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billvon

A modest proposal - fixing the problem of intolerant grocery stores

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At the local grocery store I usually go to there's a line for ten items or less. And I am usually in that line, since my role is to get anything that we are about to run out of - milk, orange juice, bread, diapers. And usually I can get out of there with five or six things, which also is about what I can fit on the bike.

However, I've noticed that the 'ten items or less' thing is more of a guideline than a rule. I once watched someone buy 26 things in that lane, for example. (And yes, I counted them given that I had nothing better to do.) Another shopper bought 17, but was questioned by the cashier as to why she had so many in the 10 and under lane. She explained that since three of them were the same (bags of cookies) they should not be counted as three, but as one - and therefore it was OK.

Recently I was in NY and they took a rather innovative approach to this. "About six items or less," stated the sign. So perhaps 26 would be "about six" in their system - and you could surely make that argument if you compare it to, say, a 5000 item purchase.

But why stop there, I wondered? Why not end numerical discrimination once and for all, almost? I hereby propose my new mostly Non-Numerically-Discriminatory (mNND) checkout policy.

Under this policy, all lanes are ten items or less (NND.) That little NND at the end means non numerically discriminatory. Perhaps you feel that the number should be 11 - well, come right on up. Perhaps you feel that you have 26 items, but three are the same, so that brings you to under 10. No worries! No elitist brainiac is going to tell you your math doesn't work, or that their number is better than yours. Or maybe you have a foreign check made out to your sister and you forgot your ID. Come on by! The friendly cashier will chat with you as you rifle through your pockets and upend your purse in search of something to solve her problem.

For all you number-loving anumerancy-intolerant nerds, there are two additional aisles. These will have large red warning signs to protect normal people from unwittingly getting in a line that may discriminate against their numeric beliefs.

The first additional lane is ten items or less (ND.) The ND, in this case, stands for numerically discriminatory. An intolerant, non-politically-correct cashier will man this line, and may on occasion count things. The warning sign will prevent any unwitting customer from being exposed to his prejudice.

The second additional lane is ten items or less (NDII.) This stands for "numerically discriminatory, issue intolerant." Have 26 things to check out? You may be subject to unfair discrimination. Have a book of food stamps from Argentina that you want to use? You may discover the cashier is intolerant of your food-assistance heritage, and may want to choose another line. Not really sure how much money is available on your debit card, and your cash is in the car? Save yourself the hassle of arguing about it with a mean, uptight cashier.

By this simple change in line signage, we can mitigate these critical problems that we face as a society, and ensure a better future for all - numerically flexible or not.

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Hi Bill,

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we can mitigate these critical problems



Nah, you cannot fix stupid.

I really liked this post. And, I am with you; I would never go into a '10 items or less' line if I had more than 10 items.

My most-used grocery store gave up on the 'x item or less' and now offer multiple DIY scanners; which I always use.

Just my $0.02 on this,

Jerry Baumchen

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JerryBaumchen


My most-used grocery store gave up on the 'x item or less' and now offer multiple DIY scanners; which I always use.



Best change my local King Soopers (part of Kroger) ever made.
I never use the manned checkout lanes any more.
"There are only three things of value: younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles" - Arthur Jones.

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ryoder

***
My most-used grocery store gave up on the 'x item or less' and now offer multiple DIY scanners; which I always use.



Best change my local King Soopers (part of Kroger) ever made.
I never use the manned checkout lanes any more.

Ah, but there are 12 items or less self scanners and unlimited self scanners. And people still can't count. What truly annoys me is that for much of the day they have NO checkers on duty. Sometimes with a cart full I just don't feel like bagging my own.

Of course then we have the folks that seem truly surprised when asked, either by a computer or by a live person, to pay for their purchases (or I guess potential purchases). A surprised look on their face, trying to pull their purse from their back, hunting for their pocket book, trying to get their wallet out of their pocket, etc. This after standing there and watching the checker or chatting to the bagger for 4 or 5 minutes. Or can't figure out that the scanner will NOT read anything while outlined in red no matter how many times they turn it.

It's an art finding the line with the couple that has one bagging (sometimes well trained kids) while the other scans and pays.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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JerryBaumchen

Hi Robert,

Quote

King Soopers (part of Kroger)



Mine are called Fred Meyers; and they are now part of Kroger.

And yes, best move ever.

