At a time when queues seem endless and time ticks away unmercifully, it is truly a pleasure to shop at Continente, situated in the Algarve Shopping complex in Guia.
The reason is the introduction of the self-service check out. This service has been available in Portimão’s Continente for some while.
How does it work? Firstly, it is really aimed at those shoppers who can fit all their shopping into a basket rather than a trolley. But for those who have heavy items or who are older and do not want to carry heavy items, there appears to be no reason why you cannot put the basket into the trolley and push it around.
No matter how you have collected your purchases, when you get to the self-service check outs, which are situated mid-way along the run of check outs, you place your basket of items on a platform. This is when it gets really simple. You can choose between the Portuguese or English language by pressing the clearly marked button.
A voice will then invite you to swipe your Continente loyalty card. If you do not have one, then you just start to scan your items. Once each item has been scanned, you then place them in one of the many carrier bags supplied.
You can only scan the next item when the computer has registered the purchase and you have placed it into a bag.
When your purchases have all been scanned, you press the button marked Checkout and you are asked to swipe your multibanco or credit card. Job done!
This is going to make shopping so much nicer for so many people.
You cannot use the system if you are paying by cash as the machines only accept payment by cards.
You need help from an assistant if any of your items, such as clothes, have security tags on them but there is an assistant available at all times.
As the system appears to balance the weight of the items taken from the Continente basket against the weight in the carrier bags they supply, it does not allow you to use recyclable bags.
by Sheena Rawcliffe
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