back to article Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays

Ever been invited to a party only to discover they gave you the wrong address? This doesn’t happen to me often but then I’m not the sort of person whom people invite to parties. Anyway, this wasn’t a party, it was a user group meetup. There I am, having made an attempt to smarten up a bit, travelled across town and …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Errrr?

    Knocking off early for the weeked then Alastair? Friday's tomorrow....

    Have had all sorts of translations of my Surname. Bayliss is quite common but I've had Bevis from time to time. {no butthead jokes please}.

    Then there is this

    Unlike inefficient staff, they say, a computer never needs training

    WTF do they think that programming is? It tells the computer what to do. Training does the same.

    1. Lionel Baden
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Errrr?

      I agree !!!

      This is really screwing with my week, i just made plans to goto the beach tomorrow, The office isn't happy as i cant cancel the plans !!!

      please dont throw us off our schedule.

      1. stucs201

        Re: only one way to fix this confusion about the day.

        We request, nay demand, a BOFH episode tomorrow to get things back in synch.

      2. Lionel Baden
        FAIL

        Re: Errrr?

        Dammit, turns out my plans can be cancelled !!!

    2. Scotthva5

      Re: Errrr?

      Try a surname of Hendrickson. I get no end of variations (Henderson, Anderson etc.) but never quite on target.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Ha!!! Henderson, Anderson ,Sanderson, whetever the hell your name is

        You don't know you are born,

        yours

        Jon Bruford

        1. Shady

          Re: Ha!!! Henderson, Anderson ,Sanderson, whetever the hell your name is

          My surname is Cope. COPE. It must be one of the easiest-to-spell surnames in the english language. It is not:

          Cup, Cop, Copp, Coup, Coop, Coope, Coupe, Coppe, Copper, Couper, Cooper, Copi, Copa, Coper (close I suppose!) or Copy or any of those derivations beginning with the letter K when speaking to an east european call center.

      2. badgames
        Facepalm

        Re: Errrr?

        I could almost understand people having problems with complicated or unusual names, but I do not understand the problems they have with mine. Very simple, composed of two very simple common words in English (any variety). The conversation goes like this:

        Feckless: "Last name?"

        Me: "Goodgame. Good game. Like football is a good game."

        Feckless: "Thank you Mr. Goodyear/Goodman/Goodtame/Goodlame/Goodsomethingorother...

        Of course there are the obvious variants that I now use as online handles, but used to distress me more in my youth.

        FYI: Football where I come from is played by very large men with pads & helmets.

        1. David 18

          Re: Errrr?

          "FYI: Football where I come from is played by very large men with pads & helmets."

          As opposed to here, where it is played by overpaid twats.

        2. magickmark
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Errrr?

          FYI: Football where I come from is played by very large men with pads & helmets.

          Well here in the UK that applies as well, Footballers in their posh pads showing young ladies how they use their helmets!!

          Ohh err missus!

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Errrr?

      It's my fault for surprising the Reg subs by unexpectedly getting my column written on time.

      1. John Gamble

        Re: Errrr?

        "It's my fault for surprising the Reg subs..."

        They do seem to startle easily.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Errrr?

          Reg subs startle easily? Surely you jest. Hard as effing nails, they are.

          1. monkeyfish

            Re: Errrr?

            But they'll be back, and in greater numbers.

        2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Errrr?

          It's my fault for surprising the Reg subs...

          I dunno - first airplanes in the form of PARIS and LOHAN and now subs!

          We'll have to set up Vulture Pacific soon, in its own volcano lair hideaway...

      2. Sarah Balfour

        Re: Errrr?

        Hey Alison! ;oP

        It's the Grammar Gestapo here; "…WHO people invite to parties", if you're using the pronoun as the subject of the sentence, it's 'who', 'whom' is objective, very often used to avoid the generally-accepted-as-being-poor-grammatical-form of ending a sentence with a preposition.

        In this instance, the pronoun is referring to you, you are the subject, therefore the correct form is 'who'.

        This is one of myriad reasons why I'm Belinda No-Mates…

        As for surnames I have, at various points in my life, been referred to as 'Balfar', 'Balfa', 'Belfast', 'Belfart' and, I kid you not, 'Belchfart'.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Errrr?

          It's the Grammar Gestapo here; "…WHO people invite to parties", if you're using the pronoun as the subject of the sentence, it's 'who', 'whom' is objective, very often used to avoid the generally-accepted-as-being-poor-grammatical-form of ending a sentence with a preposition.

          In this instance, the pronoun is referring to you, you are the subject, therefore the correct form is 'who'.

          I'm afraid I find that parse dubious.

          The sentence in question was "This doesn’t happen to me often but then I’m not the sort of person whom people invite to parties." Two independent clauses, so we can disregard the first (and the coordination conjunctival phrase "but then") and reduce the problem to "I’m not the sort of person whom people invite to parties" with no loss of generality.

          In that independent clause, we have a passive-voice construction which consists of a simple subject (the "I" of "I'm"), the copula (the "'m" of "I'm"), and a predicate nominative. The last is a noun phrase modified by a dependent clause in the passive voice. Inverting that clause to active voice gives a construction of the form "people invite X to parties", where X is clearly the object of the transitive verb "invite" (the subject of which is "people", and "to parties" is of course an adverbial prepositional phrase).

