There was a time when, as a young student, I worked in a supermarket to pay my rent. In 3 years, I did checkout, shelving, frozen, fruit and vegetables, and even fishmongers. In short, I’ve done a bit of everything, and I can now reveal some behind-the-scenes secrets to this wonderful world of supermarkets. Hang on to your shopping cart, let’s go.
1. We count the number of items passed by the cashiers per minute
- 1 1. We count the number of items passed by the cashiers per minute
- 2 2. Cashiers must be very careful when giving change
- 3 3. Cashiers compete to make loyalty cards
- 4 4. Everyone has tendonitis
- 5 5. Sometimes there are codes on the microphone if there is a problem
- 6 6. It’s more fun to work when there are people
- 7 7. Every day, the fresh shelves are screened to remove expired products
- 8 8. Fresh items always put new items at the back
- 9 9. Employees on the shelves often start around 5 a.m.
- 10 10. Customers are sometimes (often) very weird
- 11 11. Facing sucks
- 12 12. Some people hide the time on their case so as not to look at it every 5 minutes because time passes slowly
- 13 13. Fruits and vegetables that are beginning to overripe are sometimes used for preparations in butchers, fishmongers or cheesemakers.
- 14 14. Gondola ends aren’t just for promos
- 15 15. Old people are often the most rude customers.
Cashiers must have a certain performance. Logical, you might say, since customers must not wait too long. But where it becomes limited is that the cash register software calculates the number of items passed by the cashiers per minute. As a result, managers can put pressure on employees by asking them to speed up to do up to 25/30 articles per minute. That’s why you sometimes find yourself with cashiers throwing your items at full speed without you having time to put them in your bags. It’s not really their fault.
*These statistics exist everywhere but they are not used in all stores. If you live in a small town with old people who take a thousand years to put away their groceries, we don’t ask the cashiers to go fast.
2. Cashiers must be very careful when giving change
Checkout errors don’t happen often, but some stores are tough on checkout errors. It’s normal to be careful because, if at the end of each day, all the boxes have lost 5 balls, it starts to matter a lot. In addition, some relous customers try to rip off the cashiers by saying “but I gave you a 50 note” when no, they gave a 20€ note. That’s why you should always leave the notes on top of the box before giving change.
3. Cashiers compete to make loyalty cards
To subscribe to a maximum number of loyalty programs, cashiers must be motivated to “sell” this program to customers. For that, there are often little games: for example, the one who has signed the most at the end of the month wins a bottle of champagne or a gift certificate, something like that.
4. Everyone has tendonitis
The cashiers spend their time performing the same gestures, suddenly it’s the door open to tendonitis. There are also quite a few among the employees who do shelving, but they tend to have back problems since they spend their time carrying boxes and bending over to reach the bottom shelves. It’s not easy, supermarkets.
5. Sometimes there are codes on the microphone if there is a problem
Let’s say, if there is an uncontrollable customer at the checkout and the security guard alone is not enough to intimidate him, we can make a call on the style microphone “Sylvie is requested at reception” when there is no Sylvie. That’s enough to bring in a few employees to try to defuse the situation. These codes do not exist in all stores but it can always be used.
6. It’s more fun to work when there are people
A weekday in the middle of the afternoon is hell. There is no one at the checkout, no one to inform, and only released tasks to do: it’s boring. The best times, especially for checkouts, are when there is a big rush and you have to move quickly to avoid queues getting bigger. In such moments, time passes much more quickly.
7. Every day, the fresh shelves are screened to remove expired products
There are several employees who look at all the items on these shelves to track down those that have just passed the expiry date. Every once in a while, there’s one that slips through the cracks and that’s why everyone gets into the habit of looking at the date before buying.
8. Fresh items always put new items at the back
The goal is of course to sell in priority the products whose expiry date is closest. But a lot of customers know that and therefore go and look for the “freshest” items while creating a mess on the shelf. That’s the game…
9. Employees on the shelves often start around 5 a.m.
It stings the eyes in the morning, but at least at that time there’s no one to piss you off and you end your day at noon quietly.
10. Customers are sometimes (often) very weird
If you, from time to time, have the impression of being a bad customer, rest assured: we have always seen much worse. Between those who come in pajamas, those who are ready to fight each other for nothing, those who always bring out the same stupid jokes, or even those who tell their life story, there is plenty to do.
11. Facing sucks
The facing is the fact of putting all the items well forward on the shelves, so that everything is more presentable. It’s not very complicated, but it’s super boring. In addition, from time to time, we see a client screw up everything we had just lined up, and that’s hard.
12. Some people hide the time on their case so as not to look at it every 5 minutes because time passes slowly
Yeah, it’s not really the funniest job.
13. Fruits and vegetables that are beginning to overripe are sometimes used for preparations in butchers, fishmongers or cheesemakers.
We’re not going to waste a pepper that’s starting to look bad when we could use it in beef skewers. For now, that’s a good thing.
14. Gondola ends aren’t just for promos
We often think that this is where we will find the most interesting discounts, but, with a few exceptions, this is not the case. Most often, the ends of the aisles are rather the places where brands put their products forward by arranging financially with the stores. Everything is change.
15. Old people are often the most rude customers.
As bizarre as it may seem, the old people who go around saying that the next generations are less well educated are the ones who are the most badass in the store. Many of them know neither hellos nor goodbyes, and they are the first to complain when they have to wait 3 minutes at the checkout. Come on, let’s say that it concerns, roughly, 40-65 year olds. Afterwards, they become a little nicer again (but they talk a lot).