We had a thread not long ago for complaining about retail, and suggestions for what could be done better. Mine was exactly this issue, but I tend to notice it more in grocery stores.
Just this week I walked out of my usual grocery store because more than half of their lanes were closed. There were at least 10-12 people on line at the ones that were open. Now maybe this was a staffing problem due to CV, but in my experience it’s not unusual. It’s my number one nuisance, and this was not the first time I’ve abandoned a shopping trip because of it.
And I can’t recall ever, not once, seeing every lane open at a grocery store.
Good god, I hope what I’ve been reading about is true - that several companies are close to eliminating checkout at the grocery store. Unfortunately, even if that’s true I’m sure the solution will bring it’s own problems - privacy, lost jobs, etc. But I’m frustrated enough I’m open to it.
That’s been one of my pet peeves about Target for years. A line of 20+ registers across the front of the store, and never more than two or three open. And you’d think they would have taken some of those unused registers out when they put in the self-checkout registers, but no - they jammed them in there, so that when all self-checkout registers are in use, there’s barely enough room to move through.
They’re in the process of renovating our local store. I’ll be curious to see if it is any better when they’re done, but I’m not holding my breath.
Target may be like Wal-Mart. The buildings were erected with multiple checkout lines because of the expected volume. Then they couldn’t staff many of them (didn’t pay clerks enough), so most checkouts went unused.
My local Wal-Mart “solved” the problem by building a dozen self-checkout lanes, replacing 4 standard ones. Of the standard 10 lanes remaining, only 2-3 are ever open at once. People hate the self-checkouts, but sometimes there’s just no alternative unless you want to stand in line for a half-hour. Every time I complain to a supervisor (who is standing around, watching, but not helping), she says they can’t hire enough people.
I just ran into that one myself, no more than a week or three ago, in my local Target. They’ve got four self-checkout stations, two on each side of a little mini-aisle, and if people happen to have shopping carts (as one does) at both of the front stations on either side of the mini-aisle, it’s literally impossible to squeeze by them to the two rear stations.
Grocery stores and Walmarts around here do seem to be better laid out, though.
It’s odd. Everything about a store (location, parking, advertising, merchandise selection, etc., EVERYTHING) is in place for a single purpose - to take money from a customer. That transaction is the raison d’être for the entire operation. And it’s often the most screwed up thing there is due to lack of cashiers. Makes me wonder what they actually teach in business school.
There used to be a big chain in Montreal that seemed to pride itself on having as few checkers as possible. If some of the registers had only two or three people waiting, they would close a lane to get back to their usual four or five. It is axiomatic that every dollar that goes into a register goes through a checker? (This was before self-serv checkouts.) By restricting the number of open registers, they were guaranteeing fewer dollars going into their till. I understand they wanted to reduce labor costs, but one way or other they were reducing the amount of money they were collecting. They went broke about 30 years ago. The ideal situation is no lines and no empty registers. They obviously can’t manage that, but they should aim to come as close as possible.
By the way, one of the stores we use regularly just spent 6 months undergoing total renovation and that included removing all self-serv lanes. Interesting.
Whoa, speak for yourself. I almost always use the self checkout. I zip through and am driving away while people stand in lines waiting for someone else to scan their stuff. I love, love, love self checkout.
You work for free when you walk around the store and put things in your cart. That was previously an employee’s job. You work for free when you pump your own gas or use an ATM. You work for free when you post content on a website you don’t own.
In a similar but different vein, the harkins 25-plex movie house near me is laid out in a H-shape. There is a central lobby at the crossbar of the H, with conecessions, and then half the theaters to the left in a T hallway configuration, and the others to the right in another T.
At the cross of each T is a very nice alternate concession stand, lit, and stocked (as far as I can tell), but in more than 25 years I’ve never seen it open. Not once. Not during their biggest opening day (the Phantom Menace), not on the Fridays or Saturdays I’ve been there.
When IS it open? And if it never is, why is it there?
Ok, this one is simple–the architect sold the idea to the owners, or they went to a convention and saw the idea and decided to incorporate it in the new theater.
Then they discovered they have to pay the staff. And the only time they opened the baby popcorn stands, the lines screwed up getting the theaters emptied, which screwed up getting the next herd of cattle in their seats.
In short, there was no profit there.
I once got chewed out by an owner for not having many ushers. I pointed to the ticket taker and told the owner, “He costs you money”, then I turned to the herd behind the concession stand (which now included all the ushers, unbeknownst to him) and said “And they MAKE you money”.
I swear that owner was dumb enough to play lightsabers with a very used Xenon bulb…
I’m with you. Get those sullen cashiers outta my way!
The Raley’s grocery store I go to will open all their check stands. Christmas, Thanksgiving and yesterday. Hoo boy, was it busy.
The Target here made lots of room around their self check stands.
The Home Depot just put in some very nice self check stands. They have the hand held scanner so you don’t have to schlep that heavy bag of potting mix or whatever out of your cart. The interface is so easy and clear, too.