          That should clarify the role of the remaining phrase "the sort of person": it is the object of "invite". And "whom" is the relative pronoun introducing that adjectival dependent clause. Its antecedent is "the sort of person", which per above is the object of "invite", and thus that relative pronoun should be1 in the objective case.

          As it is.2

          (I'd provide a diagram of the sentence showing the parse, but it'd be a pain to do in ASCII and the Reg doesn't do preformatted-text well. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader.)

          1"should be" in a weak sense of "is preferred by those who care about such things", under a so-called "scientific" view of usage that wants speakers to maintain parallel grammatical constructions with consistent case, number, and so on, and relies on the traditional-preferred interpretation of particular words having particular grammatical case, etc. Prescriptivism is a religion I do not endorse.

          2And they said three degrees in English was a waste of time.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Errrr?

      Have had all sorts of translations of my Surname. Bayliss is quite common but I've had Bevis from time to time. {no butthead jokes please}.

      In my case it's Warren, Warham and - my favourite - Warhead. I can only assume the latter is because some of the people I have to give my name to are really cyborgs with a built in MicroSoft spell checker.

      As for the Barclays plan to sack all the staff, I experienced an early trial of this at a branch in Chelsea. Had gone to do cash on collection for an item I'd bought on eBay, and was looking to get some cash out. No cash points, but found a small Barclays branch that looked liked Alistair's hipster shop. All chrome framed furniture, unadorned white walls, two enormous ATM thingummys and a plethora of iPad wielding staff. The super ATM machines were so badly designed that every poor sod using them needed to be walked through the (excruciatingly slow) transaction.

      Cut to a month later, and my local branch of Barclays in Enfield close the counter service. No sign of the machines though, as the preliminary trials in places like the Chelsea branch proves they need more staff on hand than they had manning the counters ...

  2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    English?

    I will need to say communicate with her and customer-facing staff in London do not speak English.

    Are you sure it's her English you need to be worried about?

    Or couldn't you decide whether to say or communicate?

    1. NogginTheNog

      Re: English?

      I think perhaps the "say" could have benefited from a comma or two..?

  3. ZSn

    Nexus

    I think that the NEXUS analogy is more apt, like the replicants, they also have a four year life expectancy

  4. Sir Barry

    This is all well and good, but did you make it to your user group meetup?

    1. Scotthva5

      Yes, please Mr Dabbs. The suspense is killing me.

      1. Semtex451

        Yes, please Mr. Dabbs. These suspenders are killing me. (The weekend came early)

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      >> did you make it to your user group meetup

      Yes, thank you. Fortunately, nobody in the user group knows I write this column.

      1. brooxta

        Re: >> did you make it to your user group meetup

        Which user group did you say it was? ;-)

      2. magickmark
        FAIL

        Re: >> did you make it to your user group meetup

        "Hello my name is Alistair" sobs "And I write a column for El Reg" hangs his head in shame

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: >> did you make it to your user group meetup

          Ah, so that'll be the El Reg staff meeting then.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the time I went to my local NatWest bank to pay in a cheque. There I am, standing in the queue, when a wandering member of staff says, "Just paying that in?". "Yes". "If you'd like to come over here, you can use this machine", she offered. Well, it wasn't so much an offer as a plea to get someone to use one of the bastard things. "It won't work," I said, "it never does". "Well, let's try it, it should work".

    So, over I wander. I fill in the slip, try to work out which way to order and orient the various components, before carefully feeding them into the indifferent machine. Much whirring ensued. Then... silence... then... out pop my ingredients and up pops a generic error message. Two more attempts, overseen by the awkward staff, failed.

    So I ended up rejoining the queue, in my original position. Cheque handed over, paying-in book stamped. Total time (after waiting), ooh, 10 seconds.

    So the job of one cashier was replaced by the job of one cashier, one machine and another wanderer, helping customers use said machine. That's efficiency for you.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Odd in my Natwest the information desk will actually pay in Cheques (Although that was a few years ago), if they aren't busy.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Anyone know why paying in slips require you to fill in the amount at least twice and write the name of the cheque signatory in a strip about 2 cm wide? They seem curiously at odds with modern banking. It's like they had 200 years supply of the things printed in 1950 and they have to use them all up.

        1. VinceH

          "Anyone know why paying in slips require you to fill in the amount at least twice and write the name of the cheque signatory in a strip about 2 cm wide? "

          IME, you only have to write the amount once for each cheque, and the total is written in the box on the front. If you're only paying in a single cheque, it might seem like duplicated effort, because then you really are writing the amount twice. (That's on the paying in slip itself, of course; if you're using a 'stub' format paying in book, rather than one in which carbon copies are kept) you have to write everything twice.

          What I find annoying is that some banks' paying in books seem to unintentionally be designed for left-handed people. These are where the cheque details are written on the rear of the paying in slip, but it remains oriented the same as the front, so you're writing on the left hand side when writing on the rear. If you're paying in a lot of cheques (as you might if you are a business and your customers refuse to greet modern technology), you end up filling in both columns of cheque details - and the column closest to the spine, especially the amount, can be awkward to fill in with your right hand at certain depths in the paying in book.

