Efficiency at its best. Or not.
Last week I included in Shunyi Happenings that the Pinnacle Plaza location of Jenny Wang had “improved” its check-out system. There had always been four check-out lines – two on either side of the store entrance/exit doors. At expected times of the day or week, the lines were crowded, but I never really heard much complaint. They worked.
I’m not sure if Jenny was trying to create better traffic flow by moving all of the cashiers to one side of the store or what. Perhaps it’s clearly outlined in Chinese, but for the majority of the expats who shop there, we are still entering and exiting both ends of the store. Moving all four cashiers to one side, and actually adding a fifth as they did, it all seems like a good idea. But some basic logistics make it immediately apparent that this is simply not going to work.
The aisles where customers push their carts through to check out and pay – they are not wide enough for two carts (necessary for two cashiers/lines). As one friend quickly discovered, “…and you can forget about a baby stroller.” Lines somehow seem longer now, perhaps because they are concentrated on one side and aren’t spread out. The flower shop is now blocked when there a line of just a few people, discouraging people from popping in to pick up a quick bouquet.
On Sunday, a busy grocery shopping day, two of the five cashier lanes were closed. Sure, it made it easier for carts to get through on one side, but the congestion elsewhere and the long waits were exasperating. You could see it on the looks of the faces in the line – nobody is too thrilled about this particular “improvement.”
To give benefit of the doubt, however, Jenny is quite accommodating to us all when she’s able to be. I’m certain that in a future blog posting, one will applaud her for the quick change to a system that is more efficient for her customers. Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later.