OVER MY MANY YEARS OF TRAV; EL, I have become a big fan of airline and hotel loyalty programs. The more I ;y or stay, being a loyal customer, the better they treat me. My airline of choice gives
me more room in the front section of coach
class and—if I catch a break—a ;rst-class upgrade that puts me solidly in the midst of the
movers and shakers of the business world in
big cushy seats and a hot meal that is usually
pretty good—for airplane food, at least. I also
get access to its lounges scattered throughout airports around the country, so when my
;ight is delayed, which happens a lot, I do not
have to sit in uncomfortable plastic chairs with
the masses at the gate. Instead, I relax in their
lounge, chomping on cheese cubes and pretzel sticks, drinking gin and tonics as I watch
the tote board, waiting for the latest update
on when my ;ight is going to leave.
My favorite hotel goes even further. Besides
room upgrades (I do wonder if every room
in the hotel is upgraded), they
give me free access to their
lounge and free breakfast, not
to mention free drinks and the
ability to quickly earn enough
points to pay for a nice vacation
in a warm location during the
dark days of winter.
But what about my favorite
As the main shopper in my
family it has always gnawed
at me that the fewer products
I purchase on a particular trip to the grocery
store, the faster I can checkout. Those consumers that come into the store to pick up a
few things get the opportunity to checkout
through the 10-to- 15 items or less express
lanes. In a blink of an eye, they are out the door
and headed to their cars, hopefully not breaking any sideview mirrors in their rush.
Meanwhile, my friends and I at the super-
market with wagons full of product have to
stand and wait on long lines to have the honor
of paying $200 to $300 at a clip
for groceries. It is often at least
a 15 minute wait, and on week-
ends it can get up to 30 min-
utes or more.
Where is the justice? Why
can’t supermarket executives
come up with a way to get their
best customers—people like
me with full carts and money
to burn—through the dreaded
checkout in a timely fashion?
The simple answer is to make
sure as many checkout lines are open as need-
ed. Of course that is often not enough. Since we
all shop at around the same time usually every
lane is manned and still the lines exist.
So it is time for a retailer’s marketing and
logistics people to come together and ;x this
problem. In the meantime, I will be ;ying the
world gaining valuable airline points and pigging out on chocolate chip cookies and carrot
sticks at my hotel’s lounge. Let me know when
supermarkets get with these programs. S
LOOKING FOR LOYALTY
Can grocers speed up the checkout process for their most valuable customers?
By Seth Mendelson
Seth Mendelson is publisher and
editorial director of Grocery Headquarters magazine.