UK grocery chain to remove ‘unexpected item in bagging area’ from self-checkout — will U.S. stores follow?

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Courtesy: Tesco

You’re at your local grocery store to pick up a few things and you choose self-checkout because there is no line.

And then you hear that dreaded phrase: “Unexpected item in bagging area. Please wait for assistance.”

Tesco, a grocery store and retailer based in the UK, announced Thursday the company is removing the annoying “unexpected item in bagging area” audio on its self-checkout lanes.

The audio has been a part of the self-checkout process since the machines were first introduced at the retailer in 2003.

The company is also replacing the audio on its self checkout machines with a “friendlier, more helpful and less talkative” voice after listening to complaints from customers. Some customers described the previous voice as “shouty” and “irritating,” putting them under pressure during checkout.

“It’s listened to by millions of customers every week, so we’ve acted on customer and colleague feedback and worked hard to get the new voice right to improve the shopping trip,”said James Dewen, the company’s self-service checkout operations manager.

The big question is: Will U.S. stores follow Tesco’s lead? We can only hope.

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1 Comment

  • RW Smith

    The self-check out voices at Family Fare are the worst. They announce the price of every item and they are too loud. I understand that it might help the seeing and hearing impaired but I wish there was an option to disable the audio.

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