SELF-SERVICE tills are the latest innovation in supermarket shopping in Huddersfield.
Customers can now choose to bypass the checkout operator in a branch of Sainsbury's and pay for their own goods as they scan them.
Four self-checkouts have been installed in the Market Street store, and they went live yesterday.
Customers with baskets of shopping scan their own goods in and pay with either coins, notes or cards.
Change is dispensed and the transaction ends.
The store is one of only seven across the country which are piloting the system.
Manager Paul Coulson said the idea was simply to offer customers more choice in the way they shopped.
"This is another alternative open to customers," he said. "It is not about reducing labour.
"It is the same as in banking. Cash machines do not mean that banks have shut down.
"It just gives people the opportunity to access their money 24 hours a day."
Self-checkouts are well established in America, where stores operate with up to 50, with only a minimal amount of staff to supervise.
The system works by weight, with machines being programmed to recognise and link-up barcodes and individual weights for every item in the store.
Shoppers first place their baskets on the machine with the total weight of goods recorded.
They individually scan each item and then re-weigh the basket at the other end.
The weighing process at each end prevents theft and a member of staff is on-hand at the four automatic checkouts to ensure customers have no problems.
A total for the shopping is displayed on screen and people can either place money in a slot and receive change or pay by credit or debit cards, with signatures also displayed on screen to prevent fraud.
Customers were encouraged by staff to try the new system on the first day. And most liked it.
Even a technophobe like me, who finds using the bread-slicing machine a major challenge, successfully managed a transaction.
Mrs Christine McInnes, of Milnsbridge - who was shown the system by assistant Lisa Thorpe - was very impressed.
"I will certainly use it again," she said.
"It's so quick if you are on your way home from work, or going to work and have only a few items to buy.