Maybe you do need a MBA to manage a grocery store.

I had just ran a full 41 minutes for the first time in over 2 months. I should have been over-the-top-happy as I stood in line at my local Metro to pay for my random assortment ranging from bananas to rice cakes to toilet paper to the much-needed juice to complement my iron supplements. All things to set me back on road to being a track athlete again. Instead I was flat out annoyed.

I was hungry. I was anxious to get back to studying for tomorrow’s dreaded microeconomics exam. I was also nearing flat out angry as the numbers on my watch turned from 9:21 to 9:22. I had been in line for 22 minutes.

In Operations Management I learnt that if presented with the option to choose a) express lane with many customers in line b) normal lane with one customer with many items in cart you should choose b. The main reason being option b will have less in between customer processing time. The cashier doesn’t have to ask you how your day is as many times, the cashier doesn’t have set up the debit/credit machine as many times, and there are less customers to fumble with their wallets looking for coins, bills, Air Miles, or other various plastic payment forms. In addition, managers will often employ less-speedy cashiers in the express lanes.

But it seems the textbook Metro lends out to their managers skipped over the section on what to do if a female customer at Metro takes 22 minutes to unload her groceries.

First of all, the manager should have realized the only lanes open was the extreme express lane, the express lane and the normal lane currently occupied by the Woman. They should have opened up another normal lane or express lane or transformed the extreme express lane to allow customers with more than 8 items. The manager should have realized that on this particular night the extreme express lane was absolutely empty as the majority of customers had a large basket full of items.

Secondly, the manager should have foreseen customers such as the extremely slow woman who took 22 minutes just to unload her groceries and seemed to have issues focusing on the validity of her items. The manager should have foreseen this situation and informed their staff that under such circumstances if the customer does not have an Air Miles card they should not be offered one. Especially when the customer states they don’t have Internet which is needed to confirm the blue-card registration.

Tonight the cashier allowed the Woman to obtain an Air Miles card. That only added to the minutes that ticked away since I first stood in the line. The Woman then proceeded to type in her debit code wrong. Twice. The minutes in line added up. I was no longer a merely irritated customer. I was flat out pissed.

I realize that it was not my cashier’s fault the Woman had issues but I would have liked it if she had apologized for the wait, especially since it was bad judgement for her to let the Woman sign up for Air Miles when she doesn’t have Internet to confirm the registration. And also because she could have called up one of the lingering stock boys to help load the groceries onto the belt instead of letting the Woman take 22 minutes to do it herself.

After the experience tonight I think the next time I have too many items to use the extreme express lane I’m just going to run my blue-spandex-clad ass down to the Bloor Street Market where the Suits shop and where the maximum number of items in each basket will probably be 4.

Now that I think about it, the manager at the Bloor Street Market might actually have a MBA. He/she is so in tune with consumer behaviour their Halloween candy stock didn’t hold any Aeros, Snickers, Mars &the like; fancy chocolate is the only way to go apparently. I wish I had thought to trick-or-treat at some of the Bloor St. condos. 

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One Response to Maybe you do need a MBA to manage a grocery store.

  1. tcbntx says:

    thanks for the add

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