A REGULAR customer is furious to find a supermarket has replaced most of its checkout tills with automated ones.

Pensioner Mark Findlay, from Cornwall Gardens, Brighton, could not believe it when he saw most of the standard checkouts in Sainsbury’s in New England Road, his favourite, had been replaced

with modern self-managed machines.

He said: “They only have about three of the normal ones left, I can’t believe it.

“The self-checkout machines are just taking over and it’s not right.

“I actually find them a real nuisance to use. I often have a lot of shopping when I make a trip there so I use the belt regularly.”

The 63-year-old says he feels hostile towards the new automated machines because he enjoys the social contact with staff when grocery shopping.

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He said: “The people that worked on the tills were always so great to talk to.

“They were well known by a lot of customers who went there regularly.

“Customers would pick their favourite ones to check their shopping out and now we don’t really have that.

“That particular Sainsbury’s was famous for its friendly staff.

“Apparently some have been ‘reassigned’ other duties which I just think is a real shame.”

Mr Findlay, a retired photographer, said the influx of self-checkout machines will limit employment options, particularly for elderly people.

He said: “I even thought of applying to work on the tills myself because I think it’s suited to older people.

“The new ones are detrimental.

“And I am worried they are going to start taking over the Sainsbury’s in Lewes Road next.”

Despite being tech savvy himself, Mr Findlay finds the machines a nuisance to use.

He said: “They ask you to look up items and if your item doesn’t start with A it can be a bit of a pain.

“Or if some people aren’t sure of how to spell the item they have it can be such a nuisance.

“The main thing for me though is the fact that the social side is just lost.”

Another customer, Joe Tanner, 56, from Brighton, said he regularly uses Sainsbury’s but deliberately avoids the self-checkout machines.

He said: “I avoid them on purpose because I think they just breakdown human interaction.

“I also find it a real pain when I am trying to buy a bottle of alcohol and you have to stand around waiting for someone to come and authorise you.

“Sometimes there’s just one member of staff because the others don’t exactly need to be there and it can take them a while to see to all the machines needing approval.”

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “We have added more self-checkouts at our New England Street store to make it even quicker and easier for customers to shop with us.

“We can also confirm that manned checkouts are available for customers who would wish to use them.

“There has been no impact to jobs at the store as a result.

“Colleagues continue to help customers on the manned checkouts, as well as other areas of the store.”

Sainsbury's have confirmed they still have six standard check out tills in the store.