible for people who don’t have credit cards and can only use cash or those with little confidence to use these self-service card-only tills – myself included.
‘People such as carers, older people, disabled people with mobility problems or lifting problems have to queue waiting for more than 30 minutes.
‘I couldn’t lift the windscreen wash the other day in Tesco because it was so heavy and some men were lovely to help and had to put it in my car for me. If they weren’t around and my daughter wasn’t with me, I would have been helpless.’
Some customers showed support for the unmanned tills, with one tweeting: ‘Being on the autistic spectrum, I find self service tills a godsend as I don’t have to queue anxiously waiting, knowing I have to speak to someone.’
A Tesco spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Our colleagues and the friendly service they provide are absolutely vital to our stores and will always be on hand to help our customers, whether they are checking out at one of our colleague-operated or self-service checkouts.
Social media users demand more staff be brought back to Tesco stores, while some praise the self-service checkouts
‘We first introduced self-service checkouts nearly 20 years ago to give our customers a choice and our stores have both types of checkout.’
Tesco launched its first checkout-free high street store in Holborn, central Londo last October, where shoppers can pick up groceries and leave without the need for a till.
It is among the latest retail giant to open a branch where high-tech cameras are used to track the items customers place in their baskets.
To use the shop, visitors need to use the Tesco.com app, scanning this in as they enter.
They then pick up the items they wish to buy and walk straight out of the store, getting a receipt and being charged for the products once they have left.
It registers the items people pick up using cameras as well as weight sensors to recognise when items are taken off shelves.
Amazon opened its first Amazon Go grocery shop in the UK in March 2021, before expanding to five more sites, while Aldi opened its own till-free shop in September.
Tesco is launching its first checkout-free high street store today, where shoppers can pick up groceries and leave without the need for a till
Tesco stressed that the move away from cashiers would not reduce the number of staff employed in stores, with the High Holborn site continuing to employ 22 workers, which it said was in line with other convenience stores.
There is also a section in the store specifically for age-restricted products, with a separate exit where staff check ID.
Kevin Tindall, managing director of Tesco Convenience, said at the time: ‘This is a really exciting moment for Tesco as we launch GetGo with customers.
‘We are constantly looking for ways to improve the shopping experience and our latest innovation offers a seamless checkout for customers on the go, helping them to save a bit more time.
‘This is currently just a one-store trial, but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond.’