Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to I.Q. profile retail employees

This entry, from last summer, ties in nicely with yesterday's Walmart rant. I recommend reading it and elaborating about how you shop...

Forgive me, but I was at the local Wal-Mart late yesterday afternoon. Yes, after years of vowing that I wouldn't become a Wal-Mart shopper, I have done just that because the grocery selection in Shakopee sucks. Ever since losing our Rainbow Foods Fresh Store, the only alternative is Cub which contrary to popular belief isn't actually cheap but only presents itself as such.

So, there I was, after 20 minutes of barreling through aisles crowded with the bottom rung of society I had found my way to the checkouts. Yes, it only took me twenty minutes to shop because I actually know what I need when I go grocery shopping unlike these indecisive types who also failed their class in Shopping Cart Etiquette 101 (hug the shelves with your cart and keep moving, fuckers).

The checkouts at Wal-Mart are an adventure. There is always at least one of the Shakopee store's eight express lanes open but these are reserved for folks with less than twenty items. Never mind the fact that the 15 or so people waiting might have a collective I.Q. of 12 based on their overflowing shopping carts containing hundreds of items each.

Another popular choice is the long lines at the self-checkouts. These are not even an option for me because the people ahead of me in the queue line can never manage to successfully scan and bag two items in succession, much less their entire cart-o-crap and then there's the whole matter of a paycheck. They don't pay me to scan and bag my own crap so it's a no go Wally.

That leaves me with the standard checkouts. I believe that the Shakopee Super Wal-Mart is home to no less than 36 checkouts. At peak times, such as 5:10 PM on a Wednesday afternoon, six of them can be found open. Of course this 1:6 ratio isn't entirely pathetic. It could be a 1:12 ratio. The big problem here is that these shoppers, as inbred as the outwardly appear, know how to fan out. They migrate to the "hard goods" side of the checkouts with their carts full of ice cream and juice boxes and stack up eight people deep.

That leaves me scoping out the situation. This is where my patented "checkout employee I.Q. profiling method" is trotted out.

If said checker is sloppily dressed, I pass. If said checker breathing heavily, wedged precariously in the checker cubicle and can be smelled from a distance of ten-plus yards, I pass. What I truly seek out is that one checker who is a fucking machine. The person who is faster than the electronic beeps coming from their register.

Even entering a longer line here will net you a shorter wait time. If Sally the SUV driving Soccer Mom has four screaming children in tow and a cart full of everything from Golden Delicious Apples to zip-up diapers, you still stand to win.

And win I did. This girl running her checkout with the utmost precision and speed rocketed through my purchases. She dragged things across the scanner with fluid precision and bagged them effortlessly. She conversed with me, asked about my day, mentioned her child and husband and I think she even told me her blood type. This girl was good.

Sadly, this interaction at the checkout stand was the high point of my day to that point. And it was at Wal-Mart to boot. I feel dirty having confessed this experience. I still loathe the local shopping 'scene' but has Wal-Mart stepped up their game?

Speaking of stepping up the game, check out the ever-increasing quality of photos from across Minnesota at MinnPics.


Beth said...

I guess I ma on the bottom rung, cuz I shop at Walmart all. the. freakin. time. I cam't help myself. I've tried to stop...but I just can't. I think it's the smell. There is a subway inside my walmart....and damn, that stuff smelss good.

spleeness said...

I love it! Brilliant. Now I hadn't realized how important it was to avoid clerks who breathe heavy but suddenly I understand everything instantly.

Bill Roehl said...

I seriously about shit trying to hold back my laughter as I was reading this on the bus yesterday.

Great stuff sornie!

Pia K said...

As a visitor in US some years ago I admit I did find Walmart fascinating, both because things being so darn cheap (fill those suitcases) and the clientel who shopped there. And oh yes, the average IQ of the cashiers was rather intriguing too, I totally get your point here. Great read:)