back to article Computer glitch opens un-staffed supermarket to happy Kiwis

Canny Kiwis were given a Good Friday bonus when a computer system automatically opened a supermarket to all comers. The Mill St Pak 'n Save in Hamilton, New Zealand should have been shut for Good Friday, but the godless computer system overrode a manual command to shutter up, and flicked on the lights and threw open the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    We couldn't tell who had paid and who hadn't

    Really? Don't the self-pay systems print a receipt - seems like the police could do a quick check, right? I mean, police don't seem to be shy about asking for ID, why not ask them to prove they've paid for their cart full of stuff by showing a receipt?

    1. Oliver Mayes

      So you keep all of your receipts?

      And when the police spend time tracking down all 24 people from the grainy CCTV camera footage and demand that they all show their receipts? If only one paying person hasn't got their receipt then there's no way to prove which of the 13 receipt-less customers didn't pay. Any one of them could say that they threw theirs away or lost it, without all 12 receipts accounted for there's no way to know who is telling the truth.

      Nice try, but not really possible.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        could check the other part of the receipt

        You know the records left on the till.

        <- Epic computer professional

      2. Annwyn

        @ So you keep all of your receipts?

        Well presumably they have cameras pointed at the self scanners, so I imagine it would be pretty easy to ID those who had done the right thing…

      3. mr-tom

        @Keeping receipts

        Those who might have paid but were stopped by the police were presumably in the process of leaving the shop with their goods.

        Whilst I only have my own (rather inefficient) experience to draw on, I've generally not got around to shredding the receipts before I leave the shop.

    2. dave 46

      couldn't tell?

      The guy walking out with milk and bread probably paid, the guy with 20 bottles of whiskey perhaps needs some investigation.

  2. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    ' Miller was initially furious, but told the paper: "I can certainly see the funny side of it ... It makes me look a bit of a dickhead." '

    I like this guy, nice to see someone being honest and owning up to a cock-up rather immediately trying to pass the blame.

    1. The Infamous Grouse


      Glenn Miller, huh? I bet he wasn't in the mood for any of this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In colloquial English too!

      British businesses should take heed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        British Version

        Whilst not admitting that we are at fault in any way we are working with our partners on an ongoing and continuous improvement route to ensure that our customers are not convenienced again in this way.

        We feel that the time has come now to move on, incorporating lessons learnt into our working practices henceforth, but subject to revision on an ongoing basis.

        We thank you for your interest and giving us the opportunity to answer your questions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          "we are working ... to ensure that our customers are not convenienced again"

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Thank you

            for noticing that little detail!

        2. Manas Straw
          Thumb Up

          Nawab of Travancore - This is today's title

          Well played, Sir. Well played!

      2. ijustwantaneasylife
        Thumb Up

        Not unusual...

        That sort of language is used by everyone over here - including politicians, police, councillors and the rest of the population. NZ is a straight talking, nice normal place to live, with very little downsides. (bias - ex UK citizen).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not sure which would be more embarrassing

    Being a person who didn't pay or, being a person who did?

    1. Velv

      No embarrassment in paying

      I have to say it almost restores the faith in honesty. Half the people paid - good on them.

      Theft is theft - just because the store/manager screwed up, every single person who didn't pay KNEW they were stealing.

      <flame_suit on>

      By posting anonymously, are you hinting you wouldn't have paid?

      </flame_suit off>

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I would have paid and then felt really stupid for having done so. I also wonder how many of the people who did pay just didn't notice that there was no one working in the shop.

        1. Trevor 3


          This is why we can't have nice things.

  4. Oliver Mayes

    Opening times?

    All of the articles I read over the weekend about this said that the store usually opened up at 8am but mistakenly opened the doors at 1am on Friday. It wasn't until 9am that some people reported to the police that the store was open and unstaffed so that's 8 hours it was open, not 1.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst different news sources about the details. Not really that important I know but I can't risk someone being wrong on the internet.

  5. Greg J Preece

    CCTV will have been on

    I mean, why would you ever turn it off?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Ask London Underground

      Stockwell station.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Who turns off CCTV?

      How about the same sort of person who gets their shop to automatically open the doors and turn on the lights rather than get a human to do it?

  6. Dave Oakes Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    The intelligent thief

    would go through the checkout, pay for the bread and milk but inexplicably forget to pay for the crate of Chivas Regal secreted under the lettuce.

    1. Adrian A. Baumann

      Chivas Regal?

      Chivas Regal? Why don't you just steal cleaning alcohol - you certainly don't want to drink that stuff...

  7. Pinkerton

    Perhaps I'm old fashioned...

    Why do people think it's OK to steal in the aftermath of a mistake or accident?

    No matter whether someone leaves the doors open on a Kiwi supermarket, motorbikes get washed up on a Devon beach or a hurricane tears through New Orleans, stealing is stealing is stealing.

    When you consider that there are very few reports of looting (i.e. stealing) in Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami it makes the rest of the world look like a bunch of thieving chavvy bastards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Hear hear.

    2. Player_16


      Don't forget, they too had an earthquake just a couple of weeks before Japan's.

    3. '); DROP TABLE comments; --
      Thumb Up


      Well, to start with looting in the aftermath of a disaster is as old as civilisation, so no surprises there. And the reaction to looters hasn't changed much either - you shoot them, as they deserve.

      As to your last paragraph, I can only say that there's no lotting in Japan most likely because there isn't much left there to steal - what wasn't flattened in the earthquake got washed away in the tsunami. And yes, the rest of the world are a bunch of thieving chavvy bastards. Welcome to planet Earth and the fucking human race!

    4. Chris007

      Nearly right

      Anything that is washed up on a beach [in the uk] could be considered salvage (to an extent)

      See this report (on the devon beach story you mention)

  8. veti Silver badge

    Licensing laws

    Interesting tidbit: when people tried to pay for wine at the self-service checkout, they couldn't, because it had no way of demanding ID.

    (NZ supermarkets only sell wine and beer, anything stronger you generally have to get from a specialised liquor shop.)

    So it may be that even more people tried to pay, but the (legally required) system wouldn't let them.

  9. RocketBook

    That is because

    You never let the truth get in the way of a good story

  10. Mayhem

    Best bit has to be the first customer

    He quotes seeing a woman & child walk in, spend 20 min picking items, pay and leave.

    He reckons she probably never even realised there wasn't any staff there.

    I dealt with Glenn quite a bit a few years back, he doesn't suffer fools gladly, but he was always willing to give the benefit of the doubt the first time through. A good boss by all accounts.

  11. Blue eyed boy

    Good Friday eh

    You never know - some of the punters may come back with their thirty (or more) pieces of silver.

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