It’s Not Working, Sorry

I’ve tried to enjoy and appreciate QuikTrip‘s unique approach to handling lines of customers, but I just can’t.

For those unfamiliar with QT’s way, they’ve got an L-shaped counter directly across from the door. There are three registers, one at each point of the L. Generally, only the bottom two cash registers are in use, but they’ll open the third one if it gets busy. These two open registers typically are fed from a single line with each cashier taking the next customer in turn. When the third one opens up, there’s a moment of awkwardness as that cashier takes the next person in line. That quickly breaks down though since there’s no real way to feed one line into three registers given that configuration.

So that’s all well and good and if it worked like that most of the time, I wouldn’t be writing this.

The problem occurs—and it occurs frequently—when the two main registers are feeding from the single line and then someone approaches the second register from the side nearest the dormant one. In other words, someone cuts in line by forming a new line. If the QT cashier at the second position told the offender that there’s one line and it’s over there, then all would be well. Unfortunately, the cashiers inevitably assist the interloper thereby infuriating the original line dwellers and encouraging future breaches of protocol. Who wouldn’t rather be helped immediately than have to wait in a long line?

I can tell you that it is maddening to someone possessing a heightened sense of justice to have such a cut occur. There are two solutions I can see for QuikTrip to stop this insanity: 1) empower cashiers to turn the rude people away or 2) stop feeding from a single line and more clearly demarcate two lines at the main registers.

Honestly, I believe that this scourge has persisted because there’s really no incentive for QuikTrip to fix it. I grouse about it but I still go back again and again for my sodas.


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