WEEK #50, DECEMBER 13, 2021

Dear Customers,

The whirlwind that is December continues!  The entire month reminds me of one of those swirling wind currents that can exist any time of the year.  In the summer they feature dust and the errant leaf while from now through March they most likely will include a smattering of snow.  With everything there is to accomplish – in addition to the normal day-to-day responsibilities I find myself lying awake in my bed late at night making a mental checklist of all I hope to achieve when I finally give up and crawl out to greet the coffeepot and begin my day.

One thing that nobody enjoys when they’re already preoccupied is waiting in line at the checkout.  My older brother, Sam, had a deathly aversion to waiting or, heaven forbid, to making our customers wait.  He insisted on having more cashiers on hand than was fiscally prudent or necessary instead of letting a customer wait for even a couple of minutes.  That fact more than any other led to our purchase of four state-of-the-art self-checkout registers in our store back in October.

Since their installation in early October, we’re averaging about 20% of our daily customer total who are using the self-checkouts.  As with anything new and innovative, there’s always a certain percentage of participants that opt out – either out of mistrust or they just don’t understand the technology.  My office sits up high, close enough to the registers that I can hear just about everything that is said down there.

Two of the least technologically embracing comments I’ve heard are, “I don’t work for Costa’s”, meaning “they’re just trying to get me to do all the work”. . . and, “You know you’re going to be replaced by a machine!”.  This last one is offered to cashiers in the hopes that they will rise up and put an end to this foolishness!  Those people might be interested to know that we have not eliminated any cashiers and have, in fact, added a few.  One huge benefit to the new system is that they don’t call in sick, nor do they have to stay home under Covid watch!  Two problems that we have encountered frequently over the past 18 months!

Prior to the installation of the self-checkouts, we had the service counter and one other register open until closer to lunchtime.  Then, there was a third register opened to help with the flurry of lunch traffic.  Now with the addition of the four self-checkouts, at any given time we have either six or seven cash registers available to speed you along your way.  With your busy schedules during the holiday season, I can’t help but think that this would be a real time saver for you – getting you in and out of the store in record time.

The self-checkouts do require the use of an electronic card of some kind: credit, debit, SNAP.  But as of this writing Pennsylvania hasn’t as yet allowed the use of W.I.C. cards at self-checkout stands.  There’s no cash nor checks changing hands at these stands and consequently, no change needs be returned.  They are new to many of us, to be sure, but generally, when we embrace technology we end up benefiting from it in the end.

Just a reminder.  This week’s ad and next week’s ad will be identical.  This is a two-week Christmas ad so that everyone gets to take advantage of the sale pricing, no matter when pay-day is.