Aussie rips into Woolworths over a very annoying new self-service checkout feature

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A frustrated shopper has taken aim at a new feature at Woolworth’s self-service checkouts after being ‘locked out’ of the machine and forced to get assistance.

The supermarket giant reintroduced scales in the self-service bagging areas to identify incorrectly scanned items by weight and installed security camera screens above the checkouts to identify unscanned items. 

Woolworths said the camera technology, which has been in operation for well over 18 months but still being rolled out in supermarkets, helps ‘reduce misscans and improve speed for customers through the checkout’.

However, honest customers are frustrated by the process as the technology wrongly identifies the unscanned item and locks them out from completing their purchase.

In a Reddit post on Tuesday, one Sydney shopper asked if ‘Anyone else [was] frustrated with the Woolies self-checkouts?’

Aussie rips into Woolworths over a very annoying new self-service checkout feature

Frustrated shoppers are claiming the anti-theft technology is wrongly identifying items as ‘unscanned’ and locking them out of the self-service checkout (pictured)

‘The last few times I’ve been to Woolies, my self-checkout has locked and required a staff member to come over and approve something I’ve entered because their AI algorithm has decided it doesn’t look like it should,’ she wrote.

‘If this happened occasionally, I’d understand, but it seems to be at least once every time I shop, and I have to compete with a quarter of the other self-serve checkouts for the attention of the one busy staff member.’

The post has received over 250 comments in 18 hours, with many Aussies sharing the shoppers’ frustrations.

‘At Woolies, some of the self-serve checkouts have the camera above you so if you don’t scan every single item in your trolley, it will lock when you try to pay and ask for a staff member to verify you scanned everything,’ one said. 

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‘Really annoying when I’m doing shopping for different people and need separate transactions.’

Another user explained they were locked out of the self-checkout after the security camera identified an empty coffee cup and a pre-purchased loaf of bread as unscanned items.

‘I’ve had it lock me out and make me wait for staff because I had the nerve to leave empty bags hanging off the back of my trolley,’ a second claimed.

Another joked : ‘I had my four-year-old in the trolley, and she triggered the scanners as an “unidentified personal object in trolley”.’

A Woolworth’s cashier labelled the self-checkout system as ‘terrible’ and often wrongly identified items as stolen. 

‘It has reacted to seeing nearby trolleys that weren’t linked to the customer, and sometimes it thinks someone’s shoes are a stolen item,’ they wrote.

‘One man was wearing bright green gloves, and the machine thought he put the wrong item on the scales.’

One shopper said her four-year-old daughter, who was sitting in the trolley, was identified as an unscanned item, while a Woolworths cashier said the technology sometimes identifies a customer's shoes as stolen (pictured, shoppers using Woolworths self-service checkout)

One shopper said her four-year-old daughter, who was sitting in the trolley, was identified as an unscanned item, while a Woolworths cashier said the technology sometimes identifies a customer’s shoes as stolen (pictured, shoppers using Woolworths self-service checkout)

The Woolworths shopper said their store is understaffed making it difficult to deal with customers and increased scanning errors. 

‘We don’t have enough staff to fill in the required one person per five stalls requirement,’ they wrote. 

‘So I often have to deal with more customers than I should, and of course, the area is too crowded to walk in.’

One user said they understood the need for the technology but the least Woolworths could do was ‘make sure the f***ing things work’.

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Woolworths told Daily Mail Australia the technology, known as ‘Scan Assist’, does not lock customers out, rather queries whether an item as been scanned. 

‘If a misscan occurs, a short video highlights the affected product and customers then have the opportunity to re-scan it,’ Woolworths said.

‘While most customers do the right thing at our self-serve checkouts, we’re all busy and mistakes can easily happen.’

The retail giant’s new camera technology detects when something has bypassed your scanner by filming the area the customer is standing in, then stops the checkout process and sets off a red light above. 

It then replays a video of the issue on the checkout screen in front of you. 

Woolworths (pictured) reintroduced weighted scales in the self-service bagging area and installed security cameras above checkouts to help identify unscanned items and deter theft

Woolworths (pictured) reintroduced weighted scales in the self-service bagging area and installed security cameras above checkouts to help identify unscanned items and deter theft 

As soon as a shopper accidentally or deliberately pushes their trolley past the scanner or the checkout operator, if it contains any products, the red light above will go off and show the operator a video of the problem.

That means the cameras can pick up customers ‘forgetting’ to pay for bulk or heavy items in their trolleys – like 24 packs of drinks or a tray of dog food cans.

Woolworths said it would ‘listen closely to both customer and team feedback’ over the technology. 

But no matter what opposition shoppers have to the cameras it’s unlikely the supermarket leader will step back from the new anti-theft camera.

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