Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Today's picture is from July, 1936, and shows a general mercantile store in Alabama. I love all the details you can see on the items on the shelf on and on the floor. I like the Coke poster back on the wall, and the way all the items were very practical in nature.
OK, so far this week, the most important thing we have learned is that we do not let the system manipulate us by nudging us into running our own items through the checkout. So, we choose the lane with a live person in it, but now one must decide which line to choose. Most of you simply choose the shortest line, and then feel like you are in the slow line. That is because you do not understand fundamental mathematical concepts like Extremal Dynamics, Chaos, Fractals and statistically activated systems. All right, I don't understand those things either, but I can tell you how to get through the checkout quickest. I have made a lifelong study of it, and will share my findings. First, the "length" of the line is about the least important thing. If you choose the short line, often you will have made a poor choice. You must go in with a strategy, and then stick with it.
First and most important, you need to scan down the line of cashiers. Look at their hands. You want to see fast, smooth, and methodical motion in the hands. Not bursts of speed, followed by pauses. Certainly not slow and clumsy motion. The hands should move like a well oiled German sewing machine. Fast cashier hands will be your first "tell" of a fast moving line. Once you have identified several potential marks, you then need to examine the people in the lines. I suggest avoiding lines that have one or more old people in them. Nothing against old people, and I know I have many loyal followers that are old, but I must say sometimes you folks want to pay for your purchases in nickels and quarters. I understand why, and that is fine, I just don't want to be behind you when you do it. As a matter of fact, as you scan the lines of people make note of anyone with bulging pockets. This might be an indication that they are going to pay with change. AVOID AT ALL COSTS EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO A CASHIER WITH SLOW MOVING HANDS!
In scanning people in line, also avoid lines that have women in them with large purses. This is why. I own lots of different stuff, but I have been able to prioritize the things I own. I have determined the six critical things that I need to carry with me, and they all fit in my wallet. By carrying a wallet, I prove to you and the world that I can prioritize things. A woman that carries a big purse is unable to prioritize things. She thinks she should carry ALL the things she owns with her. This is the issue. If she can not prioritize her things, she probably can not prioritize her time. She probably is also not that cognizant of your time. Women with big purses will get to the critical "payment" step, and will start digging for a checkbook or credit card. While digging she will find pictures of the new Labrador Retriever or neighbor's new baby, and will share pictures and story (long version) with the cashier. AVOID THIS LINE AT ALL COST. If you must get in a line with women in it, search out a line with women with small handbags or clutch purses. You will be glad you did.
OK, so we have scanned the cashiers looking for fast hands, and scanned the lines of customers, wanting to avoid old people and people with large purses. Do one last scan of the faces of the people in line. Here we are just trying to avoid anyone with that "Appalachia Duhh" look on their face. This is hard to explain, but just rest assured that somehow, someway, this person is going to cause things to come to a grinding halt when they get to the cashier.
Now, finally scan the items in the baskets in the line. Avoid lines where people have clothing type items in the basket. These often cause confusion and require the dreaded "Price Check on Line 12" announcement. Also, realize that some items cause problems for the scanners. Canned goods always scan easy, but bags of vegetables with the bar code on the wrinkled plastic bag cause problems. Make sure you do not get in a line where there are too many "problem" products in the baskets ahead of you.
Now, as a last priority, you can look at the overall length of the line, and number of items in basket.
Give these things a try, and see if they don't get you out of the store quicker.