Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A supermarket that treats time as a resource

Earlier today I was picking up some items at the discount Aldi supermarket when I had a great, brief conversation with the cashier.

At most, I've seen three employees on duty at the same time at Aldi, and often time's I only see one: The cashier. There's usually only one check-out lane open and a lot of the time there's a line, but it moves fast.

One way they keep the line moving quickly is keeping an empty cart next to the register. The cashier scans the items and places them directly in the cart, unbagged. If a customer has a cart full of items, he loads them in the existing cart and replaces it with the customer's empty cart.

He said they are timed and have to move things quicker than other supermarkets. He also said that a lot of customers don't get why they usually only have one register open and let a line form. He said that waiting in line is the price on pays at Aldi for the lower prices.

Bingo. That's thinking like an economist. I would have liked to talk to him more, but there was another customer behind me and I had to get out of the way.

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