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2:56pm on Saturday, 1st March, 2014:

Bag Check


For reasons to do with the weather and taking people to train stations, I haven't done the weekly shop at Sainsbury's for several weeks. When I went there today, I wondered if perhaps they might be missing my custom and add some special offers to the till receipt to try tempt me back.

What actually happened was that I was called out for a bag check to make sure I'd scanned everything.

I loathe these checks. Firstly, if I use the "scan and go" system it's because I want to scan and then go, not scan and then have my bags emptied, everything rescanned, then put back in different bags from the ones they came out of. Secondly, I'm basically being accused of shoplifting. Thirdly, I'm worried the whole time in case I've accidentally not scanned something and I'm going to wind up in court.

Needless to say, they didn't find anything in my bags that I'd failed to scan.

I see why they need to do this (although not every bag — a random one would have done). However, it's not pleasant. The shop workers who have to do the scanning and repacking don't like it either ("unless it works", they said, meaning they were happy if it caught someone). From their attitude, it would seem that quite a few people are indeed caught, which leads me to suspect that some form of profiling is involved — it's not purely random. They were particularly concerned that it had come up with the request for a rescan "straight away", without even listing on the screen everything I'd scanned with the scanner.

If they want people to stop hating them for this, they should give some carrot, not just implied stick. I'd be happy to have my shopping scanned every week if, should my scanning pass muster, I got it for half price. That would be a gesture of good faith, and show some contrition at having delayed me by 10 minutes so they could check I wasn't a thief then put onions in the bag with the refrigerated items in it.

Maybe I should go to Asda more often.

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).