At the entrance, automatic glass doors smoothly open as the supermarket slowly gets packed with shoppers of all kinds. A barely audible but relaxing music tune plays from the speakers that are seemingly positioned overhead and on every corner of the store. As people continue to stream in, the supermarket gets almost packed and sounds of people chatting and trolley-wheels squeaking wrap the soothing music in a blanket of little but less disturbing commotions. As I walk past the sleek glass doors and across the smooth marble floor, a cool and refreshing air conditioned breeze softly brushes over my face. Accompanying the cool breeze, are red, and flamboyant signs pose overhead with tempting promises that entice the customers towards them.
Standing adjacent to the uncountable shelves, well-dressed customer service assistants engage in small but convincing talks with the shoppers. From every shelf-row, others are busy packing the shelves with new products while others work on special promotions which they display and also point out special offers to the customers. As I walk further inside, an abundance of all kinds of fruits and vegetables sit calmly in giant freezers forming an array of enticing colors and every other product is neatly sits on the well-arranged shelves.
After about an hour or so, many shoppers push their trollies from deep in the shelved section of the supermarket to the front side where the cashiers sit at the till. As the customers increase in number, small involuntary queues begin to form as they all wait to be served. Sitting at the numerous checkouts, tellers, cashiers, and customer service assistants are busy operating scanning systems, entering purchase details amidst handling debit, credit cards, and even cash sales; while others pack the shoppers’ shopping in the appropriate packing bags. Busy as some bees, these assistants work in a well-mastered chronology and at the same time maintaining radiant smiles to those shoppers that they serve.
While at the supermarket, I have significantly observed various invariably relating themes. To begin with, the theme of chronology is the most dominating theme in the store. Here, each and every activity is done in a chronological manner that lets every event run in the best way possible. Ranging from the products arranged on the shelves to the operators in the store, the order is observed. On the shelves too, you will realize that goods and products are neatly arranged according to type and hence enabling shoppers to locate their products of choice with ease.
Additionally, the theme of teamwork is well developed in the supermarket set up. From my observation, right at the supermarket’s entrance, customer service assistants work hand in hand in assisting the shoppers to carry out their usual shopping activities. For instance, as other assistants help shoppers in making choices of the products on the shelves, there are those others that help in refilling the shelves with new products. At the till cashiers and various customer service assistants work together in an orderly manner to help the shoppers purchase and pack their shopping.
Contrary to what the supermarket staff portrays, the shoppers enhance the theme of individuality. I realized that many are those that walk into the store, choose goods of their choice from the numerous shelves and later pay for them without having to say a single word to any person in the supermarket. This theme is well developed as everything in the supermarket is well labeled and priced making everything easy and self-explanatory for the shoppers.
Observations of interest and links to themes
The notion of self-service is perceived by almost every person who has used or will be using the supermarket. With this in mind, you realize that almost every shopper here minds their own business and does not seem to bother other shoppers or service assistants while doing their shopping. Nevertheless, time and again, you will realize that Customer Service Assistants may be called on a few times so as to help the shoppers in choosing or locating products from the shelves. Due to the incredible order in which every product here is arranged in, it almost goes without saying that customer service assistants are very well familiar with the supermarket’s layout; hence are able to direct the shoppers with ease. Moreover, since the supermarket is sub-sectioned into various departments which all display goods and products of different kinds, overhead, every department, are clearly written labels guiding the shoppers on where to locate products of a certain kind.
On the other hand, the level of communality that is expressed and at the same time maintained by the supermarket staff all owes the chronological order in which activities are run here. At the till various cashiers co-operate with the shoppers and at the same time with the service assistants who neatly pack the shopping for individual shoppers. For instance, in a scenario where one till machine miss-functions or breaks down, a supervising manager, a technical crew as well as the cashier involved co-operating swiftly towards the revival of the till machine. The customers, however, are quickly but politely redirected to another functioning till where they are served as usual. In my observation, this particular feel of communality is the most crucial tool in the supermarket since with this; there is no single time where excellent customer services are compromised.
The availability of numerous, readily available customer service assistants, well arranged and priced products on the shelves as well as communally working staff; all these help to create a better experience for the thousands of shoppers who visit the supermarket on a daily basis.
Questions for further research
As I continued to observe and study more about the supermarket set up, I realized that the very same people who were positioned at specific places in the store the previous day were still at their position the day after. If my research went on for quite some time, I wonder if I would be in a position to determine how many hours a day each attendant works at their place. Additionally, if there are staff rotations that are done, I wonder whether each and every assistant is well conversant with every department at the store.