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Over 100,000 sign pensioner’s petition to bring back tills at Tesco, The Manc

Over 100,000 sign pensioner’s petition to bring back tills at Tesco

69 year old Pat McCarthy says her local Tesco has ”inaccessible self-service tills with no staff’, leaving some shoppers waiting over 30 minutes to be served

A regular shopper at Tesco is pleading with the supermarket giant to “stop replacing people with machines”, and has even launched a petition to take them on.

Pat McCarthy, aged 69, started the petition after she struggled to use the self-checkout tills at her local big Tesco supermarket.

Stating “you can’t speak to a machine”, she’s now calling on the company to reintroduce more staffed checkouts – and it seems the nation is on her side.

The petition has already hit over 100,000 signatures – 102,222 at the time of writing – and looks set to soon become one of the most-signed petitions on Change.org.

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In it, Pat makes several well-put arguments for the return of more staff, explaining that at her local Tesco, and “probably all over the country, Tesco is bringing in new self-service and sort-it-yourself card only till machines. They make up 3/4 of the tills now. 

“These new tills are not accessible for people who don’t have credit cards and can only use cash or those with little confidence to use these self-service card-only tills – myself included. 

As an older woman, I can’t lift anything heavy, and that goes for many disabled people.”

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She continues: “People such as carers, older people, disabled people with mobility problems or lifting problems have to queue waiting for more than 30 minutes.

“I couldn’t lift the windscreen wash the other day in Tesco because it was so heavy and some men were lovely to help and had to put it in my car for me. 

“If they weren’t around and my daughter wasn’t with me, I would have been helpless.”

Her petition also points out that the new self-service tills have “displaced mainly part-time women staff”, and echos something many older people miss – the bit of chit-chat you have with the staff as they’re scanning your items.

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She explains: “I love chatting with the staff, albeit briefly, especially as l live on my own. Talking with human staff is important to me. Now that experience has been taken away from me.

It is not the first time that shoppers have pushed back against self-checkout tills. Back in 2015, Morrisons brought back staff at 1,000 “express” checkouts after learning 67% of their customers felt enxious using the self scanning tills.

Over 100,000 sign pensioner’s petition to bring back tills at Tesco, The Manc
Image: Flickr

The full petition reads: “My name is Pat, I am 69 years old, and retired but I am a volunteer helping disabled people with applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) forms and a Trustee of my local Disability Network. 

“My local Tesco has inaccessible self-service tills with no staff which makes the shopping experience physically difficult and overwhelming.

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“At my local Tesco mega-store, and probably all over the country, Tesco is bringing in new self-service and sort-it-yourself card only till machines. They make up 3/4 of the tills now. 

“These new tills are not accessible for people who don’t have credit cards and can only use cash or those with little confidence to use these self-service card-only tills – myself included. 

“People such as carers, older people, disabled people with mobility problems or lifting problems have to queue waiting for more than 30 minutes.

Over 100,000 sign pensioner’s petition to bring back tills at Tesco, The Manc
Image: Flickr

“I couldn’t lift the windscreen wash the other day in Tesco because it was so heavy and some men were lovely to help and had to put it in my car for me.  If they weren’t around and my daughter wasn’t with me, I would have been helpless.

“These new self-service card tills have displaced mainly part-time women staff. 

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“I love chatting with the staff, albeit briefly, especially as l live on my own. Talking with human staff is important to me. Now that experience has been taken away from me.

“With these new replacement Self-service-card-only tills (SSCOT) you have to choose your shopping if you can find it, put it in the trolley, unpack it, load it onto the belt that is static, scan it (if the scanner works), shove it across onto a packing area, pay for it and then lift it off out of the packing area and then load it into your trolley. This is a physically taxing process. As an older woman, I can’t lift anything heavy, and that goes for many disabled people.

Read more: Food boss warns school dinner portions could shrink as food costs soar

“I challenge Ken Murphy Chief Executive of Tesco to meet with me for a discussion to explain his ‘replace people with machines policy’. I want Ken Murphy to bring staff back to do check-outs on the till and not have a replace people with machines policy.

If we lose, it means an erosion of a great shopping experience into a Tesco’s shopping nightmare.  

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“Sign and share this petition to help people with physical difficulties to have a better shopping experience in Tesco by bringing back staff.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Our colleagues and the friendly service they provide are absolutely vital to our stores and will always be on hand to help our customers, whether they are checking out at one of our colleague-operated or self-service checkouts.”

If you’d like to sign the petition you can do so here.

Feature image – Geograph

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