More Shoppers Drug Mart customers complain that they are forced to use self-checkout


Michael Kerwin said that at two Shoppers Drug Mart supermarkets in the Toronto area last month, he was told that he had to use self-checkout to buy goods-unless he paid in cash, he was very angry.

Self-checkout machines in chain pharmacies only accept debit and credit cards.

“When they basically said,’If you don’t have cash, we won’t even take you to the cashier’… This is where I myself started to line up on the beach,” Colwyn said. “I want a choice to deal with a real person.”

In the past few years, many Canadian retailers have added self-checkout machines, claiming that they provide customers with a convenient choice.

But for the second time in two years, CBC News heard allegations from shoppers and customers that some of the chain’s stores are pushing people to use self-checkout.

Michael Kerwin and his partner Colleen Pilger said that they were frustrated last month when they were told that they had to use the self-checkout machine to buy goods at two different Shoppers Drug Mart in the Toronto area. (Craig Cheevers/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Worried about lack of choice, employees

CBC News interviewed six people in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. They all said that during a recent visit to the Shoppers store, an employee instructed debit and credit card payers to self-checkout. Except for one customer, all customers were clearly told that if they paid in cash, they could only check out through the cashier.

Lorrie Perko said this was her experience when she visited shoppers in Waterloo, Ontario last month.

“[An employee] Standing there with her hands crossed, she said, “The head office says unless you use cash or buy lottery tickets [tickets], You must now use self-checkout. ‘”

Perko said she didn’t have enough cash, so she reluctantly used self-checkout.

“If I have cash, I will let her open her heart.”

Perko said she should have a choice. Other complaints from interviewed customers included concerns that the machines were not cleaned frequently enough, or that using them would lead to fewer employees.

“They tried to have [customers] Do this work,” Colwyn said.

Loblaws, the parent company of the chain, did not answer questions about whether the introduction of self-checkout machines in Shoppers caused any unemployment.

period November 2020 Loblaws Earnings Conference Call, The company identified self-checkout as one of Efficiency measures” and said that this has helped the retail giant cut operating costs.

Loblaws responds

In 2019, several shopper customers were interviewed Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News Report They also complained that they were told to use self-checkout unless they were paid in cash.

At about the same time, two Shoppers employees in Ontario Tell the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Their supervisor is pressing them to use the self-checkout machine.

Loblaws told CBC News in 2019 that it hopes that the store will always provide customers with the option to check out through the cashier.

Spokesperson Catherine Thomas said in an email at the time: “Our intention is not to make customers feel that they have no choice. We have reminded all stores of this expectation.”

As for the latest complaint, CBC News contacted five Shoppers stores and they said they were required to use self-checkout. It is said that each store contacted the head office.

Loblaws told CBC News that its policy has not changed and customers should always have the option of using cashiers.

The company did not resolve its recent claims, saying only that it did not see an increase in customer complaints about self-checkout.

However, shoppers have resolved several similar complaints on social media, and customers have stated that they feel compelled to use these machines.

In response to a complaint from a customer on Facebook about self-checkout, Shoppers responded that it had increased its investment in self-checkout machines based on customer feedback. (Facebook)

In response to a complaint published last month, a Shoppers spokesperson wrote: “Recently, we have increased our investment in self-checkout and its technology based on customer feedback.”

Loblaws spokesperson Thomas told CBC News that hundreds of thousands of shopper customers use the self-checkout option every day.

Survey shows self-checkout is popular

Thomas said that during the pandemic, the chain “used a significant increase in the use of self-checkout, and customers wanted to minimize interaction with others or seek faster checkout options.” “We pay close attention to these indicators, as well as the satisfaction of our customers in the store, and believe that they tell a more accurate story.”

A new survey by Dalhousie University in Halifax also found that self-checkout has become a popular choice for consumers.

According to the survey, of the 10,000 Canadians surveyed online in May, nearly 40% said they plan to use self-checkout for most of their shopping at the grocery store in the next six months.

The lead investigator of the investigation, Sylvain Charlebois, said the fear of contracting COVID-19 may prompt some people to use self-checkout when shopping.

“They want to leave as soon as possible,” said Charlie Bois, who specializes in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie. “If self-checkout is an option for them to withdraw as soon as possible, they may go to self-checkout.”

‘Vote with your feet’

But not everyone accepted self-checkout during the pandemic. Kerwin decided to put a cashier’s ring in his merchandise. He said that he paid in cash, and during one of his shopper visits, his girlfriend Colleen Pilger left the store and went to a bank teller in a nearby bank to get enough Use cashier option for cash.

Watch | Customers share their self-checkout experience with shoppers:

Shoppers Drug Mart customers in three provinces complained that unless they paid cash, they were forced to use self-checkout methods to pay for purchases. Customers Michael Kerwin and Colleen Pilger left the store to get cash from the bank because they wanted to use a cashier. 1:21

Kerwin said that customers should always have the option to pay with plastic at the checkout, especially during the pandemic, so he won’t return to shoppers until he is sure that he can do so.

“All we can do is vote with our feet,” he said. “I strongly encourage people not to shop in places that don’t allow you to use a debit or credit card to interact with cashiers.

Despite some customer objections, self-checkout may become more common as stores continue to accept automation.

Currently, retail giants Wal-Mart and Amazon are trying large stores without cashiers in the United States Amazon A large grocery store was opened in Seattle, and no employees were involved in the checkout process.

Marion Chan, a consumer analyst at TrendSpotter Consulting in Toronto, said: “Technology will become a more important part of the overall retail landscape, whether it is self-checkout or completely unmanned checkout.” “In the long run, technology will win.”

Even so, customer complaints about self-checkout may resonate with some retailers.

Wal-Mart opened a cashierless store in Fayetteville, Arkansas, offering 34 self-checkout stations. However, the retailer stated that customers can still ask employees to scan their merchandise. (Walmart)

Walmart The new unmanned cashier store in Fayetteville, Arkansas includes more than 30 self-checkout machines placed in a huge U-shaped structure. However, customers can still ask employees called “hosts” to scan products for them during self-checkout, or even pack them.

Wal-Mart said in a statement: “The owner’s job is to ensure that the checkout experience is exactly what the customer wants.”


* The Dalhousie University survey cited in this story was designed by the research company Caddle and conducted online. A random sample of this size produces a margin of error of +/- 1.3% in 19 out of 20 times.





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