          FFS, print the reverse of the slips so that there is one (portrait) column, rather than two (landscape) columns.

          "It's like they had 200 years supply of the things printed in 1950 and they have to use them all up."

          That's my bank with cheque books on my business account.

          My use of cheques is rare, and most years I write only a single cheque. Several years ago, I reached the point in a cheque book where a replacement is automatically sent. They sent two - each containing 100 cheques. And earlier this year they sent two more, for no apparent reason. I now have enough cheques to keep me going until something like 2410. Perhaps the late 2300s if I ever get extravagant and sometimes write two cheques in one year.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            IME, you only have to write the amount once for each cheque, and the total is written in the box on the front.

            It's been a while since I had to do it, but I seem to recall, when paying in a single cheque:

            - payer name + amount on the back of the slip

            - total amount (i.e. the same again) at the bottom of the amount column on the back

            - same amount next to the "total of cheques" label at the front

            - same amount again for the total of cheques and cash

            Perhaps I could skip one of these totals, but I'm afraid I won't get the money unless I complete the entire ritual.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Anyone know why paying in slips require you to fill in the amount at least twice and write the name of the cheque signatory in a strip about 2 cm wide? They seem curiously at odds with modern banking.

          Quaint. Here in the barbarian wilderness of the US, I just feed the stack of checks1 into the ATM, which scans the amounts and totals them. It lets me confirm it has the amounts right (showing an image of the check next to the scanned amount), then it processes the deposit. Haven't had it go wrong yet. No deposit slip is involved; I still have a bunch of the things, but haven't used one in ages.

          Since my bank2 has ATMs cleverly located at shops that specialize in coffee and pastries, this works out well for all concerned.

          1Like cheques, but with less queuing.

          2Actually a credit union, which is like a bank, but with less stupidity.

          1. YetAnotherLocksmith

            Ah, you mean like Alliance & Leicester had, before Santander took them over and replaced the nice state of the art machines that worked with the crap old machines that require an envelope that it fails to dispense?

            I used to go to those branches specifically for those scanning machines as it made life far easier. Especially since they Will Not take a business account cheque over the counter, even if the machine is knackered! Fuckwits wrote those procedures.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        a question...

        what is this cheque of which you speak?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: a question...

          a middle european I believe

  6. frank ly

    Your name on the coffee 'cup'

    You don't have to give your real name. I went through a phase of saying 'Carlos' when asked.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

      Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

      For coffee-buying purposes my name is "Evadne".

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

        I use the name on the badge of the poor bastard barista behind the counter. They usually have unique names for the region which heps avoid confusion at the other end of the bar.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

          If ever there was a photo I wish I had snapped on impulse, it was in a Costa when a Spanish barista came on-shift and signed in to the till, which then flashed up the message: "You are being served by Jesus."

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

            And if that cup had been adorned with a little crown of thorns.... or you were little stirring sticks in the form of nails to given a couple of nails....

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Coat

            Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

            "You are being served by Jesus."

            Great…now I've got Jesus Jones stuck in my head. I best get moving, my workplace will want me right here right now.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

        For coffee-buying purposes my name is "Tax Payer"

    2. TitterYeNot
      Coat

      Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

      Dear Sir,

      Now you know why I detest Starbucks.

      Yours, etc.

      Regina Windebotham

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

        Now you know why I detest Starbucks.

        I'm not fond of Starbucks, with their overcooked coffee, wildly inflated prices,1 and general pretentiousness. But I have found that my standard order of "a medium2 coffee" is often filled immediately by the cashier - no fancified coffee-slinger involved - and so I am not required to give my name.

        Black coffee and anonymity. It's the best way.

        1Though in their defense they suffer from the usual problem of coffeehouses: they sell a little product to a bunch of customers who then loaf about the premises all day, using electricity and water.

        2I refuse to call it a "grandildo" or whatever nonsense term they use for that size.

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

      I prefer to use the name of an alternative coffeeshop chain, say ordering a coffee in Costa as Mr Starbuck.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

        I just use God. Although I've found that while the rejects in Starbucks aren't offended....the staff in Chik-fil-a REALLY DON'T LIKE IT, AT ALL...which is the whole point.

        I like reserving a table for "God, party of one" just to have them annouce it over the PA system. Calling God, party of one...

        My other choices are 'Who Cares", "Make One Up" or "John Holmes*"

        * - I use that name for test accounts when working on clients' computers because, why not.

    4. Soap Distant

      Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

      I once lied and said my name was Bernard, then promptly forgot I'd lied and began to wonder where my coffee was... then I remembered.

      SD

    5. Arachnoid

      Re: Your name on the coffee 'cup'

      Try Spartacus..............Yes thats me Im Spartacus!

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Flame

    automated checkout machines

    Pah. An abomination unto Nuggan; the designers should have been strangled at birth.

    "Wouldn't you like to use the automated system, sir?"