Jerry Baumchen



Interesting that the major mid west regional competitor for Walmart is Meijer's (pronounced Meyer), started by Fred Meijer in Grand Rapids. Also a major philanthropist. Or course I throw up a little in my mouth when I have to go to the Van Andel Arena or the Devos Hall in Grand Rapids, being those two namesakes started Amway. And yes it's that Betsy Devos.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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ryoder

***
My most-used grocery store gave up on the 'x item or less' and now offer multiple DIY scanners; which I always use.



Best change my local King Soopers (part of Kroger) ever made.
I never use the manned checkout lanes any more.

When I'm at Krogers I'll be going past the "x items or fewer line" towards the regular lanes and have the clerk, or one of the supervisors hovering nearby, tell me to go ahead because there is nobody in the line anyway. I always feel like I'm being put on the spot. It's rude to say no, but I know that about the time I'm halfway rang out some sanctimonious asshole with way too much time on their hands is going to come by and wonder why I can't count. And yes, without fail, it happens. I have to either stand their and explain why I'm being checked out like a child explaining himself to an adult or just ignore them. And not once have I had a clerk speak up about it. They need to have a light they can turn off for instances like that.

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councilman24


Interesting that the major mid west regional competitor for Walmart is Meijer's (pronounced Meyer), started by Fred Meijer in Grand Rapids. Also a major philanthropist. Or course I throw up a little in my mouth when I have to go to the Van Andel Arena or the Devos Hall in Grand Rapids, being those two namesakes started Amway. And yes it's that Betsy Devos.



Oh, for chrissake!
I didn't know she was part of the Amway scam-family.:S
"There are only three things of value: younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles" - Arthur Jones.

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"Ah, but there are 12 items or less self scanners and unlimited self scanners. And people still can't count. What truly annoys me is that for much of the day they have NO checkers on duty. Sometimes with a cart full I just don't feel like bagging my own"

We had gone to Nashville to see a live Rifftrax show and afterwards we were more in the mood for grocery cold plate than restaurant stuff. I was in a line in Krogers when the clerk stopped and announced that she was now off work. "ok, where are the other clerks." There were none, after 11pm you HAVE to use the scanners.
When the Sav-A-Lot opened in Athens their policy was that the customer had to do all of their own bagging. Well, mostly boxing, they had empty boxes piled up by the checkout lines. This was supposed to somehow save time and money but waiting forever five back in a row while an 85 year old woman tried to pack up all of her stuff while a young healthy clerk stood there with his arms folded and a grin on his face tore it for me and I never went back. It seemed like the sort of policy that you follow when it saves time but no. Bag 'em yourself and we'll wait if need be. Finally a few people who were close enough helped her and ruined the clerk's fun.

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ryoder

***
Interesting that the major mid west regional competitor for Walmart is Meijer's (pronounced Meyer), started by Fred Meijer in Grand Rapids. Also a major philanthropist. Or course I throw up a little in my mouth when I have to go to the Van Andel Arena or the Devos Hall in Grand Rapids, being those two namesakes started Amway. And yes it's that Betsy Devos.



Oh, for chrissake!
I didn't know she was part of the Amway scam-family.:S

Wait, is all of this connected to Meiers? Please say no, I really like Meijers. They're expensive but a nice alternative now and then, especially since the closest one to us is about sixty miles. There's one right next to the airport in Lancaster and when the winds were right we'd be in freefall right over them. Then at the end of a winter's day of jumping I'd go over to their food tables area and have a cup of coffee and donut as I warmed up under where we'd been jumping.

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Hi Terry,

Quote

12 items or less self scanners and unlimited self scanners



At my local Freddies there are only unlimited self-scanners. And there are 12 stations at my closest store.

Quote

NO checkers on duty



Freddies always has at least one employee available to service any problem customers have.

You should move out west,

Jerry Baumchen

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JerryBaumchen

Hi Robert,

Quote

King Soopers (part of Kroger)



Mine are called Fred Meyers; and they are now part of Kroger.

And yes, best move ever.

Jerry Baumchen



They're, uh, QFC here in Seattle. Goggling Google tells me Kroger also operates locally as Fred Meyer.

I also use self check-out wherever possible. Everything works essentially the same as it did when I worked in a grocery store many years ago. I just prefer not to speak if I can get through the transaction without doing so.

I also only rarely use voice-activated (AI) assistants. (I occasionally ask Siri about the weather.) I'd be inclined to buy an Apple Watch if it came with a touch-based app that gave me remote control to my HomePod, no matter the device from which it's playing.
Math tutoring available. Only $6! per hour! First lesson: Factorials!

