Checkout line analysis

February 11, 2009

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Many people choose their checkout line based on how many people are in line. This may give you a rough idea of how long it will take to check out, but if you want to be an expert line analyzer, use these handy tips:

  1. Lucky 13: Your first glance should be to aisle 13. My wife thought I was crazy when I first mentioned this, but in my experience, the line is often shorter. Triskaidekaphobics (and there are more of them than you may think) will avoid the line.
  2. Hang out with the guys: Single guys check out quickly. They tend to have fewer items, their items tend to be easier to scan (more frozen pizza and fewer produce items), and they don’t argue as much about price. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a 21 year old guy quibble about whether the price of an item was $1.49 or $1.09?
  3. Houston, we have a problem: Avoid obvious problem situations. A mom (or dad) with 3 crying kids is probably not going to break the world record for checkout speed. An underage cashier combined with a beer purchase necessitates a call to a manager to OK the sale (in at least some states). It’s not just the number of items that slow things down.
  4. Super Cashier: Cashiers are not carbon copies. Does the cashier appear to be easily distracted, or are they very efficient? Our local Target had a very efficient and knowledgeable cashier. Unfortunately, she was moved (promoted?) to the returns area.

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