One evening, we were shopping at NTUC at Blk 95 Toa Payoh.
This is a new NTUC (well, a few months old) and it was "state of the art" in terms of technology and labour saving.
One thing you'll notice is that the cashier will ring up your purchases, but WILL NOT TAKE YOUR PAYMENT.
Facing the customer at the checkout, are two slots for you to put in your coins, and your notes. And the machine will make any change automatically. Presumably, there is also an option for cashless payment options, but I did not notice because I pay in cash.
There are two checkouts.
That evening, there was only ONE cashier.
But BOTH checkout machines were in used!
The cashier was alternating serving the customers between Checkout 1 and Checkout 2.
She would scan the purchases of the customer, and total it up, then leave the customer to make payment with the coins and notes automated cashier and change-making machine at Checkout 1. Her job done for this customer, she would go to Checkout 2, and serve the next customer, doing the same thing - scanning the purchases and totalling up the bill, then leaving the customer to pay with the automated Checkout machine. By this time the first customer would have completed the payment, and Checkout 1 would be free for her to serve the NEXT customer (customer #3).
She was DAMN EFFICIENT!
I was very impressed and wondered if 1) did she work out this protocol on her own, or 2) was this SOP and when did NTUC implement this?
In the first place, I would be very impressed if she came up with this herself, and implemented it.
Even if it were implemented by NTUC, I would still be impressed and wonder how NTUC came up with this idea.
It was BRILLIANT!
And even if NTUC came up with it, how did they get the staff to work the system, because a less motivated staff might well have said, "the heck with it, I don't get paid for the number of customers I serve." (They don't right?) So why would they put up with this?
Which is why I suspect that this "system" was her own devise, not NTUC.