Single Line Queuing Method for Cashiers
The single queue for cashiers starts at the end of the long line of cashiers, and winds its way around the perimeter of the store. Often times the queue is so long that it covers near have the perimeter wall of the store, resulting in a 30 minute or longer queue. This added risk of exposure to the coronavirus seems unacceptable to me, so I have often dropped my groceries and abandoned my grocery trip, leaving empty handed.
Problem #1: Customers look down the long line of cashiers
The line of cashiers is quite long, maybe 15m. When a cashier is free the customer cannot see this. Once called, the customer must walk down to the cashier, which can take a lot of time, especially with the elderly. This problem can be somewhat mitigated with a flashing light that the cashier can use to signal they are free. Once the cashiers were using the public address system to announce that they were free. Sometimes someone who works at the store would direct traffic to an open cashier.
Problem #2: Cashiers now regulate their work flow speed
While this is beneficial to the cashier, who is usually overworked and pressured by the customer queue, cashiers are not able to self-regulate their work. This results in a marked deceleration of the checkout process. The cashier checks someone out, then waits until the customer has removed and packed away all items from the conveyor belt. This wait can be quite long. Only then will the cashier signal to the next customer they are free. The cashier then must need to wait until the customer walks up to the cash register. This can be quite a long delay if the cashier is far from the front of the single line queue, and/or the customer is elderly and walks slowly. The cashier then must wait for the customer to put their items on the conveyor belt. Again, for a large load of groceries or an elderly customer, this can take a significantly long time.
Problem #3: There is no Express checkout anymore
Previously for people with fewer than 8 items, there was an express checkout. Now with the single line queue customers with 4 or 40 items must join the same queue and wait the same amount of time. This discriminates against those shoppers with few items, such as those with small families and the elderly. Shopping trips take significantly longer.
Problem #4 The Single Queue blocks access to the tall refrigerated section of the store
People who wish to buy refrigerated products will need to interrupt the long queue. Most shoppers will not ask other customers to step aside, and more so during a pandemic, where we are social distancing at 2m. Further, these refrigerated units use electricity to run and cool the products that are not selling.
Problem #5: Shopping trip takes significantly longer overall
Even if you arrive early right after store open, the cashier queue can be quite long. This longer time for a grocery trip is a significant discouragement from shopping at NoFrills. The longer you are at a grocery store, the more risk you take in exposure to the CoVid-19 virus. This is especially true for the elderly, who usually walk slower and buy fewer items during their shopping trip.
Problem #6: No other grocery chain uses a single line cashier queue
Further, all other grocery chains continue to use the more traditional grocery chain cashier queue, where there are individual lines for each cashier. The traditional queue is self-evident, easy to understand, we’ve been doing it for the last 80 years, and people are used to it. There is no competitive advantage of the single queue cashier’s queue, and there are significant costs to the customer and the store.