Business: Supermarket: Checkout
Slow Checkout Lanes   (+3, -1)  [vote for, against]
For genuine service with a smile

People try to speed up the shopping experience with express lanes and slick service. Then the same people complain that their shopping experience wasn't much fun, or that the staff were rude.

I would love a "slow lane" at my local supermarket, where the staff were encouraged to work professionally, but take enough time to ask customers about their day, and actually listen to the answer. I imagine that they would use brown paper bags rather than plastic ones, they'd smile genuinely at all times, and they'd probably hum along to the instore muzac in a cheery fashion. They'd definitely have an anecdote up their sleeve for every item sold in the supermarket.

I would also encourage a male and female "flirt lane" where the best looking staff would be stationed to cater for customers who wanted to spin lame chat-up lines while packing their bags.

This would mean that the other lanes could be run with Germanic precision, by staff who would deal with your purchasing much quicker by focussing on the job in hand, without fear of upsetting the customer.
-- Fishrat, Nov 05 2003

Cum Multis Aliis Lane http://www.halfbake...ltis_20Aliis_20Lane
Very similar. [waugsqueke, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Open All Hours
How shops used to be... [Fishrat, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

For the nice shopping experience, go to local shops instead. After you've been back twice you'll be recognised and greeted and talked to.

I like the idea of it being a supermarket option though. They are actually nearly all like this in Asda in my home town actually, very chatty.

I like the flirt line although many more check out personnel are female than male so heterosexual women and homosexual men may feel discriminated against (tough shit).

The only thing that worries me here is the reference to Germanic precision. Now, I live in germany and the one thing that is sorely lacking in the supermarkets is any kind of speed or precision (and bacon, of course). This goes for both staff and customers.

It always amazes me that a country with such an international reputation for efficiency could miss living up to it's stereotype by SO much. The trains do run on time though. Everything else takes at least twice as long and at least three times more paperwork than in the UK.
-- squeak, Nov 05 2003

And the queue for the average germanic checkout would also be more acurately labelled "Scrum" or "Queue where everyone can push in fron of you and the person behind you can ram the backs of your knees with their trolley", although that may make the sign overly large.
-- squeak, Nov 05 2003

Meanwhile, all the express lanes should be retrofitted with catapults, so that if anyone strikes up a conversation, he is immediately hurled through the air into the Slow Lane.
-- phundug, Nov 05 2003

-- squeak, Nov 05 2003

Scrumage-likeimpatientwaitingqueue, actually.

and yours? Slow examination path?!
-- squeak, Nov 05 2003

What ? No bacon in Germany ? I'm not going!
-- python, Nov 05 2003

Do they cup your plums in their hand and ask you to cough before they ring them through, UB?
-- lostdog, Nov 05 2003

[lostdog] There should be a special lane for that, too. [squeak] Would it help if I changed Germanic to Swiss? You'd need to retranslate the annos.
-- Fishrat, Nov 06 2003

[squeak] - no bacon?

When I was in Germany (west-germany, so awhile ago), assorted pork products were in everything. Canned vegetable soup had schweinefleisch in it.
-- benjamin, Nov 06 2003

[benjamin] I know it. Try getting lamb round here and they all look at you strangely like, "Wot? No pig?". It's pig, pig, pig, pig all the way. But NO bacon.

They do have stuff called speck which is like a block of very streaky, fatty bacon but proper bacon they do not have. Not usually anyway.

There is one butcher in the city that has bacon but he's quite a way out of town and you have to pre-order it. It is so unusual that when he started stocking proper bacon there was an article in the city newspaper about it.
-- squeak, Nov 06 2003

Not being an expert in swinatomy, I wonder what the Germans do with the bits which would usually be turned into bacon?

"If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?" - Peter Kaye, Comedy Genius.
-- Fishrat, Nov 06 2003

Question: why are paper bags preferable to plastic bags?
-- impudent strumpet, Nov 06 2003

It may be a UK thing, but pretty much all supermarkets here use plastic bags, and there is a nostalgia value to finding a shop which uses brown paper ones. They tend to be associated with the friendly service found in old fashioned corner shops.
Think "Open All Hours", the sitcom based in an era when - ironically - 24 hour shopping wasn't even concieved. (link)
-- Fishrat, Nov 07 2003

Fishrat, I think they mostly make salami and sausages from it.
-- goff, Nov 07 2003

ONLY TO BE READ BY THE TRULY SADISTIC AMONG US. For those supermarket owners who truly get their ya-yas from making their shoppers' lives a living and unending Hades (at least for the little while they enter the automatic doors of doom), the following idea may be of interest. First of all, set up ten checkout lanes but man only one with a real attendant. Pay for state of the art animatronic engineers to install realistic models of shoppers and employees manning the other nine checkouts. As your customers approach the check-out counters, by now duly pissed off due to the cumulative pressure of the smiling Debbie at reception, the crying twins who couldn't get their way and the husband who has buggered off to the adult magazine section letting missus get on with the shopping, the real checkout counter would be the only one seemingly available. As Madame joins the queue,in a flash, the nine automated lanes empty themselves in a matter of minutes, the staff seemingly efficient and the customers satisfied whilst the press of real customers in the working lane is halted by the employee being the BITCH QUEEN FROM HELL 2000 in disguise. As the flow of customers seeks to redirect itself to the more accessible lanes, the animatronic characters would snap viciously back into position,pushing the customers back except for the unlucky one which is mangled beyond recognition at each cycle. Nervous breakdowns, hysterical fits and angry rants would do nothing to curb the unending bloodshed in the WAL-MART FROM HELL.
-- Mistress Bling, Nov 07 2003

Uh, all wall-marts are from hell.
-- quarterbaker, Nov 07 2003

The point being that Wal-Mart bloody well owns everything else so they're all the same.
-- Mistress Bling, Nov 07 2003

This is fine until the store gets busy. Then the riots will start!!!!
-- tarby, Mar 14 2004

good lord, you have the most wonderful BLUE eyes, fishy.
-- po, May 06 2006

random, halfbakery