A pensioner who has registered nearly 33 years as a supermarket cashier has finally checked-out – because of self-service tills.
Hard-working Doris Etheridge, 80, signed up when a new Safeway store opened in her town in 1980.
She stayed on when the company was bought out by Morrisons in 2005 and worked through her retirement date of 65.
Dedicated Doris, a grandmother-of-five, also carried on following the death of her husband George after 54 years in 2007.
But she is now cashing up – and blaming the arrival of self-service tills for ruining the chats she enjoyed with customers in Strood, Kent.
Doris was asked to undertake the training for manning the self-service tills but instead decided to quit.
She fears the automated tills will inevitably become the norm and ruin the tradition of a friendly word and smile with customers.
Doris said: “I hate the self-service tills. It’s so impersonal, nobody says good morning and nobody says goodbye when you’re finished.
“I find that they are always going wrong. There is somebody there who has to help you and I didn’t want to train to do that.
“I much prefer talking to my customers and I think people like to have somebody to talk to when they are out shopping.
“We have 12 self-service machines now and we have already lost four check-out tills and I think it was just my time to leave.”
Morrisons bosses invited Doris to their Bradford HQ to mark her 25 years’ service – where she sat next to founder Ken Morrison and found him to be ‘a lovely man’.
She added: “I’ve loved the job. In all the years I’ve been at the checkout I could count on one hand how many people I’ve not enjoyed serving.
“When I lost my husband I was over retirement age but they never made me leave, I just carried on.
“I used to work about 17 or 20 hours a week but now I’ve reduced my shifts to eight hours a week.
“I’m not leaving because I don’t like the work – I love the work. The new tills meant it was time to go.
“It’s just not quite the fun it used to be.”
Doris, a mother-of-two, began her working life as a cashier with a London insurance company before moving from the capital to Kent.
Her daughter Claire – who had twins last year – said: “She has loved her job and it wasn’t the work that has made her give up.”
Colleague Laura Nunn, 37, said: “We can have five people on checkouts and her customers will only go to her. They just want Doris.”