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Bob_Church

******
Interesting that the major mid west regional competitor for Walmart is Meijer's (pronounced Meyer), started by Fred Meijer in Grand Rapids. Also a major philanthropist. Or course I throw up a little in my mouth when I have to go to the Van Andel Arena or the Devos Hall in Grand Rapids, being those two namesakes started Amway. And yes it's that Betsy Devos.



Oh, for chrissake!
I didn't know she was part of the Amway scam-family.:S

Wait, is all of this connected to Meiers? Please say no, I really like Meijers. They're expensive but a nice alternative now and then, especially since the closest one to us is about sixty miles. There's one right next to the airport in Lancaster and when the winds were right we'd be in freefall right over them. Then at the end of a winter's day of jumping I'd go over to their food tables area and have a cup of coffee and donut as I warmed up under where we'd been jumping.

No Fred was a good guy from what I know. Just happened to be in the same town as Amway and the Amway Grand Hotel downtown. Fred has the Fredrick Meijer Botanical Gardens with a very large statuary collection outside and exceptional gardens both in and outdoor. He had a second Michalangelo's horse actually cast. I thought the story was he funded both and had to do two. One for him in the gardens and on for Italy (Milan.)

The American Horse
The American Horse at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The second full-size cast of Nina Akamu's design became known as The American Horse, which was commissioned by philanthropist Frederik Meijer and was placed at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, a botanical garden and sculpture park in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 7, 1999.[8]

I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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Bob_Church


When the Sav-A-Lot opened in Athens their policy was that the customer had to do all of their own bagging.



Oh no, the horror! Wait... What?! Over here in Europe we NEVER have anyone for "bagging", which honestly sounds like a pretty sexual act (dirty mind?).

You roll your cart up to the conveyer, unload all of it yourself onto the conveyer, the cashier grabs each item and swipes it across the scanner, and you pick it up at the other end and put it in a bag/box/your cart.

Years ago there would be plastic bags provided you could grab and stuff everything in, but since ~2010 you're expected to bring your own bags (environmentally friendly), and 99% of the customers just toss everything back into the cart and put it in bags when you load it into the car.

Most stores gave up on the 10 items rule a long time ago, the larger ones now have self scanning available, although if the self checkout line (which is still manned by at least one cashier per 2-3 stations, who handles payment and performs random cart checks as instructed by the automatic cash register) is too busy, you can just take your scanner and give it to a cashier in a normal checkout and have them handle payment.

Thank god for collect&go options. Order groceries online, drive up to the store, park in predesignated spots right next to the exit, pick up the prepared boxes with all your groceries and be in and out in under 10 minutes. Added bonus: you didn't buy 15 things you don't need but are going to eat anyway because it looked yummy.

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massis

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When the Sav-A-Lot opened in Athens their policy was that the customer had to do all of their own bagging.



Oh no, the horror! Wait... What?! Over here in Europe we NEVER have anyone for "bagging", which honestly sounds like a pretty sexual act (dirty mind?).

You roll your cart up to the conveyer, unload all of it yourself onto the conveyer, the cashier grabs each item and swipes it across the scanner, and you pick it up at the other end and put it in a bag/box/your cart.

Years ago there would be plastic bags provided you could grab and stuff everything in, but since ~2010 you're expected to bring your own bags (environmentally friendly), and 99% of the customers just toss everything back into the cart and put it in bags when you load it into the car.

Most stores gave up on the 10 items rule a long time ago, the larger ones now have self scanning available, although if the self checkout line (which is still manned by at least one cashier per 2-3 stations, who handles payment and performs random cart checks as instructed by the automatic cash register) is too busy, you can just take your scanner and give it to a cashier in a normal checkout and have them handle payment.

Thank god for collect&go options. Order groceries online, drive up to the store, park in predesignated spots right next to the exit, pick up the prepared boxes with all your groceries and be in and out in under 10 minutes. Added bonus: you didn't buy 15 things you don't need but are going to eat anyway because it looked yummy.


I'm sure it was an accident, maybe a new keyboard, that made you cut the actual POINT to my post. Or are we to assume that 'over there in Europe' that if someone needs help they won't get it? I find that hard to believe.

"but waiting forever five back in a row while an 85 year old woman tried to pack up all of her stuff while a young healthy clerk stood there with his arms folded and a grin on his face tore it for me"

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>My most-used grocery store gave up on the 'x item or less' and now offer multiple
>DIY scanners; which I always use.

