Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ode to Costco's Scanner Gun

Yes, I know the entire financial system as we know it, along with a significant percentage of people's financial security, have gone missing. And that THE election of our era is underway. But, life goes on somehow. I am a total tool of Costco - if you search for Costco on my blog, you'll find 3 or 4 posts dedicated to this very smart, semi-green and economical store. On my most recent trip I was impressed yet again with how smart this chain is, this time by their use of scanner guns. (Perhaps you will enjoy a little break from fiscal meltdown and Palin's self-exoneration.)
While my fellow shoppers and I were waiting in long lines, an employee came around and picked off shoppers with a small number of items in their baskets. (My husband points out they should just have an express line for "8 items or less", but they haven't instituted that yet.) Scanner Lady scans their Costco membership card and then each item in their cart. They then go through the line WITHOUT EMPTYING THEIR CART ONTO THE CONVEYOR BELT. When they hand the checkout person their Costco card, all their pre-scanned purchases print out on a receipt which they pay, and then hightail it out of the store, allowing the lines to move tons faster. The person behind them can load their stuff onto the belt while these pre-scanned customers settle their bills. (I didn't qualify since my cart was way too full, packed double and triple decker.)
Keep it up, Costco. In times like this, we really need you.


Anonymous said...

I'm a Costco shopper and I love those scanners, too! Most of the time, I arrange my stuff so that the barcodes are facing up for even faster scanning and check out.

Anonymous said...

Funny enough, someone was just talking about this on my blog, but didn't have all the good details that you have in your post.

It's all this kind of cool & thoughtful stuff that makes me a total Costco junkie!

Anonymous said...

There's a rising school of thought - can't call it "emerging" since it's been around a long time - that retailer incentives should be targeted toward large - not small - shoppers.

But what Costco is doing is ingenious.