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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.



My library has done away with staff to stamp the books on their way out and check them when returned. Now, you put them all into a computerized scanner and drop box. And, of course, my bank has all but eliminated counter employees, in favour of automated ATMs for withdrawals and even "hole in the wall" machines for deposits. Even though they've closed God knows how many branches and made thousands redundant, the fucking bastards are still claiming they're running at a loss, and are itching to introduce additional charges for current accounts ....

5 February 2010 at 23:28  

I haven't been in a library since I returned, but the banks are interesting. The two that I use have counter staff and ATMs - something else that is new to me.

6 February 2010 at 00:06  

Our library also has the scan & drop box.
The local Tesco also has the self service tills, I found them too frustrating & annoying to use.
I go in the Co-op who don't go in for new fangled nonsense like that.

6 February 2010 at 20:05  

First time I went to one of these self-service jobs it ground to a halt when it met a bottle of wine. The machine had no way of telling whether I was over 18 or not.

6 February 2010 at 23:24  

Yes have a load of people go in there buying knives, booze, condoms, matches & the like, maybe the robotic slaves will all blow a fuse & I bet they're foreign robots too!
Why can't we have British robots stealing our jobs eh?

7 February 2010 at 18:56  

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