05 February 2010
A visit to Sainsbury's
My legs are still fairly wonky but getting stronger by the week if not the day. To celebrate this I went along with the bloke whose flat I am dossing in to the local Sainsbury's supermarket. OK, a supermarket is a supermarket, but what do we think about the self service checkouts then? Your friendly old Exile was seriously impressed and surprised by them.
Impressed not just by the technology on display, but with the placid, slightly slack-jawed patience of the people waiting to use the machines. Had these things been installed in Mexico you just know that the punters would have been falling over themselves to avoid paying, but in London everyone seems to queue up, slide every item over the reader and then pay the cost of everything. What an honest bunch of mugs we all are to be sure.
What surprised me was not just that these machines exist, but that they are needed. One woman seemed to be in charge of each bank of six, so the company is obviously saving five wages, but surely the investment in the machines outweighs the costs of half a dozen minimum wagers? On the other hand automatic machines don't go on strike so obviously that must be a bonus for Mr Sainsbury.
Well, that is the first major change that I have noticed after twenty years away. As my health improves I shall obviously be travelling further afield so lets wait and see what else I manage to notice.