Today, shopping in large stores is different from shopping in specialty shops, or small stores. In large stores, there are hundreds of items from which to choose. Large super markets have aisles devoted to many varieties of the same product. Cereal, baking, bread, and laundry detergent are just a few of these products having their own aisle. The store can accommodate more than one variety of an item, having so many selections.
Large stores also have more than one checkout lane. In fact many large stores have 20+ lanes, and some even have self-checkout lanes. Stores have everything to make shopping more convenient for the customer, but they are only part of the shopping experience. The customer is the other part of the shopping experience, and can help make it enjoyable, or frustrating. Here are 10 ways in which the customer can make shopping more enjoyable for everyone, including themselves.
1. Upon entering the store a shopper obtains a shopping cart. It sounds simple, but in a large store, it can be confusing and a problem for the many shoppers around them. There are others trying to enter the store, and there are those who have completed shopping, and are now leaving the store. Some shoppers obtain a cart, then without moving to the side, stop right in front of others, to organize their personal items. If a shopper gathers their cart, and stays to one side until they have organized their personal items, others can enter and leave without difficulty.
2. Visiting acquaintances can be an enjoyable experience, if we just take a moment to consider other shoppers. It seems that there are different cultures in different stores, but as we go about our shopping, we sometimes meet friends we haven’t seen for some time. There may be an exchange of, “Wow, have your children grown!” Another greeting may be, “I haven’t seen you for quite a while.” Whatever the greeting, it is especially more pleasant for everyone, if we aren’t blocking the aisles for other shoppers. A courteous shopper will say hi, and then move to the side and continue their conversation. This allows other shoppers to pass.
3. Some stores have wide aisles to make shopping easier. They are wide for a reason, and that is to allow shoppers to pass each other while shopping. However, I have noticed that when shopping, these wide aisles aren’t necessarily wide, when a shopper doesn’t consider that others may want to go down the same aisle. I have seen a shopper with their carts parked on the left side of the aisle, while they stand on the right side looking at the different products, thus blocking the entire aisle. A courteous shopper will keep their cart on the same side of the aisle as they stand, giving room for others to pass.
4. Electric shopping carts are seen in many stores today. They make shopping easier for those who have difficulty walking for long periods of time. In fact these carts allow some individuals to shop, who without them would not be able to experience the great time we have shopping. There are directions on these carts that instruct one on its operation, however, there are no directions on how they should be driven. We sometimes assume that a person would drive them as they would an automobile, driving on the right side of the road, and yielding to pedestrians. However, once on one of these electric carts, one forgets what driving is all about. I have seen individuals drive them all over, speed around aisle corners, not yield to other shoppers, and block aisle ways. Shoppers, who are not riding these carts, must watch out for them or get hit by one. Courteous shoppers, observe all safety rules when driving the electric shopping carts.
5. Blocking employees from getting the product to the shelves is another observation. We all have observed employees moving large amounts of product using pallet jacks. They are moving several hundred pounds of product, and once moving, as a large tractor trailer on the roadway, take some time to stop and start. As a shopper, we always want to find our product on the shelf when we shop, but never think of the work that goes into getting it there. We can be courteous, by giving way to these employees, so they can get the product to its location. An empty shelf does not save any shopper a moment in time.
6. Removing and item from one location, and leaving it somewhere else. How many times have you shopped, only to find an item in the wrong location? I have spoken to store workers about all the items I find out of place all over the store, and I was told, that more time is spent returning these items to their locations, than is spent putting out new items on the shelves. The product is in the store, but there is so little time to get them out for shoppers, because of the time spent continually straightening out the product shelves. Have you ever tried to look for an item, but there is such a mess in its location, you can’t tell what belongs where, or how much it costs? A courteous shopper, will look at an item, and return it to its location, the same as they picked up the item.
7. Opening packages to check an item, is sometimes necessary. However, I have observed customers pick up an item, open the package, take it out, look at it, and put it back without repackaging. They then take one that hasn’t been opened. Packaging is so important, that manufacturers spend a lot of money on it; in fact some products have more money spent on packaging, than on the product itself. When an open item is put back on the shelf, customers will not purchase the item for fear that something is missing from the product. Should you need to open an item to look closer at it, and decide to purchase it; a courteous shopper will purchase the item they opened. If you decide not to purchase the item, then carefully return the item to its packaging, and put it back in its location.
8. Checkout lanes can be busy, but following proper courtesy makes them flow much faster. There are lanes with long belts, allowing shoppers to put many items on them at a time. Some stores also have express lanes for customers. These lanes were designed to provide convenience for shoppers with only a few items. This way, an individual with only one or two items does not have to wait in line behind shoppers with full carts of goods. However, I’m sure many of you, just as I have seen, there are customers with full carts, get in the express line. The time it takes to check out one customer with a full cart, can slow down the line for 5 to 10 minutes.
9. Keep track of your purchases. There are times I have been in line, and have seen the cashier stop scanning after only checking out a few items. The cart is still full, but the customer either doesn’t want anything else, or doesn’t want to pay for anything else. Whatever the reason, the cart is left for the checkout person to move out of the way. I asked the checkout person what they do with the items left in the cart. She replied that nonperishable items are returned to the shelves, but perishable items have to be thrown away. This cart had lots of meats and seafood left in it. I estimated it to be close to $100. The cashier informed me that all items are logged, and the losses calculated and prices of items in the store are adjusted to absorb the loss. This meant the cost of the items I was purchasing had already been adjusted for previous losses. I asked does this happen much, and she replied not full carts, but there are quite a few people that decide not to buy something once they get to checkout. It is always great to see items on sale, and the more we help the store diminish its losses, the more sales we receive.
10. Purchasing large items. I have seen shoppers with large 50lbs bags of dog food and 24 bottles of water go through the checkout. We can help checkout personnel by leaving them in our carts. We may only have to lift them a few times, but cashiers have an eight hour shift lifting these items. As a courtesy shopper, considerate of the employees, ask if it is okay to leave these items in the cart. Every time I have, they thank me for it.
These are just a few ways we can make shopping an enjoyable experience for ourselves and those around us. Remember, we shop almost every day, and the more enjoyable the experience we have shopping, the more we can look forward to it. Shopping for most of us is not something we want to do; it is something we have to do.