Last Tuesday, to my utter surprise and total incomprehension, I learnt that my ‘local’ Lidl had acquired self-service machines.
It struck me as peculiar; swish sleek automated till machines surrounded by produce displayed in their transit boxes. I could not fathom why there were self-service machines in Lidl.
When did this bright idea get written into the business strategy. Some nincompoop had undervalued the Lidl experience.
I don’t go to Lidl to serve myself. I go to Lidl to get a cheap basket of food and to join a long but efficient queue and to eventually be served by an old school cashier who knows how to scan fast and pack tight.
I do not welcome the shifting sands.
There were 8 cashier tills before, of course never once were they all simultaneously in operation, not even when the queue snaked all the way down the frozen isle, passed dairy and along the refrigerated back wall to eventually reveal it’s joining point by the fresh baked goods. And now there are only 4 which looked out onto an island of 8 self-service machines. And when I came to purchase my goods on Tuesday not one of those cashier tills was staffed. I had no choice but to engage with the machines and stoically face the loss of an iconic shopping experience.
Lidl had joined the ranks of ‘the others’. Not only was I paying for my food but I was being charged a levy to do so. But aside from the economics of self-service machines which is always stacked in the ‘houses’ favour, there is a greater cost. One less human interaction. And one more layer of technology.