    "No thank you, I'd rather talk to a human, and incidentally, provide some suggestion that he/she ought to be kept in a job."

    On the other hand, it's kinda fun when you're forced onto one to see how far you can deviate from its programming and still get out of the shop without the security bod chasing you. Got the Tesco one down to exactly zero button presses, if I have sufficient coins.

    1. Raoul Miller

      Re: automated checkout machines

      I was just back in the UK for a short trip and twice had the "pleasure" of dealing with automated checkouts at WH Smith - first in the station in Manchester and then at Heathrow. In both cases the single assistant was in the back stocking shelves.

      I truly felt like stealing the newspaper and stuff just to prove a point. Has the UK really become so honest and trustworthy in the past couple of years? Or are Smith's banking on the fact that anyone walking out with a newspaper will be tracked by CCTV all the way home and can be arrested forthwith?

      I can see self checkout as an option, but to have no cashiers at all seems like madness.

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: automated checkout machines

        @Raoul Miller:

        They've recently partnered with Wesson, if you steal something the automated checkout machine shoots you in the back.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: automated checkout machines

      The Tesco ones have a curious flaw that means you can get any "reduced" item for any arbitrary price you care to key in. That got me some pretty cheap meals when I was at uni, but 8 years later it still seems to work!

      I won't go into the full details here, but if you look at the structure of the barcode on a few of the yellow "reduced" stickers it's pretty easy to figure it out...

      Anon, because while I consider the conversation between me and the checkout-bot to be an Invitation to Treat under UK law, the rozzers might not agree...

  8. Snivelling Wretch
    Joke

    Computers don't need to go to the toilet?

    Then why does mine frequently stop abruptly and produce a dump?

    1. Swarthy

      Re: Computers don't need to go to the toilet?

      Much like a toddler, a computer doesn't go to the toilet - it just shits itself where it is.

  9. Phil W

    Self service checkouts

    Call me crazy if you must but personally I am rather fond of them, they eliminate so many annoying encounters with obnoxious, nosey, stupid or otherwise difficult to deal with retail staff.

    You don't get the checkout operator looking over your purchases, giving you funny looks or making "witty" comments because you happen to purchasing certain items together.

    You don't have to wait for the checkout operator to scan each individual item instead of scanning the same one repeatedly or pressing the multiply button, when you have 10 of the same thing and they won't just take your word for it.

    You don't have to wait for the checkout operator to get on with doing their job instead of chatting to their colleague on the next till.

    You don't have to wait for an older staff member to come over and allow the person actually serving you to sell you alcohol because the spotty oik on the checkout isn't 18 themselves yet.

    You don't have to wait for the checkout operator to press the button to fire up the card machine for your contactless transaction, after explaining to them that no infact you don't want to put your card in the machine before they press the button, defeating the whole point of the speed and ease of NFC payments.

    Maybe it's just me? Maybe it's because in former employment lives I've worked both in retail as a checkout operator and in IT installing EPOS systems? Maybe it's just because I don't like people?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self service checkouts

      I agree, I can usually belt through one of these in about 1/10 the time I can a normal checkout.

      Here are two top tips.

      One, if it's light, life a birthday card, slam it onto the weighing machine.

      Two: If you get "unexpected item..blah, blah", just hit using my own bags. 9/10 times it fixes it.

      Plus the upside is you can actually use the amount of bags you need as opposed to the amount they want you to use.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Self service checkouts -Tesco's

        There is a Tesco's in West London that is open 24hrs a day.

        Why is it then that the staff decide that with no 'human' till open at 06:30 it is time to cashup the Self-service checkouts? They take 4 of the 6 out of action letting a queue or people build up just when they are on their way to work.

        Queue much gnashing of teeth from the masses trying to pay for their goods.

        total and abject failure. Is it little wonder that Tesco's is the least fav store (apart from ASDA that is, who decide the need to see ID whenever I buy booze despite being in my 60's).

        1. Scotthva5

          Re: Self service checkouts -Tesco's

          >apart from ASDA that is, who decide the need to see ID whenever I buy booze despite being in my 60's

          Thanks to the draconian alcohol laws here in the US (Virginia to be more precise) I am asked for proof of age for ANY age-restricted product even though I'm well into my 50's. This includes non-alcoholic "beer". Go figure...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Happy

            Re: Self service checkouts -Tesco's

            non-alcoholic Beer? who buys that - mind you I am soory to say that most American Beers I have tried do qualify.. but then again that's probably just imports

    2. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: Self service checkouts

      I'd agree with everything you said if only the damn things worked reliably instead of frequently throwing a fit and refusing to do anything until a member of staff sticks a key in and fiddles about under the hood.

      1. Phil W

        Re: Self service checkouts

        Personally in the shops where I use them (Sainsburys, Tesco, Boots, B&Q) I've never had one fail on me during use. I've only ever had to interact with staff for one of two reasons:

        1. Buying an age restricted product (knives, alcohol and solvents etc)

        2. I've bought something that is either too light/heavy for the scale. Light items, as suggested above can be whacked down onto the scale with some force which usually convinces it that the item is there.

        However the B&Q self service checkout kept telling me to "Please put the item on the scale" when buying a number of 20+KG bags of sand and cement.

