The UK's largest retailer, Tesco, is changing the audio voice of its self-service checkouts, following feedback from customers.

By the end of this year, none of the UK supermarket's stores will contain machines that dish out the phrase: "Unexpected item in bagging area."

Tesco says that the new voice audio, which has been installed in a selection of stores ahead of a nationwide roll-out to be completed by the end of October, is "friendlier, more helpful and less talkative" than the existing offering.

James Dewen, self-service checkout operations manager at Tesco, admitted that the current voice used for self-service machines leaves some customers "a bit frustrated".  

"It's listened to by millions of customers every week, so we've acted on customer and colleague feedback and worked hard to get the new voice right to improve the shopping trip," he added.

Since first being introduced to its stores in 2003, Tesco now operates over 12,000 self-service checkouts supplied by NCR. The new voice is already being used in a small number of stores, including Hatfield, Peterborough, Edinburgh and Kensington.

Rival supermarket Morrisons recently moved to bring back more staffed checkouts, as part of a drive by new CEO David Potts to improve in-store customer service. The move was reflected in a recent TV ad campaign and follows extensive research from the supermarket which asked shoppers and staff alike how to improve shopping at Morrisons.

How Tesco's self-service audio is being amended:

Current Audio

New Audio

Unexpected item in bagging area, remove this item before continuing

Please check your packing area

Assistance is on its way

Help is coming

Please wait for assistance

We’ll be with you shortly

Please place the item in the bagging area

This can now be placed in your bag

Unknown item, put item to one side and touch OK

Sorry, there’s a problem with this item, help is coming

Please scan your Clubcard

Scan your Clubcard to earn Clubcard points

Please take your change, notes are dispensed below the scanner

Please don’t forget your change, especially notes

Approval needed

We just need to approve this

Recalled item

Sorry, there’s a problem with this item, help is coming

Scale is not working properly

Sorry, there’s a problem with the scale, help is coming

Please deposit coupons

Coupons can now be inserted

Clubcard accepted

All of your Tesco points add up

Item removed from bagging area, return item to bagging area before continuing

Has something been removed from your bag?

Your green Clubcard points will be printed on your receipt

You’ll see all points on your till receipt

Please place your bags in the bagging area and touch Done when finished

Please place your own bags ready for scanning

Please wait while we verify your bags

We’ll be with you shortly

Unknown item

Sorry, there’s a problem with this item, help is coming

Select from favourites or look up item

Find your favourites or have a browse


Removed phrases

Do you wish to continue

Please scan your coupons

Please insert your card in to the chip and pin device

Please take your items

Please take your card

Type the items description


Added phrases

Thank you for shopping at Tesco