The supermarket chain Aldi has is considering a controversial plan to begin harrying customers in the so-called ‘recovery area’ of each of store. The move is apparently motivated by a desire to reduce customer turnaround times, but it’s unclear what the public response to the scheme would be.
Aldi stores have become notorious for their unusual checkout procedure, where customers are expected to furiously throw everything into a basket as quickly as possible, lest they risk silent judgement by both cashier and fellow customers for holding up the line. Customers are then expected to move to the recovery area just past the main checkout, where they can pack goods in a safe and sane manner, tremble, and exchange war stories with other survivors.
Now it seems this island of tranquility in every Aldi store may be under threat. A spokesman for the retail think tank Information About People Who Buy Stuff revealed to The Liberator:
“There has definitely been research into the impact of trying to smash people through the recovery area. One of the ideas was to have a staff member there with an air horn, ready to blast it at customers who aren’t packing fast enough. Another proposed scheme involved having someone just move down the line with a small mobile cow-catcher. So it’s definitely something they’re looking at.”
“It would seem Aldi has to balance the idea of trying to get people in and out of the doors quickly, with creating a shopping experience that isn’t completely harrowing. I think in many ways that will be the key challenge for all brick and mortar retailers in 2019.”