5 Insider Tips For Supermarket Self-Serve Checkouts

Self service checkouts: love them or loathe them? Yesterday Gizmodo had some fun debate around just that, and today we follow up with some tips from the pros that will help you get through the checkout faster. This is a guest post from a Woolies Insider...

I work at Woolies, and I'm a regular on self service. Here are some common problems that I help customers with:

1. Bag Opening Funny at first, but man this wastes a lot of time. Usually each machine will have a wet sponge somewhere near by: press your index and middle finger in, then pinch (thumb and first two fingers) the opening of the bag on each side. Slide up and down, and the bag will open instantly (it's how operators do it). If there's no sponge, you can lick your fingers, or just ask the supervisor.

2. Weight Check Ensure your basket isn't leaning on the scales when weighing fruit and veg: you wouldn't believe how often this happens and you get charged too much. Always put the fruit/veg on the scale first, THEN select it on the screen.

If you run out of room in the bagging area, once the lights are green above the scanner, you can take a bag off, or there's usually a “new bag” button which lets you take a bag off.

Most issues are caused by items not scanning properly and other items leaning or being placed in the bagging area, so keep an eye out and pay attention.

3. Assistance Required It's expected that you might need it. Light items (like chilli peppers) won't register properly in the bagging area, and will need assistance, signatures etc. Don't just stand there looking busy, at least make it obvious that you're waiting for assistance, or you’ll never get help (again you wouldn't believe some people).

4. Scan and Bag Put items straight in the bag after you scan them. Don't place them in the bagging area and bag them when you're done. It's just a waste of time, and keeps you (and everyone behind you) in the store for longer.

5. Using your own bag The machines have their own expectancy for what an eco bag will weigh. If you want to pack the groceries into your backpack or gym bag, the machines won't like it, so just call the supervisor before you start.

Most importantly! Just ask for help if you need it or if you're stuck. Forget your pride and stubbornness just ask. It's easier and will get you (and everyone else) out of the supermarket quicker.

So yeah, just my tips after reading the comments over at: Opinion: Self-Checkout Luddites Are Damaging My Calm. Hope this helps you get out of the store faster.