It's not just Big Brother that is watching....

Last night Marissa and I went shopping at out local Sainsburys. We have been doing the self scanning since it began in our local store.

The idea is simple enough, when you enter the store you can use your loyalty card to release a scanner from the charging station. This handheld scanner will allow you to scan your own products and put them in your shopping trolley and simplify your checkout procedure. You have in effect done the checkout persons job for them and saved them a whole bunch of RSI into the bargain.

To stop the supermarket getting ripped off, and to stop you thinking that you can stuff 16 bottles of whiskey into your trolley and only scan 10-12 of them, the do this thing called "re-scan". I expect there is a bunch of predetermined thresholds that will trigger a "re-scan" but there will also be the odd random one thrown in to catch the unsuspecting shopper out.

The effect of a "re-scan" is that you have to unload all of your items from the trolley and then watch the checkout person scan them all through again. If there are any mismatches you will be flagged as a "BAD SHOPPER" and you will get increasingly more "re-scans" as they find more discrepancies with your scanner and your trolley contents. 

For us it seemed that recently we seem to get a lot of "re-scans", so we asked the checkout person what to do about it.

We are then off to Customer Services to debate the issue of our increased visibility to the system.

Having seen the screen that the customer service lady was looking at, it would seem that J.Sainsbury track everything you scan and whether or not you had a "re-scan". They then tie up the two things together and see if you are a "BAD SHOPPER" or an honest shopper.

Last night, whilst trawling through why we had been asked again to "re-scan", we found that the system had flagged us again after the shop we had just done. Why? Well the monkey they had employed to sit in the chair had double scanned a magazine I had in the trolley. Not withstanding the fact that she has voided the second one it still shows in the list as being "IN" the trolley but "NOT IN" the scanner. So -£3.80 for the magazine then. Add to that either we had missed the cream we had bought or, as we found out latter, the scanner had misread it or was faulty and we were probably passed the threshold to be "re-scanned" the next time we bother the shop with the scanner again.

So if you shop at JS and use the scanner, you have been warned. If you don't want to appear a "BAD SHOPPER" then make sure you abide by the following rules.

  1. Scan everything, even the multibuys. e.g. buy one, get one free. scan them both. They are taken off the bill at the till, not on the scanner.
  2. Make sure you scan everything and the scanner shows it.
  3. If you do get a "re-scan" then ask the till monkey person to be VERY careful about how they scan the stuff through. Remember if they scan something twice by mistake, you get penalised, not them.
  4. Save yourself the bother of all of this and don't bother with the scanner.

As one final word of caution, if you decide to not bother with scanning, you should read Mr Ports thoughts about the checkout staff at his local supermarket.