(featured as front page story for 26/11/2006 on Newsbiscuit)
The country’s leading supermarket, Tesbury’s, today announced that it was introducing special checkouts for the “60s or over”.
“We are always on the lookout for ways to make the shopping experience more appealing and we have noticed that a number of our older customers have special needs that are not being catered for in the normal shopping experience,” explained Hamish Billingsworth of Tesbury’s Public Relations. “This section of the community wants to be able to come in and have a chat during the checkout process. They want to be able to spend not only half an hour shopping but to suddenly remember something that they must have after a further ten minutes standing at the checkout.”
To assist the over fifties the checkouts will only accept cheque or cash transactions for the exact amount, with the maximum denomination accepted being the pound coin. Cheques will only be accepted if they have been folded in four. The aisles will be slightly too narrow for shopping bags with integral trolleys and there will be none of those “Next Customer Please” separators as the target audience prefers to place their arm across the conveyer as a divider.
“Our checkout staff have been specially trained in meaningless small talk and supplied with suitably vague facts” continued Mr Billingsworth explaining the customer experience. “The distraction aspect is one we know is very important to our customers and gives them those joyful harassed moments when they only start packing after three quarters of their shopping has been through the scanner. We are also keen to recreate at every visit that wonderfully dazed denouement that happens when they are asked to pay as though for the first time ever.”
Any customers who have their method of payment ready at the checkout, or a rough estimate of the cash total will be forced to place their money or cheque into a fiddley purse that will be placed at the bottom of a full laundry bag before being returned to them.
“These checkouts will only be available Monday to Friday from 12pm until 2pm. We know this may well disappoint those of our over 60s customers who do like to shop early or when the queues are a bit lighter. But they are few and far between as most of them want to shop during other people’s lunch hour.” said Billingsworth. “We will have a phased roll-out with the new checkouts going initially to those of our stores with no nearby post-office to attract the maximum trade.”
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