With an increasing amount of complaints about self-serve checkouts in shops being ‘impersonal and robotic’, Tesco are trailing a new version of the tills that gives you the lack of service you have come to expect from a real barely-live person.
Tesco Express in Harold is one of the stores testing out the checkouts and so far they seem to have gone down well. “I always felt uneasy at the way the machines would say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’” one loyal customer explained.
“But with this new one I had to press start 8 times and fake a little cough before it even acknowledged my existence. It’s like there was a regular employee inside operating it”.
It’s not just the lack of basic manners that brings this machine into the realms of virtual reality, and like a good film, it takes a few runs to notice everything. One of the prominent features include the sounds of gum being chewed. Although traditionally these stores don’t play music, you can now scan your items to the rhythmical sounds of mastication.
If the supermarket giant decide to roll out the checkouts to all their stores, the software will be updated to include the voice of a monosyllabic teenager to ask forced rhetorical questions such as ‘how are you?’, ‘can I help you pack you bags?’ and ‘do you have a clubcard’ , before letting out a huge sigh should you dare answer. A small water jet just placed just above the screen will ensure the experience is also a physical one with the simulation spit every third word.
“Sighing, tutting and swearing under it’s breath are the underlying qualities that the devolved tills are built on” manager Paul Watts told us. “And as they aren’t 18 years old yet, you’ll also have to wait 15 minutes for a supervisor to give powerful ‘nod of confirmation’ if you wish to buy a pack of ‘brandy snaps”.