More than 100,000 people sign petition for fewer self-service checkouts at Tesco

19 May 2022, 10:11

A stressed shopper has called for more till staff in Tesco
A stressed shopper has called for more till staff in Tesco. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A stressed shopper is calling for more till staff in Tesco after finding food shopping "inaccessible" and "overwhelming" when forced to use self-service checkouts.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Pat McCarthy has hit out at Tesco for replacing the majority of tills with self-service and card only machines which "are not accessible" for "those with little confidence".

The 69-year-old currently volunteers helping disabled people and has said supermarkets are trying to "replace people with machines".

The retired pensioner has now launched a petition, which has gained 110,073 signatures, calling for Ken Murphy Chief Executive of Tesco to meet with her to discuss employing more till staff.

Writing the call for change she said: "My local Tesco has inaccessible self-service tills with no staff which makes the shopping experience physically difficult and overwhelming.

"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. 

Read more: Minister slaps down police chief who said officers should use discretion with shoplifters

"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."

Describing the "physically taxing process" she said: "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."

Ms McCarthy, from Brentford also expressed her concerns at the amount of jobs self-service check outs have affected, claiming the machines have "displaced mainly part-time women".

Read more: Third of fish and chip shops could face closure over food shortages

She continued: "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."

Pat says if no changes are made by the supermarket giant then it will mean "an erosion of a great shopping experience into a Tesco's shopping nightmare".  

In response to the claims Tesco said staff were always on hand to help at either type of checkout stating: "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."