Ian Marchant, writer and broadcaster, asks who benefits most from the self-service revolution - is it the consumer or big business?
From buying tickets online, to banking, to 'flat pack' shopping and the rise and rise of the supermarket, Ian explores how much the self-service revolution affects every aspect of our lives. He asks how much the consumer benefits from cheaper costs, and sets it against the shopper's own time and labour, which the self-service model relies on.
This is a programme about the pros and cons of self-service, of apparently limitless choice of brightly coloured brands - branding which is in part brought about by allowing the shopper the freedom to make their own choices. But self-service also led to a smaller and less skilled workforce, a process which continues today with the self-scanning checkouts at supermarkets.
And Ian wrestles with flatpack furniture - can he build his very own chest of drawers, cheap and convenient to buy, but is it worth the effort?
Producer: Mark Smalley.