Skip to main content

30th January 2023

Fallowfield Sainsbury’s is now making student life worse

Why it’s time for the supermarket giant to bin the barriers
Fallowfield Sainsbury’s is now making student life worse
Photo Credit: Cnbrb @ Wikimedia Commons

I did my first big food shop of the new year a week ago in Fallowfield Sainsbury’s with my mate, and the first thing we had noticed is the brand new barriers at the entrance. Not paying much attention to this, we had carried on with our usual shopping – that was until we had to leave. The security had stopped us and told us we needed to scan our reciept, something I don’t think many people actually remember to take.

Fallowfield Sainsbury’s has now implemented a scan-to-exit policy; this new scheme is being trialled in selected stores across the UK. There are no notices around the shop letting customers know of this change either, so if you go in unaware of this change, you’re going to be trapped in Sainsbury’s until you get your receipt reprinted. I found this out the hard way.

There has been a massive backlash to this on social media, with many people claiming this to be “false imprisonment”, offensive, and an insult to customers. The scheme has been justified as a method of reducing shoplifting and follows after other large retailers such as Primark had trialled a similar scheme with positive results.

In other Sainsbury’s shops where the scan-to-exit scheme is being trialled, the barriers are only in the self-checkout area. However, in the Fallowfield shop, these barriers are found at the entrance and exit of the shop; doesn’t matter if you used the self-checkout or you paid at the staffed tills. This could be down to the fact that in the Fallowfield shop, most people use self-checkouts anyway, but this simply feels targeted.

Why Fallowfield Sainsbury’s? The one on Oxford Road doesn’t have this scheme, so why us?

I have a particular grievance with this scheme being implemented in Fallowfield. This comes straight after police presence in Fallowfield was increased after a string of violent behaviour. As if the anxiety of students surrounding an increase in police presence wasn’t high enough already, we are now being treated like criminals in our local supermarket.

Student life is supposed to be fun and care-free, but recently we have all been on our toes, too scared to make the move that could get us in trouble. Gen-Z has been brought up in a world where policing and security is not-so-welcome, so obviously we won’t be the most welcoming to a change that threatens us that we’re going to be punished for theft. We can’t stay out too late, get too drunk, and now we can’t even do our shopping.

It doesn’t help either that the security are less than kind to those who forget their receipts. As mentioned before, there are no notices about this new change, so people who don’t know about this change are going to get trapped. Considering most students are only just returning for the second semester, I can just imagine this problem getting increasingly worse. The security had aggressively informed me and my mate about the change and had sent us back to the tills to get ours reprinted. This kind of behaviour is simply unnecessary and Sainsbury’s needs to do more to make people aware of this change so customers aren’t met with similar behaviour.

There’s the environmental concern too. I don’t need to explain that the amount of paper being used is a huge waste and generally not good for the environment. However, there’s been an increase in littering along Wilmslow Road and in Sainsbury’s car park purely of Sainsbury’s receipts – this scheme is making Fallowfield’s littering problem worse by tenfold.

Finally, what happens if you did not buy anything? These barriers aren’t usually manned by security, especially at night. As we all know, the stock at Fallowfield Sainsbury’s isn’t always the best so shoppers sometimes leave empty-handed. How can someone leave the shop without being forced to buy something?

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy living in Fallowfield as a student. It constantly feels like we are constantly being punished just for being a student and makes me thankful that I’ll be living elsewhere in my final year. Anti-shoplifting measures being implemented in the Fallowfield Sainsbury’s just reaffirms negative stereotypes about students to the Fallowfield community that we are out-of-control and up to no good. It makes the divide between students and locals wider and more hostile.

So, to Sainsbury’s and their higher-ups: get rid of the scan-to-exit scheme. It’s doing more harm than good.

Violet Robins

Violet Robins

Deputy Opinion Editor – I write about the female experience

More Coverage

We need to politicise mental health

A rising number of people in Britain are on antidepressants. Your risk of mental illness correlates with how young, how poor and how socially-disadvantaged you are. Why is this and what should we do about it?

No-sex tenancy clauses are a landlord’s newest weapon amid the housing crisis

Imagine not being able to have sex in your house. It might become the reality under a ‘no-sex tenancy clause’

Lower entry requirements for international students? An international student’s perspective

Universities have been accused of offering international students lower entry grade requirements, but what does this reveal about our higher education institutions, and how does it affect the way international students are viewed?

Graduation looms. Please don’t send me out into the big bad world

With the curtain closing on my student days, I’m anxiously anticipating life after graduation – and I’m not handling it well