Please wait while we verify your language

  • — Words by The Writer
  • Filed under Grammar rants

I love self-service tills in supermarkets. For a start, I’m an introvert, so they mean one less human interaction in my day. Also, it’s really satisfying beep-beep-beeping your stuff across the scanner – like when you were little and pretended you worked on a checkout. (Maybe that was just me.)

But really: whose idea was it to make them talk like a cross between a cyborg and a civil servant? I don’t know why they bothered getting that velvet-voiced lady to read the script when she just ends up barking weird phrases like ‘unexpected item in bagging area’ at you. They should’ve gone for a full-on Dalek voice and had done with it.

There are two reasons why the supermarkets should get on to this.

Firstly, daft, robotic phrases like ‘please wait while we verify your bags’ aren’t exactly consistent with the warm, customer-friendly supermarket persona.

Secondly, half the time the machine makes no blooming sense. Many a time I’ve gone in for a packet of paracetamol or a bottle of wine and found myself standing there like a lemon while the till bleats ‘approval needed’ at me. I’d probably feel a little less exasperated if it said something sensible like ‘We just need a member of staff to check that for you’.

Supermarkets, we’d be more than happy to help you make your machines more human.

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