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26 Lanes - 2 Open

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Go to any large retail outlet. They have multiple checkout lanes. Let's use my local Target for example. Saturday late afternoon - just 8 days prior to Christmas - 26 lanes, 2 open. How could this be? Why go to the expense of building all those lanes with little conveyors & cash registers - then stock them with bags - and not use them? Is there a time this retailer feels they might be busy enough to open all 26? If it's not 8 days prior to Christmas - when would this magic 26 lane day be? Question is, was this Target busy? Yes. The 2 lanes that were open had shoppers 10 deep. The lines stretched out and to the side. Management finally noticed and sent in a backup. A singular backup. One person to open one more lane. This puts their open checkout percentage to a staggering 14%. This then creates the rush for the open register. The people that bolt the soonest make the new line, often coming from deep in the previous lines. People should be checked in the order they arrive at the checkouts - the way retailers open new lanes creates a rush and hard feelings between shoppers. 26 lanes. Where are the checkers? I knew before I went shopping. They aren't even at the store. They are home on a day off. Those that are on the property - are elsewhere in the store, stocking, straightening up or cleaning. Companies are doing more with less. It's business in 2011. These retail employees aren't doing anything wrong. They're trained to do what they're told. They'd head to the front to check out customers if they were told to do so. But they won't be - ever. The 26 lanes will not be open all at once ever again.

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