Blog: Dean BestThe row over automated check-outs heats up

Dean Best | 3 February 2009

just-food refuses to mention the 's word' – the way the UK's news bulletins have shrieked about the weather, you would think the world is about to end – but, needless to say, we've needed something to keep us warm this week.

Thankfully, a campaign seems to be stirring on the just-food forums. Food arouses such fierce passions – topics ranging from the power of retailers to GM always create fiery arguments – but this time the subject of debate is something a little out of left-field: automatic check-outs.

Retailers across the world use them, from Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer in the UK, to Wal-Mart in the US and to Woolworths in Australia.

Some consumers may enjoy the speed and convenience of using the automated tills but for some working in stores, their introduction has meant a reduction in service and, perhaps more pertinently given the economic downturn, jobs lost.

One just-food forumista called Woolworths use of automatic check-outs in Australia “a direct violation of human rights”.

Another argues that their use is simply “a scheme to create more profits”.

What, dear reader, do you think? just-food would like to hear your views, either on our forums or by reply to this blog.


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