Chiswick Sainsbury's end fast track fiasco

Back to queuing after system causes flood of complaints

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An attempt to bring supermarket shopping in Chiswick into the 21st century has led to an embarrassing failure for retail giant Sainsbury's. The Fast Track system which was previously hailed as major step forward is to be ditched after a flood of complaints from shoppers.

The service had been intermittently closed with staff blaming technical problems but they are now telling customers that Fast Track will be removed permanently from September 1st.

Reportedly they only signed up 1000 customers for the scheme and they needed to hit a target of 4000 in order for the facility to survive.

In general, Sainsbury's seem to have been hit by gremlins in their attempts to introduce new technology. Their Sainsbury's to You on-line delivery service has had a lower take up than rival offerings from Ocado and Tesco and other innovations have proven a headache for many customers.

One Chiswick store user said, 'the Self-checkout procedure should be avoided if you have high blood pressure, as it is the most infuriating automated system ever invented.'

Another customer was repeatedly asked to rescan her shopping after the system mistakenly identified her as someone who had left the store with a trolley of shopping without paying.

One regular customer said of the store, "The place is beginning to resemble a Safeways when their future was being squabbled over by their rivals - ie rundown and demoralised."

Sainsbury's declined to respond to questions about the withdrawal of Fast Track or whether it was part of a national strategy or a failure unique to the local store.

August 18, 2004