Posted 23 May 2008 - 11:16 AM
Interesting analysis of the supermarket industry guys. I used to work for a supermarket in high school and part of college, and I was by far the fastest cashier in my checkout department (I ended up winning some big money once the company started doing "competitions" for speed and customer service at the end of my tenure).
I know I got a lot of flack from my fellow employees for working so quickly. It was a two-sided thing for me, for one, it impressed my bosses, which I suppose was a bit of a suck-up move, but the more impressed they were with me, the more hours I got. It also was great to have a lot of return customers know me and come through my line each time they came because they knew I was working about 3x as fast as anyone else.
The downside of this of course is that my co-workers would constantly question me as to why I would work so fast when I was getting paid the same. I tried to explain to them that it's not the point, that lots of people get paid the same thing to do the same job as someone else but do more or less work. I tried to keep my level of speed and consistency as high as possible regardless of how much I was getting paid.
Probably the most upsetting thing to me was getting thrown in the express lane (10 items or less). The problem with express, which is universally despised by cashiers, is that most people bring 30+ Items, and since you're bagging and scanning yourself, you have to do a lot more work, and you end up doing about 3x as many sales as the regular cashier due to the smaller size of the orders. My bosses would constantly put me on express BECAUSE I was the fastest cashier, despite the fact I despised it, and could move the larger orders far quicker if I had a bagger assisting me.
When I confronted my managers at the time about it, they stated that someone as fast as me had to be put on the express register every shift. So I went ahead and slowed down as slow as humanly possible as Cheapy described, and the next week was allowed to move back to the regular registers because my productivity numbers had dropped to among the worst on the front end.
This unfortunately is a common practice among most supermarket chains, and the best piece of advice I can give people is to never use an "express lane" unless the store is getting "slammed" (3+ people waiting in line at a register), the employees there are usually disgruntled and unhappy about their situation, because of the way who is going to work there is determined. In other words, the best cashiers often felt they were being "punished" for doing good work instead of getting a raise by getting thrown to the crappy express registers.
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