i hate supermarkets with a passion. most people are totally lacking in common sense when it comes to maneuvering through this maze.
you’ve seen them: the shoppers that stop at will. normally in the middle of the aisle. and always without warning.
some try, possibly subconsciously, to move to the side, but then negate any such attempt by reaching for an item on the opposite shelf. often while still holding on to the trolley’s handlebar. gotta make sure no-one steals my trolley!
or those laggards that walk aimlessly through the aisles, oh-so-slowly, their eyes searching for that elusive product. gotta keep moving, but gotta find the ear-buds… as though they would lose their spot in some imaginary queue if they pulled over to the left, parked their trolley, and could then searched for the specific ear-buds they wanted.
or the “shoppers” who bump into a friend in the chips & pretzels aisle. the one who is coming to the braai for which they are both purchasing things. the one with whom they now need to have a good catch up – both with hands on their side-by-side trolleys, completely oblivious to the other members of the universe wanting to pass by the pretzels. and how’s your mom? is she coming this afternoon too?
on saturday mornings the last criminal is usually accompanied by a spouse, at least one child and often a grand parent too. this makes passing by the pretzels even more challenging, as you need to compete with a sticky fingered child demanding the pink cooldrink, and a dozy grandparent wondering where they are.
while the quickest way to deal with these cretins might be to summarily shoot mid-aisle-stoppers on the spot, this is not only politically incorrect, but may also be traumatic for those witnesses trying to sneak 12 items into a 10-items-or-less-check-out. it will also necessitate more “cleaners to aisle nine” which supermarket chains can ill afford in these economic times.
no, the supermarkets have decided that as of 1 april 2009, all shoppers will need to get a ‘shoppers license’. the lesson and test for this license will be offered at all major supermarkets from that date, and training will be done on-site.
potential shoppers will be taken into a training room with empty aisles in them, and be shown how it is beneficial to them if the shopper ahead stays on the left hand side of the aisle. they will be shown where to stop if they want to examine products on a shelf. they will be shown that leaving a fair distance to the trolley in front is a good thing. slow learners will have trolleys nudged into their heels to make this point more clearly.
those candidates with a valid driver’s licence will find this course easiest, as it is based on the common sense rules of the road.
potential shoppers will also be taught how to distinguish 10 items in a trolley and 10 types of items in a trolley. in extreme cases, basic counting will be taught to potential customers too.
on successful completion of the course, which has a test portion to it as well, shoppers are issued with a license, renewable every 6 months or 24 visits (whichever comes sooner).
they will then be allowed into the store to shop at will. there will be peer reviewers in-store to assist with minor behavioural modifications during the first 5 visits.
- should a shopper be caught blocking the aisles or walking unnecessarily slowly, they will be removed assisted to a trolley parking area in store and told to encouraged to leave the trolley there, and fetch items from the aisles and bring them back to the trolley. once they have all their items, one of the trolley guards will escort them to the nearest till.
- should a shopper attempt to smuggle 23 items through the 10-items-or-less check-out, they will be whisked away to the trainee check-out line. at these checkout lines, only 1 item or less is allowed per shopper. in order for the trainee cashiers and trainee packers to practice the process of greeting, offering a bag, scanning the item, pressing the total button for a final price, taking payment, packing a bag and saying good bye with a smile – these check-outs do away with unnecessary scanning in between practicing the important bits.
shoppers will also be happy to know that supermarkets will be introducing ‘parent-friendly’ check-out aisles. these are devoid of any brightly-coloured or sweet-tasting goods of any sort. they will feature whole-wheat flour or canned tuna (in water, not oil) on a weekly rotation.
we trust that you will be patient with the initial shopper-accreditation process, and look forward to a more pleasant shopping experience after april the first.