Grocery Shoppers

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

I’ve described how busy the supermarket is where I’m a cashier. Here’s a metric: last Sunday the store grossed nearly one-half million dollars. That’s not unusual for our store. It’s one of the chain’s highest grossing outlets, within a business model focused on pricing goods barely over wholesale purchasing costs and underselling competition.

Our store is a twenty-four-hour beehive. It’s always open to customers while employees stock and restock, ensuring that every slot is full and products look tidy. Fresh produce is abundant and inviting. The overall efficiency is amazing.

So are customer savings, which I hear about throughout my shifts. Often customers say they drive many miles to shop in the store. Many are from all nearby communities. Others drive as far as seventy miles, one-way, from home. Those from great distances explain that they combine various needs by making several in-town stops, including our store, before driving home. They’re planners and accomplishers.

In our store, customers must work by bagging their groceries, a fast game. Items quickly cross the computer and head toward the bagging area, while a line of other customers await their turns to check out. Experienced shoppers quickly get their bags into position and fill them rapidly as possible.

Back when I was a shopper only, bagging work looked easy. I’ve learned that isn’t so. The efficient shoppers arrange purchases into groups for checking out, and for efficient bagging and transporting. Canned goods are easy to bag, but fresh produce and frozen items need special accommodations.

Every day teaches more about how to shop, various items worth shopping for, and options for bagging and storing efficiently. Customers explain how to use fresh ginger, tomatillos, and Mexican squash; the list goes on. I’ve begun to evaluate what I actually need and use versus what I might try out and trash. Focused grocery purchasing equates to paying less and wasting less.

Dear Friends: Jolts of awareness while in action, and learning that’s helpful. Diana

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