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September 2020
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Queueing… the great American past time

I was in Super Target the other night trying to check out at 8:30 PM. There were only two lanes open on the grocery side of the store, neither of which were express lanes. There was one register with a short line, however the light was turned off which I have always understood to mean “I am closing but I will finish checking out customer who are in line.” As I noticed this I picked another lane. I watched as three people walked up behind me they stopped at the lane with the light off but with a cashier. They looked at the light then stood in line as if to say “she can certainly take just one more person”. The cashier looked up and did not even make a face, she just continued checking out the customer. Do these people believe that the rules of the queue do not apply to them?

So after observing this same scenario over and over again as I wait in lines, I was reminded of Best Buy. Several years ago they changed their checkout arrangement to have a single queue and then as you wait in line you do not have to worry about “did I get in the fast line”, “is the person in front of me writing a check” etc. If Best Buy, which moves hundreds of people an hour through at their busiest holiday times has come up with this idea for efficiency, then why have places like Target and grocery stores not considered this approach? I think with the advent of self-check out (Target… get this concept soon please) there is little to no reason for express lanes in my opinion.

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