Monday, 23 August 2010

On Revolutionising Supermarkets



The Supermarket.
A place where you can buy just about anything from food to clothes to electronics.
It's also a place where you get all manner of people; most of them rude.

I really fucking hate the Supermarket. It's always full of people and I don't really like people, especially when they're apparently oblivious to the fact that there are other people in their vicinity. They leave trolleys in the middle of the isle and wander off, stop suddenly when you're walking behind them, allow their spawn to run amok and generally act like utter bellends.

What we need is a Supermarket Revolution and, friends, I believe I am the man to lead it.

Below I have detailed what I feel are the main issues with Supermarkets and how I would fix them.

#1 - Trolley use

The Problem

One of the biggest issues with Supermarkets is all the wankers within them and most of them are pushing a trolley (or shopping cart, depending where you're from). I've written about shitty drivers before and this is a very similar subject.
People walk every which way, cut each other off and consistently act like douchenozzles. During peak times it can become absolute bedlam. You end up stuck in positions where you can't go forward or back and you have to wait for the one cockdonkey who has stopped sideways across the isle while they try to figure out exactly what kind of Cat Food Colonel Fluffykins would prefer.

If I were heading the Supermarket Revolution

In my revolutionised supermarkets there will be lanes and traffic control to discourage the cockish behaviour so prevalent in Supermarket patrons.
Option 1: The main isle down the centre of the supermarket would be split into two lanes and would work just like a road with two streams of traffic heading in separate directions. There would be cross junctions for the smaller isles, complete with traffic lights. There would be areas at the side of isles where people can stop to put goods into their trolley without impeding the flow of traffic.
Option 2: Due to space constraints, not all Supermarkets would be able to use the above solution. Where that is the case I propose a one way system around the supermarket. Starting at the entrance there would be a set path through from beginning to end, with an access road running down the side for if you missed anything or wanted to skip a few isles. Isles would still require the stopping areas so people can put things in their trolley without impeding traffic but, as this system would not require a central isle, I don't think that would be too much of a problem.

People who flaunt the rules would face warnings and then expulsion from the Supermarket because fuck you, that's why! Everyone else is following the rules and you are not special.


#2 - Chill-Out areas

The Problem

Supermarkets are big and fucking boring. Sometimes you just need a break. Maybe it's extra busy and you want to wait for the queues to go down, maybe you have been dragged there by your fairer half who wants to look at cheap shoes and bags, maybe you've just had a long day and need a rest, mid-shop.

If I were heading the Supermarket Revolution

In my revolutionised supermarkets there would be a designated chill-out area. Exactly what goes into this is really up to the individual Supermarkets but they would have to be within certain guidelines.
There would need to be plenty of comfy seating. I propose bean-bags and cushions, rather than couches/sofas, as they allow greater flexibility.
There would need to be some form of entertainment. Be it a TV or games consoles, some entertainment would be required. This would also be a good opportunity for marketing. Much like in HMV/Game stores, they could have consoles for the public to play which gives people a chance to try out the consoles and the latest games, which could lead to them buying one. Oh and it would need WiFi, obviously.
There would need to be an area in which you could leave your trolley/basket. It would be wholly impractical for everyone to bring their shopping into the chill-out area so I propose an area where they can leave their stuff on a ticket-based system, like a cloakroom.


#3 - Crèche/Play area

The Problem

Shitty parents and their bratty spawn. People let their children act like fucking idiots and it needs to stop. If I had pulled a fraction of the shit I see kids getting away with I would have got a proper bollocking. I always see some little devil child pulling things off shelves, screaming and whining and on the whole being a little shit goblin whilst the parents do sweet Foxtrot Alpha.

If I were heading the Supermarket Revolution

There would be no children allowed in the main supermarket area.
I understand that a lot of people don't have somebody they can leave their child with whilst they go shopping, but this should not have an adverse affect on my life. A free Crèche area would allow parents to leave their children in a safe, entertaining environment, do their shopping and then retrieve their child on the way out.
These areas would also be invaluable to staff members with children.
This would mean fewer obstacles, less noise and less stress for customers. I would leave it to Supermarkets to decide at what age children can enter but would propose no admittance to those under 11 years of age.


#4 - RFID Checkouts

The Problem

Currently there are two types of checkout at most Supermarkets. There's the auto-teller self-checkout style and the old school person-behind-a-till style. Both of these methods require every item to be individually scanned and then bagged which can cause long queues.

If I were heading the Supermarket Revolution

The technology already exists to have RFID checkouts. Radio Frequency Identification is used for many things. Basically, a small radio transmitter sends a signal to a receiver which identifies what it is. RFID Checkouts would work in the following way: You would push your trolley into an area, the RFID scanner would scan everything in your trolley, without you having to take anything out, and would then give you the total cost. This would allow whole trolleys of shopping to be scanned in mere moments which would seriously reduce waiting times.
The reason massive supermarket chains don't already have these installed (Tesco have already basically perfected the system) is because it would instantly make the job of checkout monkey obsolete.
To help counteract this, I give you my last idea:


#5 - Staff Reallocation

All these new areas and ways of doing things means that some jobs disappear whilst others are created.
First off, there would need to be people monitoring the traffic flows and making sure people are doing it right. This would require no experience or qualifications, much like till-work, so a number of people whose jobs were eradicated by the RFID checkouts could be moved over to the traffic control department.
Staff would also be needed to oversee the Chill-Out Area and the Crèche (where some training may be needed) so that's some more jobs there.

In the end, I think it would square out ok.

So, in conclusion, I believe deeply that I am the man for this job!

Write to your Local Councillor, Mayor, Governor, Senator, Congressman, whoever.
Let's make this happen, people!

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