        However that was still a human error, as someone had obviously flagged the product incorrectly on the system as needing to be put on the scale. Other heavy items I've bought there prompt a "please leave it in the trolley" announcement.

    3. Joe 35

      Re: Self service checkouts

      "You don't have to wait for an older staff member to come over and allow the person actually serving you to sell you alcohol because the spotty oik on the checkout isn't 18 themselves yet."

      Yes you do. If there is an 18-plus item in there then the flashing lights will come on and sirens will sound and they will send someone over. Otherwise all the 14 year olds would be buying their cider via this route.

      1. Maty

        Re: Self service checkouts

        This isn't just a problem at self-service. On occasion I've tried to buy a bottle of alcohol with a head-scarfed till attendant at the supermarket. This is followed by an annoying wait until the store can find an Unbeliever who will actually handle the bottle.

        Goes back to Alistair's comment about dealing with non-native customer service ...

    4. Shasta McNasty

      Re: Self service checkouts

      "You don't have to wait for an older staff member to come over and allow the person actually serving you to sell you alcohol because the spotty oik on the checkout isn't 18 themselves yet."

      I think you'll find that automated machines have to also have that done by a human. Sometimes its done at the remote console or at the same machine you're using, but it is ALWAYS done.

      Because if it wasn't, a 16 year old buying beer would just press the "yes I am over 18" button and be off.

      1. Phil W

        Re: Self service checkouts

        Indeed you still need a member of staff to approve the purchase, but my point was that the person who actually comes to do that is always of sufficient age to do so. You don't hear the automated checkout say "approval needed" then have a member of staff come over who then has to run off and find yet another member of staff to approve it.

        What's the point in having a checkout operator who isn't able to sell you a number of items in the store because of their age. Leave them stacking shelves until they're 18.

        1. Shasta McNasty

          Re: Self service checkouts

          So you have the choice of a person serving you who *may* need approval versus a machine that would *always* need approval.

          I'm a big fan a technology, but I'll always choose the person over the machine. Especially if that person is particularly appealing to look at.

          1. Phil W

            Re: Self service checkouts

            Simple solution there of course is to use common sense. If you're buying a basket full of booze, knives and glue go to a manned checkout (and get a "what the hell are you up to this weekend?" look).

            If you're buying a few pints of milk and a newspaper go self service and get out much faster.

            Also it may be my imagination (combined with the fact my alcohol purchases are mostly single malt scotch, not the first choice of your average underage drinker), but I seem to get asked to prove my age less often by the staff at the self service checkout.

            1. John 110

              Re: Self service checkouts

              "... If you're buying a basket full of booze, knives and glue "

              Duct tape! You forgot the duct tape!!.

            2. Arachnoid

              If you're buying a basket full of

              booze, knives, tape, rope and glue go to a manned checkout.......and give them a good long straight faced stare as you pound each item onto the counter

              1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

                Re: If you're buying a basket full of

                booze, knives, tape, rope and glue go to a manned checkout, give them a good long straight faced stare as you pound each item onto the counter…. and, smiling, say, "I'm having a little gathering, would you like to come?"

                1. Arachnoid

                  "I'm having a little gathering, would you like to come?

                  There will be plenty of freshhhhh meat to consume

          2. VinceH

            Re: Self service checkouts

            "I'm a big fan a technology, but I'll always choose the person over the machine. Especially if that person is particularly appealing to look at."

            And it's possible to have a conversation with the person. Have you ever tried to do that with an automated system? It just gets you funny looks from other customers.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Self service checkouts

            As my mother said to a bank clerk urging her to use a machine instead of the cashier, "Why, do n't you want a job?". The cashier looked puzzled, confused and then abashed. She had never thought just how one would earn the money to extract from the machine.

            For those averse to dealing with people, are you unser interface designers? It would explain a lot.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Self service checkouts

        and whats wrong with a 16 year old buying beer - better than crack I say

    5. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: purchasing certain items together.

      Ah yes but a Self Service machine can't be impressed, nay, amazed at my awesome combination of ingredients and marvel at the culinary genius required to come up with the audacious idea of buying *both* sliced and unsliced Chorizo and the doubtless masterchef-winning quality of the dinner I'm about to cook up.

      That said, nor has any human checkout staff apart from in my head right up until I get to the checkout and see the perma-glazed "Meh" expression on the poor soul's face.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: purchasing certain items together.

        a Self Service machine can't be impressed, nay, amazed at my awesome combination of ingredients ... That said, nor has any human checkout staff

        Except for the nice lady in Asda who, upon seeing that my entire shopping was a bottle of vodka and a tin of cat food, asked "is the vodka to wash away the taste love?".

    6. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Self service checkouts

      Last time this subject popped up someone pointed out that most self service checkouts have a volume icon, that allows you to turn off the damn voice.

      I'd just like to thank that person for making my life better for the last few months, every time I use one it gets muted.

    7. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: Self service checkouts

      "You don't get the checkout operator looking over your purchases, giving you funny looks or making "witty" comments because you happen to purchasing certain items together."

