Tesco is facing heavy scrutiny today after several of its new 'face-scanners' were accused of delivering 'unnecessary and offensive' suggestions to shoppers, with one woman being advised to 'add more low-calorie food items to her trolley', followed by 'every little helps, I suppose', in a sarcastic tone.
Accountant David Croft, who was the first to raise a complaint about the new technology, says he was left ‘offended’ after visiting his local superstore in Braintree on Sunday. He said: ‘I grabbed a trolley, walked through the main doors, and that bloody face-scanner hacked into the tannoy system and shouted, “Pong Alert! Pong Alert! Man in the Chelsea shirt: All antiperspirant deodorants half-price, aisle nine”.
He added: ‘As if that wasn’t bad enough, the store manager offered me Clubcard Vouchers by way of compensation, which included 50p off all Lynx Products. Kick a man while he’s down, why don’t you’.
Unemployed mother of four and regular Tesco shopper, Emma Hughes, was also quick to raise a complaint after visiting her local Tesco Express in Chester. ‘I’ve had a rough year, so I’m not exactly looking my best at the moment’, said the 32-year-old. ‘When I approached the till, I just heard a voice say: “Are you lost, love? Netto is that way. Try not to touch anything on your way out”. I was so embarrassed. And I'm pretty sure I heard it mumble "scrounger" under its breath as I walked out'.
A spokesperson for Tesco said: 'We installed the new technology with the intention of collecting small pieces of information from individual customers, which we hoped would provide us with a broader business insight into creating more targeted and relevant marketing campaigns. It certainly wasn't installed to tell Sheila in our Dudley store to '"sort her barnet out". It seems the company responsible for the technology designed software to determine what customers "need", rather than what they "want".
He added: 'We have decided to discontinue the use of the machines with immediate effect, and the job of gossiping about our shoppers' buying habits and appearances will be given back to the checkout operatives'.