Woolworths\' sneaky checkout trick

Woolworths' self-serve checkouts now have a subtle feature being used to stop theft and help customers scan groceries faster.

No longer can cheeky shoppers scan avocados as carrots to avoid paying the full price of more expensive vegies, as new technology at self-serve checkouts can now detect the type of loose product a customer is purchasing.

The new ' Picklist Assist' feature allows the scanner to analyse the subtle characteristics of the product being weighed has already rolled out to 220 of Woolworths' 1050 stores.

Once a fruit or vegie is placed on the scanner, it scans the items and screens will only offer a shortlist of three fruit and vegetable options.

woolworths pick assist screen

"The system uses image recognition technology to filter the list of possible products based on their colour, shape or size," said a Woolworths spokesperson.

"So if a customer places a loose tomato on the scanner, the system will show a range of tomato varieties rather than the full list of fruit and veg items.

"This makes self-serve that little bit faster and improves the accuracy of product selection for customers."

It is hoped the new tech will not only stop thieves but also help make shoppers' checkout faster.

"We're always looking for ways to make shopping easier for our customers," said the Woolworths spokesperson.

"As we progressively upgrade our assisted checkouts, we have access to new technology, which helps customers find loose fruit and veg items in the system faster.


Sounds like a great idea. Even if it only acts to deter people from thinking about, what can only be called, stealing. I think they should warn people about it, though. And I wish the farmers were getting their fair cut of the profits.

The BEST way to reduce, & even eliminate self serve checkout theft is also the CHEAPEST. Do away with self serve checkouts altogether, as they are merely an attraction for thieves. I refuse to use them & be considered a suspect thief.

I agree with you Brone Anzac.....these self serve checkouts not only encourage theft, they eliminate jobs by eventually getting rid of check out workers..... its not as if the major supermarkets are struggling!

Couldn't agree more - don't use them myself and never will. Just an excuse to generate more profits at the expense of workers.


Why is this described as 'sneaky'? If someone is stealing they deserve to get caught. We all pay the price of theft!

I always use the self-service checkout and have never once been tempted to steal product and I am not treated like a thief either. I use them because the people on the checkouts don't exhibit the sense they were born with even when you line up your shopping in the order you want to pack it.

If you object to these machines on the grounds of 'being treated like a thief', I assume you never cross the threshold of any shop that wants to look inside your bags on the way in and again on the way out!

I prefer to use self service checkouts as well. They seem to have stopped training staff on how to pack bags, its not unusual for them to throw a bottle of detergent on top of a loaf of bread!
I don't think they have caused a reduction in staff either, even before self service arrived it would be lucky to see more than two checkouts open and they always had lines of customers waiting with loaded trolleys backed up into the aisles.
I also agree that this article shouldn't accuse the stores of being sneaky, reducing theft keeps prices down. Good on them!! And I love anything that will make my time at the checkout faster!

I feel we are really dumbing down our society. There used to be pride in having a job and doing it well. Now we don’t care and don’t appreciate people roles and what goes with that role. Good old customer service is going, as Is social interactions and the skills required to do a job, providing self esteem and knowing you are skilled up. McDonalds is a prime example. Remember they used to train their staff really well and future employers would know they were skilled and trained. Shame on all of us!

I don't and won't use those damn things. When they first came out the damn thing attempted to rip us off. I don't remember the item off hand but for example the object was $5.00 and all I had was a $20.00, it gave me change of $10.00. Where was the other the other $5.00? Its called 'profit and loss', their profit my loss. Like hell, I created loud and clear and got a whole lot attention, both from staff and shoppers. Now I have to wait to get my $5.00 back - and it was not done that day as they had to make sure I was telling the truth. Now when I go into a store and those things are floating around and the staff say go there - I say in a loud voice for all within earshot, NO way am I going to be ripped off again.

I hardly ever use the self-checkouts but have done a few times --but would never cheat on buying anything --and if those that do -- then they deserve to be punished.

Woolworths and Coles rob the farmers blind and it is them that need to pay decently for the products, even if WE have to pay a bit more -- I always buy Aussie milk and Aussie goods not the cheap foreign-owned stuff and I am not a rich person, I just try and do the right thing

I refuse to use the things, people need jobs. I tied to use one at a dept. store and it took so long I thought it was buggered. I had just completed my transaction with a staff member when the supervisor I just need to wait for the machine. Load od crap. Besides, the checkout operators have to laugh at my jokes!


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