I’d like to relate a conversation that I had with a member of staff one recent evening in a major high street supermarket:
Assistant: Self-serve is free!
Me: Will I get a staff discount?
Assistant: Ha-ha! No, I’m afraid not.
Me: I’ll wait then, thanks. See, I’ve just come from my work and, to be honest, I‘d rather wait and protect the employment of others by not taking their jobs away from them.
Yes, I’m afraid that I really do talk like that. Anyway, here’s the thing: supermarkets make immense profits and yet, somehow, there are unstaffed tills during peak shopping hours. I don’t see why I should effectively subsidise these retail behemoths by working for them unpaid; clearly they ought to be hiring more staff – not least while we are suffering such high levels of youth unemployment in this country.
I’d like to hope that more people will choose to join me in spurning the self-serve checkouts because, make no mistake, they ain’t there for our convenience: they exist merely in order to enable yet higher profit margins for corporate leviathans – and remember that some of these are the same retail outlets that quite recently sought to get their shelves stacked for free by the unemployed under the guise of ‘work experience’. Even the worthiest of charities would struggle to assemble the number of volunteers that these grocers are somehow recruiting by subterfuge.