Analysis: Blazing Through the Grocery Checkout

For years, the science of getting through a grocery store checkout line has fascinated me.  Surely, there is something more to it than merely getting lucky.

As I approach the bank of checkout stands, I am not only looking at the number of customers in line, but how much stuff they have their cart.   But the count of customers and amount of items do not tell the whole story, with a third variable as the speed of the checkout clerk.  I have been in lines where the, so called, “express lane” has taken 3 times longer to get through despite fewer customers and fewer items because the clerk was struggling with scanning items and counting cash.

When customer and checker become one, in the case of automated checkout stands, things get really interesting. Put the customer in charge of finding bar codes, typing in produce codes and packing their own bags and the speed of a line can vary greatly from minute to minute.  Such variation can lead to a poor customer experience. Just fascinating stuff.

For a more scientific look choosing the fastest grocery store line Simply Stated’s post, The Efficiency of Grocery Store Checkout Lanes.