New Sainsbury's tills infuriate customers

LONDON - JULY 3: View of a shopping trolley and aisle at a Sainsbury's supermarket on July 3, 2014 in London, UK. Sainsbury's is

Sainsbury's shoppers are up in arms over changes to its self-service tills that were supposed to make them quicker to use.

The supermarket has introduced new card-only checkouts in a number of its stores that, say customers, won't allow them to buy weighed items and don't provide an option for customers using their own bags.

"Please can your self-service machines have a 'weigh bags' option? I like being able to pack before I've paid, esp frozen stuff," complains one shopper on Twitter.

"At least put a sign up so customers don't get half way through basket & realise they have to use another till to weigh things," adds another.

Shoppers leaving 'millions' behind at self-service tills

One customer points out that the new tills don't ask for ID when buying restricted goods - potentially breaking the law.

And another, York City councillor Ashley Mason, has queried whether Sainsbury's consulted properly with partially sighted people before introducing the new tills.

However, Sainsbury's has defended the new self-service checkouts, claiming that shoppers have plenty of other options in its stores.

"We've introduced card-only tills in over 20 convenience stores and supermarkets to offer customers even more choice and help them shop more easily and quickly," it says in a statement to the press.

"These are, of course, in addition to manned tills and colleagues are also always available to assist customers with their shopping."

Are self-service tills really turning us into criminals?

There are now around 42,000 self service tills across the country, with the number rising all the time. But while supermarkets claim that they are all about customer convenience, the customers themselves aren't so sure.

A survey two years ago indicated that an overwhelming 93% of people dislike them, believing they are slower, less reliable and less pleasant than dealing with a human being.

And while supermarkets persist, with the aim of saving money, that may not be working either. Research from the University of Leicester has revealed that the amount of stolen groceries doubles when self-service tills are introduced.

The reason, says Dr Matt Hopkins, is that the technology gives shoppers 'ready-made excuses' for not scanning their shopping properly - behaviour that Sainsbury's new tills are only likely to encourage.

Save money on shopping: ten great tricks
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Save money on shopping: ten great tricks

The more work you are prepared to put in, the more you stand to save. If you put your shopping list into, you can identify where each individual items is cheapest, and can technically buy every single item at its lowest possible price.

If that sounds a bit too much like hard work, a reasonable compromise is to shop at two supermarkets: once at the weekend and once mid-week. You can buy each item at the cheapest of the two shops, and save money without devoting hours to shopping.

There are several deal-sharing sites, including and Most of them have a ‘freebies’ section, where you can get items completely free, and all have a section where they post fantastic deals that are well worth taking advantage of.

They will often point the way to coupons for brilliant discounts too.

The more time you have spare to spend looking for these, the more you can save.

It’s worth following your favourite brands on Facebook or Twitter. It’s also important to pick up in-house magazines, try your free local paper, and check any letters from supermarket loyalty schemes for your vouchers. If you have a Nectar card, visit the website before you shop, so you can upload the latest deals to your card.

While you’re in-store, keep your eyes peeled for promotions on packets, and on receipts. Often the deal-hunting websites will offer a short cut to many of these, but if you have the opportunity to do some legwork, you will find plenty of others.

Compare the price of your branded goods (after you use the coupon) with the cheapest supermarket alternative. If the discount makes it the cheapest option, then feel free to use it immediately.

However, if it doesn’t bring the price down below the own brand price, then don't throw it away. Hang onto the coupon, and check every few days to see if there’s an offer running on the brand at any time before the coupon expires. A deal plus a coupon is often the cheapest option.

Prices change all the time, but it pays to have a shopping list annotated with the usual price - or an old receipt - on hand when you are shopping. When something is on sale, compare it to the usual selling price from your list, to decide if it’s really as good value as it purports to be.
The frugal experts have decent storage areas at home, so if there’s a very special deal on washing powder or toilet paper, tins or toiletries, they can stock up for a few months at a knock-down price. It’s not generally worth doing on fresh produce, or packets with a short shelf life though, because throwing something away that’s out of date will undo all of your good work.
There can be some incredible bargains in the ‘yellow sticker’ sections of the supermarket. Most stores will have a spot for fruit and vegetable reductions, somewhere for chilled food price cuts, one for bakery products, and a final one for those with a longer shelf life that may be a bit battered, or separated from the outer packaging. Check them all for a possible discount.

The ’yellow sticker’ items will usually be reduced at least twice a day: once in the afternoon and once later in the evening. If you can wait to shop at around 7.30pm or 8pm you can get astonishing discounts.

If you want to time your shop exactly, then your best bet is to ask in store when they do their final reductions - don't be shy!

Get to know the rules around freezing ‘yellow sticker’ items, so you can buy when they are cheapest and use over the following weeks and months.

Don't assume something is perishable without checking. Everything from cheese to beansprouts is fine to freeze as long as you treat them correctly (beansprouts need blanching, chilling in ice water, and freezing immediately).

It’s never worth buying something just because it’s cheap: you also have to be able to factor it into your life. If you can't immediately think how you would use that over-ripe avocado, a pack of cut-price tongue or kippers, then don't buy them.

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