It was like a trip back in time to… last year. All the self-serve checkouts in Woolies were down tonight.
A long queue at the express checkouts… surprisingly not at the other checkouts (all credit to management, they did have five non-express checkouts open at one time — rarely seen nowadays).
Perhaps the earthquake is to blame. Perhaps not.
Happy Australia Day.
2. I was a Flag Monitor in grade 6. Along with my mate Mark, we put the flag up on the school flag pole. Apart from a minor hitch on the first day when it went up upside down for a short time, there were no issues, though I’d imagine doing the same job for the Elizabeth Street roundabout would be somewhat more time consuming:
(I’m probably safe in assuming they go up and stay up.)
3. I was pondering, as debate about immigration and asylum seekers rages, if our Federal politicians are familiar with the second verse of our national anthem. (It was originally the third verse. There were originally more in the song, but the national anthem only incorporates the original first and third. We used to sing both in high school, at assemblies and so on.)
Obviously one should be wary about determining policy from lyrics written circa 1901 (much of the song was written before 1878, but this verse was added for Federation), but still, I’d love to hear Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott’s interpretation of them.
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.
Since Woolworths introduced gold coin deposits for trolleys at Bentleigh, you almost never see their trolleys abandoned in the streets. The same can’t be said for Coles Bentleigh, who appear to have some trolleys requiring a coin, and some not — I don’t understand the logic of this. On a walk last night, we passed three (non-deposit) Coles trolleys in quick succession on a single block of Jasper Road.
It seems pretty clear that (like the drink container deposits used in some states), coin deposits reduce the problem. I wonder why Coles don’t go ahead and implement it fully, especially in suburbs like Bentleigh where their major competitor already uses it.
Reason 2: Hot cross buns in the supermarket… just in time, only
four three and a half months before Easter.
Safeway Woolworths replaced all their trolleys as part of the makeover.
And they all require a deposit — a $1 or $2 coin.
‘Cos while I don’t usually use a trolley, when I do, I’m sick of them having wonky wheels because people have pushed them for miles and dumped them in the street, where they get damaged. I’m sick of finding them in the park, and in my street, and even at the railway station, clogging up the entrance ramp. And I bet they’re expensive to collect and repair, contributing to higher prices.
Hopefully the deposit will reduce the instances of them going missing.
By the way there’s a notice at the entrance which says the supermarket will have its grand re-opening on the 29th. A bit odd if you ask me, given they’ve kept trading while the renovation’s happened.
Maybe they’ll get the local member of parliament to attend. Whoever that is by then.
Personally I wouldn’t object if deposits were required universally, given the number of (almost always non-deposit) trolleys that get wheeled away, and end up in stupid places.
Hopefully it’d mean less trolleys get a wheel broken and are thus rendered unsteerable in what should be their natural habitat, supermarket aisles.
At the local Safeway, the renovation (and eventual transition to “Woolworths”) is underway, and the self-service checkouts are now operating.
There’s five of them, compared to three express checkouts, and eight “normal” checkouts. From memory there used to be more normal checkouts, though as at most supermarkets, I don’t ever recall all of them being in use at once.
I suppose there’s something of a moral quandary about whether self-serve checkouts will cut the number of staff the supermarkets have to employ. I’m afraid my general philosophy is that if there are long queues, I’ll use whichever option is likely to get me out of there the quickest.
If there are no queues, the staffed checkout is likely to be quicker, as Safeway’s dedicated and tireless personnel are much more likely to know where all the barcodes are, and precisely which buttons to press to choose the butternut pumpkin (or whatever) off the fruit+veg menu.
But if the queues for staff are long, and particularly if I don’t have many items to buy, I reckon the self-serve is likely to be quicker. This goes doubly at places like Big W, because I’m usually not buying lots and lots of small items, and of course there is no fruit+veg — everything’s got a barcode.
So yesterday at Safeway I found myself with a basket full of about fifteen items (eg too many for the express lanes), two normal lanes open, both with 2-3 people queuing with very full trolleys. And no queue at the self-service checkouts (though one of them was out of order).
I chose the self-service, which no doubt was what Woolworths Corp had in mind all along.
Any guilt about putting Rowena (family friend who I occasionally encounter on the checkouts) or her cohorts out of a job was extinguished, this time, by the sheer amount of intervention required from the staff member on duty as I scanned my items.
Putting my green bag into the bagging area, and patting the bottom of it down with my hand to smooth it out set off the Incorrect Weight error, requiring assistance.
Trying to fiddle around to pack items neatly into the green bag also set off the error.
Accidentally double-clicking the Fruit+Veg button got the register to incorrectly charge my butternut pumpkin as mandarins, and reversing it required the staff member yet again.
All in all it probably took twice as long as a transaction handled fully by a human staff member, and certainly required a lot of intervention. I’m not sure if it got me out of the store more quickly than it would have if I’d queued, but I don’t think there was a lot in it.
I think in future unless (a) there’s a long queue for the human operators, (b) I’m buying only a handful of items, and (c) that includes nothing that has no barcode, I’ll avoid the self-service checkouts.
Speaking of shopping for cheap alternatives, but preferring locally-made goods: initially I avoided buying the Aldi cling wrap because it was made in China.
Then I noticed all the brands of cling wrap are now made in China, including OSO and Multix, and the one that’s in common use as the generic term, Glad Wrap.
At some stage in the few years, production of my favourite shampoo also moved offshore, from Australia to Thailand.
So I’d like to buy a local product to support Australian jobs and reduced shipping distances for goods, but sometimes you can’t really do it.