Coles Broadway Frustrations

Coles Broadway Frustrations
This is pretty much the exact debate the Snook and I have every time we’re in Coles. I REFUSE to use the self-serve checkouts. As a former checkout chick, I know that trained checker is always going to be faster than a bunch of slack-jawed shoppers tentatively poking at a touch-screen. I’m also extremely dubious that Coles is passing on the savings they make from cutting those checker jobs. (Why should they? They have a duopoly.) I am also still unhappy with the store redesign, which makes no logical sense whatsoever. No one can find anything. (Example: Cat food and cat litter are in two separate aisles, and while you might assume that the store would want to make it convenient for shoppers, they’d obviously rather get us to spend thirty seconds longer in their hamster maze.) They’ve also put an aisle across the middle of the store (breaking every aisle in half), so there’s no clear traffic flow and the whole thing is a nightmare. I also refuse to use their butcher while there is a perfectly good independent butcher fifty feet outside the entrance (who they’re obviously trying to drive out of business). So why am I still shopping there? It’s the only place around to get the stupid cat supplies.


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  1. I loathe self-service checkouts – wrong on SO many levels

  2. And yet… we were at another Coles on Saturday afternoon, and every checkout had at least ten people waiting at them, whereas the self-service had no line and we were out of there in ten minutes. If we’d queued we wouldn’t have even got to the checkout in that time.

    I don’t mind them now I’ve got the hang of it.

  3. Those people were all queueing out of principle, like me. 🙂

    As I said to the Snook, I wouldn’t against some actual labor-saving advance in terms of checkout technology. Barcode scanners are great. A robot that checked you out? Sure. Or even RFID chips on everything that would just deduct the payment like an E-Tag on a toll road as you walked out of the store. But the self-serve checkouts aren’t labor-saving. They just foist the labor onto the consumer! If I’m forced to shop at Coles, they can at least pay somebody minimum wage to ring the stuff up.

  4. My argument is one of net utility to society. While someone is ringing up my groceries, I’m standing around scratching my bum. I’m not having fun, so it’s not contributing to my total happiness, and I’m not producing anything so it’s not contributing to society.

    If I do the checking out, instead of doing nothing, then the checkout operator is free to go and do something else useful. More stuff gets done, society becomes wealthier (in real terms) and everyone is happier.

  5. If the checkout operator were really able to go and do something else useful, then maybe that would work. But what she’s more likely to be sent off doing is standing in line at Centrelink. And you’d have that on your conscience!! Wouldn’t you?

  6. But you’re working! By the same standards, when you’re out at a restaurant you could go and get your own food from the kitchen. You’re basically advocating a society of NOTHING BUT BUFFETS.

  7. No. At a restaurant, I’m explicitly paying someone to cook and deliver my food so that I can do something else that I want to do — sit and enjoy myself. Having to cook and/or fetch my own food would greatly devalue the offering.

    My goal at the supermarket, on the other hand, is to get my groceries and leave as quickly as possible. The checkout process is a barrier to that goal. Better to have it waste the time of one person rather than two.

    Actually, I think the checkout is best handled by two people — one scanning, one packing, except in the case of a very small numbers of items. Thus, I think highest utilisation is achieved by using the staffed checkout if you are on your own, have a decent amount of groceries, and pack them yourself. Otherwise use the self-serve and minimise the waste.

  8. I don’t mind the self service check outs when I have a few items, I find it really quick. But I’ve seen some peolpe (at Coles Norton Plaza, not B’way) checking out whole cart loads at the self service. I got told to use the manned check out at Broadway because I ahd too much and they had plenty of staff on the tills. I just couldn’t see the checkout guy as he was behind a huge column.

    I loathe the new layout. Nothing makes any sense and they seem to have cut back on LOTS of brands. I did see a woman complaining loudly to the store manager that the layout made no sense and increased her shopping time dramatically, and not to Coles benefit as she is not going to be fooled into buying stuff she doesn’t need. The Cat food/litter issue was also being complained about loudly.
    Next time I’m there, (not much choice when your huge and pregnant with a toddler) I will be complaining too.

  9. Just to clarify, I’m not 24 months pregnant but pregnant and also have a toddler….

  10. I prefer to use the self service check outs. I also used to be a checkout chick, but these days they don’t appear to train the staff on how not to put the milk on top of the bread and not to put the fruit and veg in with the bleach.

    That said, I only use the self service when I’m picking up a few things. For a full trolley I get someone else to do it for me.

  11. I adore the self checkouts. The queues to use them are generally far shorter than the queues for the manned checkouts, and I get to indulge my childhood fantasy of being a checkout chick. What’s not to love? And I don’t have to interact with other humans….

  12. In NZ, they’ve had a system for probably ten years where you use a hand-held scanner as you go round , then when you get to the checkout they simply take the scanner off you, put the information into the till, and put your payment through. That never seems to have caught on here. People think that customers would be stealing the company blind by not scanning everything, but they watch people covertly and do spot checks, and obviously they’re not losing money or they’d stop the system.

  13. That and your older post about coles are basically the reason why I dont use coles anymore. I use the local shops and if pushed will use the local franklins. big boo to coles

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