      I don't know about that, when I was a youngling I was amused by one tilltender wishing me a pleasant evening as I exited the shop with a bottle of champagne and a box of condoms.

      I usually don't dislike exchanging a word or 10 with fellow humans. I see enough automatons at work as it is.

  10. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Happy

    "Yes, we know, the weekend has come early this week...."

    Indeed, that's my last working day of the week - for the whole nation here, apparently. How did you know?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    I for one

    Enjoy using the self checkout machines as well. I can get through faster than at a normal checkout but they sense... they really do that I work in IT so they will on occasion cause ALL maner of nonsense...

  12. JeeBee

    I hate the self checkout machines, simply because I will have an issue with "unexpected item in bagging area" (yeah, the item I just swiped), and if I buy anything like a beer, I have to get someone to approve me.

    Sadly, because Tesco are the worst supermarket ever, and cost-cutting their staffing levels to the operators of the self-checkout tills, you are forced to queue for ten minutes before you can use them whilst looking wistfully at the ten empty cashier tills.

    Half of them have the red flashing light on indicating a fault too. Don't break, my arse.

    Not quicker either, a cashier till has someone to pack the bags - you. A self checkout takes longer because it's scan then bag, scan then bag. No parallelism.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Humans

    Maybe it's a northern thing, but I much prefer using a proper checkout if I've got more than a couple of items: although some of them might have IQs barely higher than the ambient temperature, the banter from some of the older staff can be right giggle! Service with a smile :-)

  14. ukgnome

    Bless you Mr D

    You must of known that I am at my second progenies birthday and released this early.

    Many thanks

    Dral, or is it Durl, or maybe Daram

    *all are acceptable if I get a coffee at the end of humiliation.

  15. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    checkout

    There is one drugstore within walking distance of the office that has no self-service checkout. I attribute this to the demanding ways of the White House and World Bank staff, who I imagine to be too self-important to fuss with punching buttons and bagging their own stuff. The drawback seems to be that the gents are all metrosexuals who wouldn't dream of buying shaving soap, but purchase canned cream or gels instead. So it's back to the self-service checkout today.

  16. Irongut Silver badge

    Damn

    I thought it was Friday when I woke up this morning and now Dabbsie is making it worse.

    It's a conspiracy I tells ya!

  17. wbaw

    Can we have some kind of clearer warning in the headline so that I don't need to click on these Alistair Dabbs stories. If I'm tired & emotional then I could think there's real news about computers going to the toilet.

  18. JimmyPage
    Thumb Up

    Speed through checkouts ...

    MrsPage and I have have been using these fold-up crates to pack our shopping into. Get to the checkout, unload on belt, get to other end, and pack crate (in trolley) faster than the checkout operator can scan them. Really flummoxes the twunts[1] who like to make customers scrabble by not turning on the output belt, as I can take the item from their hand.

    Added bonus is box can then be stacked nicely in boot, and not fall over like a collection of bags.

    As to scanning items individually, it's the trained procedure. There are numerous lines where items look identical, but aren't ... not only is there the risk of a pricing difference, but also stock control and special offers need to know.

    [1]You might think you invented the idea of jerking around with customers, with your youth, haircut, and facial ironmongery, but you don't realise this 45+ duffer used to work in Sainsburys on Saturdays, just like you ...

  19. Airborne Cigar

    So tell me, what's life like in your alternative dimension?

    I understand that a lot of techies have problems communicating with homo sapiens in person, but in the world I inhabit, London minimum-wage staff are no worse than most.

    Conversely, self -service checkouts don't keep you waiting while they natter with other people, nor do they short change you, and the simple failures they indulge in are easily resolved by human intervention, unlike their human counterparts.

    But through the Looking Glass, you seem to have a different world...

  20. Piro

    Self service checkouts in Waitrose have far better manners than ones in plebian stores such as Tesco or Sainsburys: after you pay, and it detects your items are still on the platform, it doesn't repeatedly tell you to shove off, which is obnoxious and unnecessary, because you're no doubt trying to get a hold of your items.

  21. stu 4

    don't forget train ticket barriers....

    For 18 months I have been travelling down once a week from ipswich to heathrow.

    I get a return ticket (£116 a week !!!!!)

    On getting to the automated barriers at liverpool st, it refuses the ticket.

    After 2 or 3 weeks of this, I realised it was not just a shit ticket - but an inherent problem - so started queuing up with the season pass holders for the one human at one side of the 10 barriers right away rather than wasting my time trying the fucker in the machine, and have to show that to him every week.

    Around 1 time in 3 he still insists that I try it - which of course I have to do even after telling him it won't work... and it doesn't work.

    ah... you are thinking - why don't you sort this at the source!

    well... after about 6 months, I remembered one monday morning while getting my ticket.

    "Er.. see these tickets you give me. I get them every week. They never work in the automatic barrier at liverpool street"

    train grunt: "Oh"

    "Yeh.. I mean I'm not talking about now and again, I mean every week for 6 months. I'm assuming since they work for most folk, that your system has some sort of bug in it and is screwing up tickets which end in heathrow somehow"

    <pause> i am silently stared at.

