Lessons From An Asda Self-Service Checkout

February 17, 2012

I received a big lesson last week from… an Asda supermarket self-service checkout. This is my story.

Asda self-service supermarket checkout

This checkout taught me everything I know

I took the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to Asda supermarket on the Isle of Dogs. Once I got there, I put some items in the basket and proceeded to the self-service checkout. A nice lady came over and pressed some buttons to get the machine to stop whining and allow me to buy a bottle of red wine. I paid for my goods, left Asda and hopped on the DLR for my journey home.

I got off at my stop and was leaving the station when a thought suddenly popped into my head: did I take the £10 note in change from that checkout? After going through my pockets and realising I hadn’t, a wave of sickness washed over me. My lapse of concentration had cost me a crisp ten I could ill afford. I had to get that money. So I crossed to the other platform and got the first train back to Asda.

As the DLR wound its way through the Docklands, bringing me back to the scene of my stupidity, I was resigned, because surely this was a useless pursuit. I was in that supermarket over half an hour ago and many people would’ve used that checkout since. The next customer to use the till, or one of the guys manning them could’ve pocketed that tenner. I’ll certainly pay more attention next time. But then I remembered the times I had recovered things I thought I’d lost forever and that people on the whole are good and honest. I’ve had proof that having a good frame of mind brings good results, but, if when I get there the money’s gone, then even though I really couldn’t afford to lose it, I’ll just let it go. Everything will be OK. The journey from resignation to hope was five stops.

I reached Asda and found the woman who helped me earlier and asked about my missing cash. She didn’t know, but asked her colleague, who took me to the customer service desk. The woman behind the desk was smiling broadly as she produced the Queen’s note and handed it to me, once I presented my receipt. Lovely jubbly!

So what did I learn from the Yoda of supermarket checkouts?

  1. People are generally good and honest
  2. Small happenings are just as important as large ones. And they can teach you the biggest lessons
  3. With the right attitude you can change anything
  4. Be more careful with your money.


  1. Awwww what a nice story to end the week. My faith in humanity and good things still happen has been restored a bit today what with your story and me dealing with a nice woman from the council and my car exhaust being fixed for £40 instead of £400. 🙂

  2. You may remember I had that experience where I dropped the USD equivalent of of 20 POUNDS (unknowingly) from my back pocket, and the waitress kept it for three days, approaching me voluntarily the next time I was in the cafe.

    Most people are generally very ethical about lost, misplaced, or stolen property. It always feels good to help someone else. I’m glad you pursued the matter immediately, as that increased the likelihood that someone involved would remember you.

    • You’re right about acting quickly. Timing really is everything. If I had reached home and realised I lost that money, I don’t think I would’ve gone back to get it, as it would have meant a long(ish) journey and it was really cold that week. I would’ve given it up as a lost cause. The fact that I was already at the station, so was able to return to the supermarket quickly, was definitely a bonus. Perhaps it was payback for all the times I have picked up dropped or left money like your waitress and quickly returned it to the owner.

  3. Lovely story. I have recovered quite a few things. I have also left a tenner but that was in an ATM – no chance of me getting that one back. There are honest people around

    • It’s a bit harder with an ATM, but even there, if the next person realises and is honest and quick enough, they’ll hand it to the rightful person.

      Yes, there are honest people around, and in the face of constant drip, drip, drip feed of news about dishonest, nasty individuals, we must try and hold on to that.

  4. Saw this too http://tgr.ph/AwSRZo

    • I know about that story. I think it’s amazing that he found four high value watches in a drain within a few days. I think there’ll be people applying for the job of street cleaner in Southend to see if they’ll get lucky!

      For those of you who don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, the link that Sassy has attached here is a news article about a street cleaner who found a watch in a drain while he was doing his job. It turned out to be a Rolex worth £20,000, and rather than keep it for himself, he handed it to the police. Word gets round and he’s interviewed by a local TV and while that was going on he found three more watches. The police are now investigating because they think they may be the spoils of a robbery or burglary. If no one claims the watches in 30 days, the cleaner can keep them. The total value of these watches is around £60,000.

  5. Lovely to hear about the goodness of people!

    • Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn’t it? It certainly warmed mine.

  6. Good story. It’s rare to see something like this happen in this day and age. You better be more careful, though!

    • Don’t you worry about that, Vilpend. I’m super careful now! Nothing is too small to learn from, if you look at things that way. The day you think you know everything is the day you get busted. Welcome to my blog.

  7. Well done Pie, and ASDA! So much to be said for the truth and good will! I love the story of the Rolex – he so did the right thing!

    • The Rolex story tickled me too. Asda is going to be added to the list of favourite supermarkets after this.

  8. […] I decided to write about my Asda experience I wanted an image of the checkout and I stumbled upon this post of someone having done the same thing a few years ago. Hopefully they don’t mind me using the […]

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