New Self-Service Checkouts At Coles Forest Lake Draw Mixed Reactions

Four traditional checkout lanes at Coles Forest Lake have been replaced with six, new self-checkout machines, drawing mixed reactions from customers. Although many were impressed by the new technology, some customers complained about the ‘extremely hard’ experience.

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An older customer, who posted in a community page, said swiping and bagging can be particularly hard for people who are in a mobility device. 

The customer went on to say that he prefers to receive full service, adding that the interaction keeps shoppers entertained as they have someone to talk to at the end of their shopping journey. Also, ‘it keeps people in employment.’ 

Coles’ old self checkout machines, taken in Nerang (Photo credit:  CC-BY-SA-3.0/Kgbo/Wikimedia Commons)

Whilst it’s true that Coles Forest Lake has replaced its traditional checkouts with self-service machines, a spokesperson from the company pointed out that there are still five traditional checkouts on the main lane for those who would like to be served by one of their team members.

A self-serve checkout features a conveyor belt, where shoppers can unload the items from their trolleys.

The Rise of Self-Serve Checkouts

The supermarket giant first introduced the self-service technology in 2015 in Melbourne, in a bid to encourage shoppers to complete large shopping trips on their own.

Although remained unimpressed, many expressed appreciation, particularly in light of pandemic concerns.

In a Reddit thread about Coles’ self-service checkouts, there were shoppers who shared that the new large format self checkouts are “fantastic” because they work so much better.

“I’d much rather do the self checkout even though I am doing their job. My groceries get treated with respect, my fruit and veg doesn’t get thrown and slammed, my bread doesn’t get squashed and I get to pack my own bags. Even more importantly, I don’t have people putting their germs all over my groceries,” the Reddit user said.

Less Jobs? Not Really

One of the main concerns people have about self-serve checkouts is the thought that it kills jobs.

Contrary to this impression, Coles has revealed that their employee numbers have continued to grow in recent years, with 120,000 team members joining in 2021, up from 118,000 in 2020.

The retail giant said it has invested heavily into the self-service technology with an aim to help customers check out more quickly whilst freeing up team members to interact with their customers in other areas, providing guidance and assistance to the level they require.