When shopping at supermarket chain Aldi it’s hard not to notice the pace the checkout lines move compared to its competitors, as the assistants swipe products one after the other in a blink of an eye.
The long conveyor belts contribute to the organisation of the exit but it’s the small difference on the packaging that allows payment to occur faster than it does at rivals Woolworths and Coles.
Each item has multiple or enlarged barcodes to make it easier for the scanner to pick up what is being moved through to the bagging area.
“Aldi’s check-outs operate with industry-leading efficiency,” a company spokesperson told new.com.au.
“Each of our registers feature long conveyor belts allowing customers to unload their trolleys in one go, and many of our products carry multiple barcodes to make it easier for our retail assistants to scan each product.”
Customers at the German retailer pack their own groceries once they are scanned, but the company says the shopper shouldn’t feel pressured to keep up with the breakneck speed.
“Our staff are encouraged to review and adjust their scan speed based on how quickly or slowly each customer packs their shopping,” Aldi says.
“There are no official targets set for the number of items staff are required to scan at any given time.”
Aldi also encourages its shoppers not to hold up the speed of the lines by bagging items at the checkout station.
“We ask that customers put their purchases back in their trolley or basket once they have been scanned, and then pack at their own pace at the long bench behind the tills,” the spokesperson said.
“This not only reduces waiting times but also allows our team members to resume other responsibilities, such as filling shelves and helping customers.”
The company said last month it would not be installing self-check-outs at any stores across Australia after news filtered through to our shores the United Kingdom division would be trialling the use of the staff-less check-outs.
“We currently have no plans to trial stores with self-service check-outs,” an Aldi spokesperson told Yahoo.
“Feedback has told us that our shoppers prefer face-to-face interactions at registers, and that they are an important part of their in-store experience.
“Our current store format enables us to focus on creating the best possible in-store experience, while continuing to deliver high-quality products at permanently low prices.”
In 2017, it said its check-outs were 40 per cent quicker than supermarket rivals, but reports at the time said the pace came at a cost for the staff trying to keep up.
“(For checkout operators), you have to scan a minimum of 1000 items an hour,” a former Australian manager told news.com.au. “This is why we scan lightning fast. If you underperform they give you a written warning. Get written up for the same things three times in a month and you get fired.”
Aldi has strongly denied the man’s claims.
The former manager, who worked at Aldi for five years, said while the discount retailer’s efficiency kept costs low, it put pressure on its relatively small number of staff — pressure which he said was passed onto customers at the checkout who pack their own bags.
“The unspoken rule is that if someone’s trying to pack their bags, you scan faster to make them hurry up,” he said.
However, his claims were refuted by the supermarket chain.
“There are no official targets set for the number of items staff are required to scan per hour or number of pallets loaded,” an Aldi spokeswoman told news.com.au.
“At Aldi Australia, we pride ourselves on the quality of our employees and provides a working environment that fosters a high level of employee satisfaction. We are also committed to providing a shopping experience that is convenient, fast and enjoyable for our customers.”