Several employees at Loblaws-owned stores said they’ve been pressured recently to push customers to use self-checkout, driven by a company quest to get more people using the machines.
“They’re trying to get us to force [customers] to go to self-checkout,”said a cashier at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Ontario. “They’ve made cashiers feel like if they don’t do this, something bad is going to happen.”
CBC News is keeping employees’ names confidential because they fear repercussions from their employer.
Their claims follow a CBC News story last week where customers complained they were ordered to use self-checkout at two Loblaws-owned chains: Shoppers Drug Mart and Real Canadian Superstore.
At the time, Loblaws stated that it expects stores to always offer customers the choice of checking out with a cashier. But after the story ran, some Shoppers employees said their instructions to lure customers to self-checkout hadn’t changed.
“I am feeling terrible,” said the Shoppers cashier. “I am not comfortable with pushing people to do something they don’t want to do.”
Workers at her store recently received a directive from head office to pull out all the stops to get more customers using the machines, she said, including leading them directly to self-checkout when they’re ready to pay.
The cashier said she suspects the company’s goal is to get customers used to the technology so it can cut cashier jobs.
In 2017, Loblaws CEO Galen Weston announced that with the coming minimum wage increases in Ontario and Alberta, the company was rolling out “custom-designed self-checkouts” at Shoppers Drug Marts to help “accelerate efficiencies.”