An Australian TikToker went viral when he vented about the growing number of self-checkout registers at his local grocery store.
User Shawn z (@shawnz836) filmed the video while shopping inside Woolworths, Australia’s largest grocery chain. The video was viewed over 176,000 times as of publication, and sparked a chord with viewers who lamented the lack of cashiers at their grocery stores.
Shawn records the front of the store, showing a huge number of self-checkout registers. As he walks from register to register he repeats, “Do it yourself.”
A text overlay reads: “Do it yourself. Pay twice the price. Put it into an expensive crap bag.”
@shawnz836 Coles and Woolworths are taking the piss #coles #woolworths #fyp #fypシ ♬ original sound – Shawn z
The video concludes with a simple message: “Coles and Woolworth’s taking your money and your jobs.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Shawn via TikTok comments and Woolworths via email for further information.
Many viewers responded with their own complaints about companies intentionally shorting staff and having customers perform the labor themselves.
“So sad no jobs for our children to get a start and learn commitment to work for when they go for a real job,” a user remarked.
“We work for coles and woolies, they just call it self-check out,” a second person quipped.
“So [they’re] price gouging us, and we also have to work for them to check ourselves out,” a fourth person said.
Others urged customers to stop using self-service checkouts.
“Use a proper cashier and keep people in employment,” a user said.
Self-checkout systems have seen a dramatic rise in use in the last few years. The technology’s market was estimated at $11.041 billion in 2020 and is expected to rise to $37.295 billion by 2027, according to the market research firm Knowledge Source Intelligence. These systems are becoming more widespread, with hotels, retailers and restaurants all utilizing self-checkout to speed up customer service.
Proponents of the technology claim that automation’s widespread implementation will ease a customer’s in-store shopping experience. According to a report by Raydiant in 2021, 48% of respondents prefer to shop in person if given a choice. However, the report also revealed that long checkout lines and wait times are a major reason why people shop online instead of in-store. Self-checkouts are a way to combat this issue. The systems cut wait times, which greatly increases customer satisfaction. One survey found that 80% of in-store shoppers prefer non-traditional means of checking out.
Today, self-checkout systems comprise 40% of all registers, and issues have become apparent, Grocery Dive reported. A survey of 1,000 respondents found that 67% had experienced a technical issue when using automated registers, according to CNN.
Retailers have also seen the downsides. Companies learned that these machines are not totally autonomous and require regular supervision. Some, like Costco and Albertsons, removed them due to regular errors that required a staff member’s assistance. Stores also sustain higher losses from self-checkout due to shoplifting, the Atlantic reported.