    "er... I just though maybe you'd like to know the details... maybe you could pass them on to someone. you know - it's probably affecting other people and other routes going by the number of other people I see having their tickets refused by the barriers"

    <pause> I am still silently stared at.

    "right then... er... goodbye"

    that was 12 months ago.

    they still don't work.

    To be fair the train ticket grunt is still about 4x quicker at issuing a ticket than the asthmatic automatic ticketing machine - which seems to have cornered the market in 1980s dot matrix printers and takes around 1 minute (which is a loooong fucking time when you are waiting there) to print out 3 ticket parts.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: don't forget train ticket barriers....

      I have an unfortunate tendency to kick the barriers if they're playing up. A man in a hi-viz jacket tried to admonish me on one such occasion, but when I began ranting about how I pay X-hundreds of pounds a month for my travel pass only to have the fucking thing slam in my face, he sort of hummed and nodded as he let me through.

      On the London Underground, the barriers frequently open for you and then almost immediately close as you're about halfway through. One of these slammed with such unexpected force that it caught my hand carrying my Oyster card and snapped the card in two. They had to drag me away from kicking the shit out of the thing.

      1. stu 4

        Re: don't forget train ticket barriers....

        Ah yes... the underground...

        I soon realised I had to wait for the person infront of me to actually GO THROUGH the barrier...

        since By default you swipe as you are already walking into the gate.

        So of course, there oyster card has expired, but muggins behind swipes his ticket.

        voila, they scoot through on your ticket.. leaving you then wondering for a second why your ticket isn't working before realising what's happened.

        it look a few times for the penny to drop. I'm pretty sure this is an accepted way of using the underground without paying...

        So now I wait until punter in front has actually got gate to open and has departed before my ticket is fed into the thing.

        I still often wonder how foreigners manage not to get lost on platforms with more than one line - as LU still seem to expect that simply specifying that the next train is for 'BARKING' will endow the perspective passenger with the magical knowledge that it is on the hamersmith and city line, and that they need to memorise every single stop on the circle line and wait for a train with one of those on the front to get on the circle line....is it so fucking difficult to put: "H&C: BARKING' or "CIRCLE:EMBANKMENT"

        poor bastards

        1. Frankee Llonnygog

          Re: don't forget train ticket barriers....

          Yes, London is awful. Please don't come - stay home. You'll be much happier. (Bloody grockles!)

    2. ukgnome

      Re: Stu 4

      The pleasure and delight of a Greater Anglia experience.

      I think everyone should have the pleasure.

      Recently I was shouted at by a chap who told be not to vault the staff entrance barrier at Norwich. He melted down when I suggested that he didn't have a sign saying I couldn't vault the barrier. I don't think they like me much on their notwork.

  22. Lis 0r
    Facepalm

    TL;DR:

    "AM OLD. CAN'T COPE. LOL D:"

  23. Alistair Dabbs

    Terminator quotes

    So, how many Terminator quotes did you spot?

  24. eldel

    Interestingly enough, and this may qualify as a social commentary, Wal-Mart automated check outs have a major hissy fit with alcohol, requiring all sorts of authentication (and I haven't looked under 21 for a number of decades) but ammunition goes straight through with no issues.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      'Murica.

  25. Dr_N Silver badge

    Starbucks

    You use your real name when ordering coffee at Starbucks !?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Starbucks

      Why not? It's my name. Although, I suppose in the case of Starbucks, it isn't.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Starbucks

        You can have way more fun with made-up names......

        (Just look at the fun they have with yours.)

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Starbucks

          I suppose I could always try the Bart Simpson approach: "My name is Hugh Janus" etc.

          1. Pedigree-Pete

            Re: Starbucks

            You could try Ivor Biggin & Christopher Peacock as one of our customers did to one of our multi-lingual infernal sales people. Great fun ensued amongst the mono-longuistic Anglo Saxon majority as they called across the office the name of the caller to his intended telephonic target.

          2. Number6

            Re: Starbucks

            I think you should try some weird and wonderful names and document the spelling variations. It's possible that the baristas just have trouble spelling Alas-Dur.

  26. James 100

    The lack of chatter is one reason I prefer self-service checkouts: no need to stand there waiting while the coffin-dodger in front recites their life story then starts haggling over how many goats they'll take in part exchange for a little basket of shopping, just scan, pay and go.

    Plus, having accumulated a small bucket of assorted coins (when I get change, I pocket it; when washing trousers, I take the coins out - so they build up) there's almost no limit to how many Morrisons checkouts will accept. For a few weeks, I'd pop in, buy a salad or something and dump a pocketful of random shrapnel into the hopper, and it would quite happily clunk through counting it all. (When the store was quiet, of course, so I neither had to queue nor kept anyone waiting.)

    It would be nice if self-scan got you a discount for saving them staff wages - but I'd almost pay extra just to avoid all the stupid questions - like having to beg for carrier bags, instead of having them hanging ready for you.

  27. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Wrong address

    "Ever been invited to a party only to discover they gave you the wrong address?"

    And here I thought it was related to http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/30/free_party_for_ten_lucky_australian_iregi_readers/

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all in the spelling...

