In a bid to halt a decline in profits, Tesco has announced plans to outsource their checkout operators to India. Avoiding eye-contact with customers remotely via an uninteractive ‘tcsh’ screen, most customers will barely notice the difference.
“We’ve known for some time that employees have been costing us money”, explained Tesco’s Marketing Dictator Reynold Cooper. “And that’s money that’s badly needed for advertising, so you realise how warm and cuddly we are.” While ‘self-service’ tills have offered some respite from ploughing profits back into local communities, Cooper acknowledges that some customers prefer being dehumanised in person, by a bored, disinterested face.
Using a modified self-service till with a cheap screen gaffer-taped on, customers can scan and pack their own shopping while a woman in Mumbai pretends they’re not there. Trials in the south-east have been a roaring success. “The British Public has certain expectations of customer service”, explained Cooper. “They expect an assistant to moan about the length of the shift, and then maul a loaf or pick at their donuts. This is just the sort of soulless job that lends itself to outsourcing, and our shoppers can now look forward to bland questions being read at random from a script.”
And it’s the script that Cooper is most proud of. Leaving customers unsure whether they’ve been insulted or not, it provides such a fully-immersive shopping experience you’d hardly know the staff were 4,500 miles away.
“Naturally, all our off-shore workers say ‘sorry about your weight’ to our more hefty customers”, confirmed Cooper. “And it’s traditional to ask a munter with a basket of ready meals if they’ll be ‘eating alone again this evening’. But by lying in a sing-song foreign accent that their name is ‘Kensington’, ‘Bromley’ or ‘Elephant and Castle’, even the more credulous of the dullards that shop here will suspect that someone’s taking the piss.”
Chelsea Barnet has used the service, but has some reservations. “You could see ‘Sutton-on-Thames’ smile was drawn on with biro”, complained Barnet, “and she muttered ‘lazy’ when I scanned in a microwave lamb bhuna. Then she called a supervisor over to see if I’d ‘got enough diet milkshakes’, and acted surprised when my debit card was accepted.”
“It made a lovely change to experience such personal service.”
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