Special Report Supermarkets: checkout
1st September, 2004
I had always wondered what it was like to work at a supermarket checkout. So when I stumbled upon an article about a Tesco scheme called Twist – short for Tesco Week In Store Together – I took my chance.
This was a scheme for head-office top brass to get a taste of what it was like to work on the supermarket shop floor. It started me thinking that I should carry out my own version of Twist. I knew, because of my Asda Big Welcome experience (see page 30), that supermarkets were always on the lookout for checkout operators. Even so, I was surprised at the speed with which I was hired by Tesco. I dropped off my application form on a Sunday afternoon, and by the following Saturday I was on checkouts being trained. By the following Monday, I had been let loose on an unsuspecting public, albeit with a sign that read ‘Newly trained staff… Your patience is appreciated’. Thank heavens for that protection. I was thankful, after my Asda Big Welcome, that my Tesco training was short and sweet and infinitely less corny. The principles were the same, though: be nice to customers and impress the mystery shopper.
To nudge you in the right direction there was the acronym Echo – Every Customer Help Offered. The mystery shopper had a tick list, and offering help with packing was on it. But the mystery shopper was a bit dense. You could automatically pack a customer’s shopping without asking, but that...
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