Sunday, October 25, 2009

What's Missing at Supermarkets?

Supermarkets have become a scientifically formulated masterpiece in the art of getting more people to spend more money.

Aisles are arranged in such a way that you are directed past oodles of products you may never need, just to get a bottle of milk. But perhaps, just perhaps, you see something that you might like, and you decide to buy it, even though that's not what you came to the store for.

Endcaps promote products to seem like they're on sale, even though they may not be; but the sheer appeal of that endcap entices shoppers to at least take a look, and at most buy 10 whatever it is that's being promoted.

Cheaper versions of a particular item are often placed on the bottom shelf where people don't look as frequently, and instead go for the higher priced item in the middle.

And so on and so forth.

But I think that anybody who has ever shopped at a supermarket on a Sunday morning will tell you about how aggravating it is to check out and pay for all this food you've dumped in your cart. There are 10 check out lines that are up and running, but each line has six people in it and each person has a cart full of Doritos, string cheese, and marshmallows that all need to be unloaded, scanned, bagged, and reloaded into the cart. Can't get much more inefficient.

So couldn't there be a way to make this process more efficient and build in a register right in the shopping cart? That way, you grab your box of Count Chocula, scan it, and drop it into your cart. Then, when you're finished, you roll up to the front register, pay your bill, bag your goods, and you're off.

Well, that's my simplistic, unrefined idea. Whether it's doable or not, I don't know. But the fact is that an otherwise satisfactory shopping experience can be totally destroyed by standing in line for 10 minutes just to have the honor of handing over your money to someone else. In other words, it's an aggravating way to end your pleasant morning.

Streamline the check out process, make people happy, make more money. That's my suggestion. Now go enjoy your Twinkies.

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