They have these more and more often around here, and I am kind of conflicted about them. They are great when you are at Home Depot and have six bolts you need to buy; the lines are always short. But that's another four people out of work at Home Depot, and there's some value in knowing the people who work at the local store.

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billvon

But that's another four people out of work at Home Depot, and there's some value in knowing the people who work at the local store.



I'm not sure that's usually the case. The stands are poorly designed from an ergonomic standpoint. Also, shoppers probably aren't expected to check themselves out as quickly and efficiently as an employee. So let's say at least two self-checkout stands opened per cashier operated lane closed, just to keep the typical line lengths from growing.

As you noted, the lines are usually short. That suggests to me they're probably adding more than two self-checkout stands per cashier lane closed. Three? Four? At that point, it's starting to look like a cashier on each shift is switching from operating a single register to supervising 3-4 shoppers checking themselves out.

Of course, it's entirely plausible that that person supervising 4-6 self-checkout stands is actually supervising those stands, plus another 8-10 employees, whereas before the stands the supervisor had 9-12 employees to monitor for the same customer volume and revenue.

Still, I don't think it's implausible that some store managers use them primarily as a way to provide something nearly all customers appreciate, shorter lines, without increasing the labor budget relative to the sales forecast.
Math tutoring available. Only $6! per hour! First lesson: Factorials!

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Still, I don't think it's implausible that some store managers use them primarily as a way to provide something nearly all customers appreciate, shorter lines, without increasing the labor budget relative to the sales forecast.


Oh, I think they use it to significantly DECREASE the labor budget.

At the local Home Depot, they went from regularly staffing ~5 registers to regularly staffing ~2, with an additional one person watching over the 4 automated checkout lanes. So more lanes (happier customers, shorter lines) and 2 fewer employees (savings of $45,000 a year.)

BTW when they first opened, there were indeed lots of headaches; they needed at least 2, sometimes 3, employees to handle the 4 self-check lanes because no one could operate them smoothly. But people seemed to learn, and now the 1 person covering the 4 checkouts spends more time idle than she does helping people.

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Bob_Church


I'm sure it was an accident, maybe a new keyboard, that made you cut the actual POINT to my post. Or are we to assume that 'over there in Europe' that if someone needs help they won't get it? I find that hard to believe.

"but waiting forever five back in a row while an 85 year old woman tried to pack up all of her stuff while a young healthy clerk stood there with his arms folded and a grin on his face tore it for me"



No actually it wasn't. Waiting 5 back in a row with an 85 year old trying to pack her stuff is why I don't go grocery shopping on saturday afternoon anymore.
Especially since once she's packed it all in, she'll go counting out her pennies one by one, asking the cashier what value each one is untill she has way too much and then the clerk just takes what was actually needed.

A pretty common sight to be honest. And I've never seen the cashier get up from behind the counter, walk around and help them pack.

I do my groceries saturday morning or friday throughout the day if at all possible. If not I'll order collect & go.

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Manned - 12 items or less - check-outs provide employment for "socially-challenged" staff. Just put the OCD or control-freaks on those lines.
The OCD kid checks 12 items, asks for cash and tips the remaining items into a "re-shelf" cart. "next customer please."

Meanwhile, the Nazi, control-freak checks 12 times, then loudly and angrily berates the numerically-challenged customer. On his days off, he volunteers as a drill sergeant for the local neo-Nazi skin-heads.
Hah!
Hah!

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billvon

>My most-used grocery store gave up on the 'x item or less' and now offer multiple
>DIY scanners; which I always use.

They have these more and more often around here, and I am kind of conflicted about them. They are great when you are at Home Depot and have six bolts you need to buy; the lines are always short. But that's another four people out of work at Home Depot, and there's some value in knowing the people who work at the local store.



I don’t like using them, as I feel they take away jobs. Mostly the checkout staff locally are school leavers who struggle to find other employment and I like to see them kept engaged.

I read an article a little while ago where some stores were starting to move away from self service due to much higher theft. People scanning cheaper goods, not scanning etc. The comments on the article were telling, a number of people felt justified in ‘paying’ themselves for doing the checkout with a free bag of carrots or similar low value item.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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jumpwally

I refuse to use DIY scanners,,,they eliminate jobs.



I only use them when I have a few items, and the lines at the manned cashier lines are long.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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