    ...I find in central London the following works fine; Remove all vowels from your name, optionally replace with Y's, Z's or a combination of both, and the Starbucks staff member will understand just fine. (Yes, that's right, I'm an AnZnymYZs CZwYrd)

  29. Pedigree-Pete

    ...and don't get me started on automated fruit & Veg weighing & labelilng machines.

    When our local Sainsbuys rolled these out I found the Start button on the embedded XP & had a game of Solitare.! The checkout lady didn't seem to understand when I advised she contact IT as this behaviour might constitute some kind of back door into the corporate network :)

  30. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Terminator

    Self service ... pah

    wait until you get a real robot that can (and will) kill you if you give it half a chance, and not content with stuffing the unlucky operator into the machining bay, it will do it again and again and again because it will absolutely never stop ever even if you are already dead (and got a 2" dia cutter through the skull too).

    And I bet the self serve UI designers all started out in industrial UI design where they were rightfully kicked out for coming up with some of the abominations I put up with .....

  31. Number6

    I use the self-service checkouts for a small number of items with barcodes. If it's a fruit-and-veg shop then I always go for a human operator as they probably know the codes for the produce without needing to look them up. The self-checkouts at my local supermarket seem to have a problem with my bags though, I always seem to have to get them verified before I can start the process.

    As for automated stuff, what about voice-recognition software. Activating a credit card, it asks me to enter my card number with the dial pad, which is OK, but then it asks me to speak my date of birth. After it's failed a couple of times it lets me enter that via the dialpad too. When my wife tried activating a card, it recognised her first time. She has an American accent, mine is British. I've had arguments with the PG&E system too, that also seems to struggle with British accents. What all these systems need is a quick and easy way to get through to a human, for those of us who know that the automated system is not going to cope.

  32. cosymart
    Happy

    Tip

    Just to change the topic ever so slightly....

    If you ever have call up one these awful telephone systems, you know: press 1 for contracts, 2 for payments....etc. Just press the # key, human every time :-)

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Tip

      Hah! If only they were so standardised and so simple. No, to get a human, press 1 - 3 - 7 - 2 - 3 - 3 - 1 - 7, or some other combination, but listen to 30 seconds of advertising telling you about their "exciting" products or "easy-to-use" website before a confusing set of menu items between each one, ending with a description of an unrelated service and "Thank you for your call", then call again, press 1 - 2 - 7 - 2 - 3 - 3 - 1 - 7 and get "all our customer support staff are busy", with, either, annoyingly tinny musack, or nice music interrupted at intervals by a repeat, "all our customer support staff are busy", until, eventually, you get a human that tells you, despite supplying services on one piece of wire and charging in a special bundled offer, the service you are complaining about is provided by a different company (both in wholly owned by a single holding company) and you have to call this other number, no, they can't transfer you, yes they are a telecommunications company, no, they really can't transfer you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tip

        http://www.pleasepress1.com/uk/

      2. KiloCu

        Re: Tip

        WINDSTREAM WINDSTREAM WINDSTREAM this is so windstream.... sorry

  33. chivo243 Silver badge
    Devil

    Computer assisted devices cost money!

    I remember long ago, in a galaxy far away, when I got my first ATM card. Probably 1982 or so. I remember asking the hottie in the teller seat about them. She said that they would reduce the costs of banking. It was meaningless to me at the time. My checking was a free account. Then I noticed there was a small service charge on my monthly statement. I went back to the bank, hoping I could speak the the hottie in the teller seat, only to find her mother or grandmother. I asked about this new charge, and I was told someone has to fill the ATM with money, someone has to maintain the system. I asked if I could return my ATM card and go back to writing checks for cash, and not have this service charge? I was told NO, you can turn in your card, but all users of said bank are paying for the implementation of the new ATM's regardless of possessing an ATM card! There you have it, it's nothing new....

    So on top of the bank using my money to make money, they are charging me to withdraw my money?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Checkout Fun

    Self service checkouts take all the fun out of shopping,

    A friend used to see how shocked he could make a cashier look just by his choice of 3 items being purchased together.

    the best combination he found was...

    1. A Melon

    2. A tube of KY Jelly

    3. A pair of rubber gloves

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Checkout Fun

      Fully equipped for a game of ruggery!

  35. KiloCu

    HAH my company did that to "we laughed"

    My company has decided it would be awesome to implement barely compatible with our core cash dispensers at many of our locations back in 2008... they would abandoned within 6 months price tag 30k a piece. Fast forward to now they decided that these new also barely compatible cash recycler's would be a good plan to show how forward thinking our organization is "we laughed" we a currently 6 months in they have stopped using the cash recycler's because the poor programming has cause them to inadvertently steal money from people "they essentially miscount money when there is more than one denomination" pricetag 100k a pop. and they are paying the tellers overtime to balance all the issues the machines have caused

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fun at Starbucks

    Tell them your name is Clint. Then have fun with what they write. Generally it looks like 'C LI N T'

  37. WJames
    Mushroom

    Maybe Barclays is reacting to this:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/30/barclays-bank-closed-man-deposits-piles-steaming-poo-pictures_n_5543136.html

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