"We’re not great fans of self-checkouts," said Nigel Murray, managing director of Booths.

"We pride ourselves on great customer service and you can’t do that through a robot." Amen, Nigel.

Booths, a supermarket chain in the north of England, announced recently that it will bring back human cashiers and ditch its self-service tills.

Customers prefer it. No kidding.

Self-service checkouts are one of the modern world's finest Emperor's new clothes. Automated tills are one of these circular things, where supermarket has them because every other supermarket has them. And if everyone has them, then everyone must want them.

Still, without them we wouldn't have the phrase "unexpected item in the bagging area" and the various memes and comedy skits born from it. It's the only upside I can think of, and I have spent some time thinking on it.

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But here comes Booths, the one to break the cycle.

If I was to choose a particular self-service checkout to go to the wall first it would be Sainsburys': that recorded voice is the worst. If you've ever scanned your shopping in a Sainsbos, you'll have heard the woman tell you, when you're done: "Goodbye". Which seems reasonable when you merely read it but let me tell you, the tone.

It's a mix of sarcastic disgust. This machine woman has had enough of you, and of your shopping. Why are you still standing there? You pathetic human with your pathetic material needs. Off to eat and sleep, are you? Sad little parcel of sinew. Good. Bye.

You see, I'm anthropomorphising the machine in a desperate bid to humanise the contact. And no wonder. We, as a species, are designed to want contact.

Human interaction causes chemical reaction: beta-endorphins, the natural opiate, along with oxytocin and dopamine. We can feel pure dopamine hits from online interactions - a successful Instagram posts with lots of likes gets the neurotransmitter going. But without human-to-human interaction we miss the beta-endorphin and oxytocin.

You can romanticise these things unnecessarily - the supermarket may be someone's only human exchange that day; it's simply better and more pleasant to speak to a person - but these machines serve no positive purpose.

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The advent of do-it-yourself furniture was supposed to herald a change in how we shop and how we live but the DIY economy extends to overwork: when we shop we do every task on our own.

The time saving element of self-checkouts is a fallacy: research shows that queues are just as time consuming at the automated bagging area than they are the manned tills.

Perception is the difference: self-service feels faster because you are busy doing. In the checkout line waiting for a cashier you are merely whiling the time away.

A friend argued with me that these jobs being replaced so easily by machines are jobs that are not meaningful or interesting and it would be better if more stimulating work was found.

Which shows a nice mix of snobbery and naivety; because you might find a role unedifying or unsatisfying does not mean there is no value to it, though the notion of dignity in work is another column entirely.

The number of employees has remained largely static, despite the introduction of self-checkouts, because workers are usually deployed elsewhere. The machines don't necessarily save money because they require maintenance - which requires paying technicians - and they cost a lot in the first place.

But, same as it ever was, women are most affected by any job losses caused by shopping automation. The replacement work is largely in warehouses and as delivery drivers - jobs taken by men.

Sales assistant and checkout operator jobs are female dominated and there are fewer alternatives for women.

Young people too - fears have been raised and founded over the "death of the Saturday job" and ways for teenagers to begin their working careers and earn their own money. A Resolution Foundation report blamed the closure of shops and the introduction of automation, which affects jobs that are not replaced by roles suitable for young people.

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And of course we must then turn to shoplifting, which is on the rise because of criminal gangs. Archie Norman, the chairman of Marks & Spencer, recently said it was "too easy" to say this is a cost of living problem. Of course, problems rarely have one simple solution.

You cannot overlook the fact that the cost of living crisis will be compelling some people to feed themselves and their families in a way they would never have previously countenanced.

Large scale shoplifting operations are on the rise, however, as organised gangs deploy people to take specific, high value items from supermarkets that are then sold at marketplaces like corner shops or pubs - in person service here - or online using sites like Facebook Marketplace.

There is another culprit, according to Mr Norman: the middle classes. Folk who feel the service has been substandard thanks to the automated machines and so they have no qualms about merely taking items that didn't scan properly or were difficult to scan.

Perhaps there's a little thrill in doing something verboten and getting away with it. But all of this coincides with the rise in automated self-checkout machines, according to the British Retail Consortium. Fewer staff are on shop floors - being deployed to back of shop roles - and the consequences of theft for the everyday shopper is a rise in prices to cover the cost of missing merchandise.

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It's not only grocery shopping. The automated machines in the Post Office are the main downside to the festive season. The queues, the chaos, as people trying to fathom the stamps and the labels, try to sticky tape unprepared parcels and one overworked staff members spins around the service area trying to deal with everyone's parcels to their grandkids or their aunties.

A small circle of hell.

So yes, self-service checkouts. No upsides, only down. Like the Emperor, we are all naked but, due to our own foolishness, there is no one at the counter to sell us some clothes.