European Supermarket Cashiers Q?

Old May 28th, 2008, 07:18 AM
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European Supermarket Cashiers Q?

Every since the advent of supermarkets and hypermarches in Europe i've always seen check-out cashiers sitting down in swivel chairs and not standing - everywhere in Europe

Yet in the U.S. cashiers inevitably are made to stand all day.

Why? Are they more efficient?

Seems that American cashiers would rather sit all day then stand on their feet - esp older ones, etc.

Any reason American cashiers don't sit down? Just curious - have you ever seen a store in U.S. where they do

They are opening a new Aldi is my hometown and perhaps there they sit?
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Old May 28th, 2008, 07:23 AM
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Yes in the Aldi stores here they do sit, but as you said they tend to stand in all others. Odd.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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I wondered the same thing when I was in Paris and Rome. Those cashiers don't know how lucky they have it.

I spent six loooong years on my feet working at Publix when I was in high school and college (way back in the 80s). There was no way in heck you were allowed to sit down back then, though I do notice that they now allow pregnant cashiers to sit.

I swear my feet still ache sometimes from standing all those long hours.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:39 AM
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I wonder why?

Is it to bring their eye level up with their customers - but what advantage does that give the store. OK, the 'higher' person normally has an advantage with dominance, but I can't see the relevance. It's not like we dominate our cashiers into charging us less or anything...
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Workplace protection laws.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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>It's not like we dominate our cashiers into charging us less or anything...<

That made me LOL.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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I don't know about the US but in Europe we are governed by European Health & Safety Law. The Manual Handling and Display Screen Equipment laws require an Ergonomic Risk Assessment. Operators must have an adjustable chair with back support and either a rail or foot rest to insure that the feet don't dangle. The chair should be adjusted to enable the operator to work in a neutral position.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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Which leaves me mystified why our cashiers are not afforded the same protections

many are in unions that seemingly would have wanted it - doesn't standing for hours help make vericose veins, etc.

Or do our cashiers really want to stand. Guess i may have to ask some.

I feel kind of like George Constanza in one episode when he saw a store guard made to stand by the entrance and finally convinced him to sit in a chair - well the guard fell asleep but don't think cashiers would or could
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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I used to be a checker for 10 years in a high volume store. Part of the reason we stand probably is due to a productivity expectation. We were expected to be fast and accurate checkers. You can fling the groceries a lot faster if your standing and pulling and pushing the groceries through. Another possible reason is that even though we had baggers, they'd often be doing a price check or doing a clean up. In other words, I had to bag at least half of my orders. You can bag faster by standing. It was all about the friendliness, speed and accuracy.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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They are low-ranking employees, and should know their place. Give them seats, and problems will ensue. They will expect other privileges, and might even expect to be treated with respect. You can't have that.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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Padraig, did you used to be the manager at the store I worked in during my high school years?

If not, you sound just like him.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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Every piece of research we evber did showed that America's bizarre treatment of their checkout staff (we had supermarkets in both North America and Europe) went with substantially lower productivity.

Our US management claimed customers expected staff to stand. The numbers weren't totally comparable, since the silly American habit of getting checkout staff to fill the shoppers' bags was part of the reason US operators were so slow.

We never really convinced ourselves there WAS any customer demand in the US for ill-treated staff. The scandalous standard of employee facilites generally in our US stores made us believe management over there just felt better kicking people around - which was why their performance in everything (cost control, sales densities, net profit) was so mediocre.

But, whatever the cause, the facts do seem to be that the US system leads to inefficient staff and slower service.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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There are plenty of supermarkets like in Britain where the sitting cashier also stuffs things in plastic bags at least as efficiently as the teen-age baggers most stores here employ

And now at the Meijer chain they have eliminated baggers and the (standing) cashier does it all at once - a simple re-arranging of the layout

I really wonder if American clerks think they should stand - if why not then why do they, literally, stand for that type of tiring treatment???
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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>if why not then why do they, literally, stand for that type of tiring treatment???

Because it has always been this way.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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I've seen checkers standing at several Brussels supermarkets, for example, the Colruyt chain.

Moreover, when it comes to service, I've yet to see a British supermarket offer service equal to, let alone better and more efficient, than at Wegman's in the U.S.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:11 AM
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<check-out clerks should sit

I guess you could give the supermarket clerks who wanted to stand for the exercise value of it, the choice of NOT using a chair or stool. ...
www.whynot.net/ideas/1793>
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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<i>the US system leads to inefficient staff and slower service. </i>

That has not been my experience.

In my US market checkout was fast and friendly and new aisles opened up as needed and there was an express lane for small orders.

In my Swiss market, lines are long and slow, and you wait in the same line even if you just have one item. Sometimes you have to wait for your order to be rung up while the customer ahead of you very slowly packs their own groceries.

Bet it would really make you cringe to know that in the US my produce was weighed at checkout and after my groceries were perfectly packed in free bags, help to my car was also offered. I declined, but lots of seniors, or those with little children often got this nice service.

Things are not as dire in the USA as you may believe.

gruezi
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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&quot;Free&quot; bags? The price of the bags is not factored into the grocery prices?
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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Jack - when Carrefour recently eliminated all FREE plastic bags did they in turn lower their prices?

may well have and would have been a publicity stunt if so IMO

and perhaps they even turn a profit on selling those re-usable bags?

Gruezi - the point is not overall efficiency here but would cashiers been as efficient if they were sitting down - the reasons you give for perhaps overall inefficiency for example waiting for customer ahead of you to finish packing their own bags i have noticed in Europe as well

but i think it has nothing to do with sitting or standing cashiers

And in Aldi type markets cashiers do NOT wait until someone ahead is finished packing up.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 11:39 AM
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Reading suggestion from the Washington Post:

http://tinyurl.com/3p38hw
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