I imagine it is safe to say that at one time or another we all find ourselves shopping in a large retail outlet. This can sometimes be an unnecessarily annoying experience. So I have put together a few rules that retailers should follow to make their clients, us, happier and therefore more likely to spend.
Rule One: Never have closed check-outs when lines exist at open check-outs
I find it exceedingly irksome to arrive at the check-outs with my merchandise to find only a handful of them open and a whole bunch closed. If a store is doing well enough that even with all check-outs open lines still exists then so be it. Congratulations. But never should customers have to wait in line at the three open check-outs while eight others remain closed.
Rule Two: Easy and accurate price checking
Has this ever happened to you? You select a product from a shelf or rack displaying a 50% off sign, you wait in line because there are only two check-outs open (see Rule One above), only to be told the item is not on sale, that someone must have placed it where it should not have been. Of course you had no way of knowing this, and in fairness retailers cannot control customers who put things back in the wrong place. However it is incumbent upon stores to place and clearly mark scanners that allow customers to check the actual price without waiting in line (did I mention Rule One?).
Rule Three: Have one check-out solely for credit card and debit purchases
Just one check-out designated no cash, no coupons, no flyers, and, ideally no loyalty cards. If I could only have back the time I have wasted in line while someone ahead was going through their pockets counting pennies, nickels and dimes. Then producing coupons that the clerk has to read and check against the purchase. Good Lord get on with it! How convenient to have one line with only electronic payments. Of course I realize there will be those who will have banking problems that will cause delays, but on balance I think it will work out.
Rule Four: Check-out police
Yep. I mean it. There is a need for retailers to provide staff to police shoppers who try to cut lines, sneak 12 items, or more, through the ten item express check-out (and yes those items you add while in line count!), or who engross themselves reading gossip magazines when they should be placing their products on the conveyor belt to be scanned.
Rule Five: Deter ‘inline’ shopping
While online shopping is both convenient and often less expensive, inline shoppers must be dealt with harshly by the Check-Out Police (see Rule Four). Inline shoppers are those folks who shop in pairs; one person gets in line with the cart while the other goes about the actual shopping, bringing items back to the cart. This multitasking just isn’t cricket. I am sure we have all had the experience of being in line and remembering one important item that we forgot and dashing back to get it. One forgotten item, not an entire shopping list.
I believe that if these five rules are implemented the shopping experience will become a wee bit more palatable. One last suggestion for shoppers: if you are not adept at the self check-out, please give it a miss.