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Tesco appeases angry customers and kills off “unexpected item in bagging area”

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The food shop. This can sometimes be a pleasurable experience if timed right, especially after payday when you’re feeling flush and comb the aisles at leisure, indulging yourself with a couple of treats while chucking the usual selection of milk, bread and loo roll into the trolley.

If you go on a Saturday morning, however, you’re going to be in for a bad time and will feel the full force of rush hour shopping.

Of course, the rise of the self-service checkouts in supermarkets across the country made it possible for time-poor Brits to take matters into their own hands in a Supermarket Sweep-like fashion and make a speedy getaway.

The machines arrived in Tesco back in 2003 and 12 years later the firm now boasts more than 12,000 self-service checkouts in stores across the UK, claiming that they “play a crucial role for shoppers”.

That said, Tesco has conceded that the dreaded “unexpected item in the bagging area” voice, which many will have experienced despite having scanned said item, leaves customers feeling “frustrated”. That’s putting it mildly.

As such, a new audio voice, which is said to be “friendlier, more helpful and less talkative”, is now being rolled out into stores. The update is set to reach all stores by the end of October, although shops in Hatfield, Edinburgh, Peterborough and Kensington are among those to have already received the revamp.

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The change comes from customer feedback, which saw saw shoppers describe the existing voice as “shouty” and “irritating”, thus the new “customer-friendly” voice promises to bring “softer phrases” to keep tempers from flaring.

James Dewen, self service checkout operations manager at Tesco, said: “Customers really like the convenience of our self-service checkouts, especially when they’re just popping into store to pick up lunch or a few items after work. But for some, the voice leaves them a bit frustrated.

“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.”

The self-service voice isn’t the only thing Tesco is ditching. The firm has also announced it is going to stop selling sugary soft drinks including Ribena and Capri-Sun.However, while the unexpected item news may go down well, shoppers aren’t so keen on losing their beloved beverages.

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