Long before supermarkets introduced laser scanners at the cash registers, ALDI had an incredible throughput rate with till girls typing in the IDs of articles at a rate of at least one item per second.

Today, with laser scanners and everything, the till girls at Aligro in Renens take about 5 seconds per item, but this it not their fault, it’s just a poorly designed store.

Originally planned for customers who’d buy things in large quantities (50 liters of milk, 40 kg of sugar, …), they only offer shopping carts with a single flat grill without any walls. This is great if you actually buy things by the dozen, but it makes things rather cumbersome if you just buy one pack of milk and a single chocolate bar (or, in our case, various individual items for a Romanian party). What’s worse is that the cash register there is no conveyor belt to put things on (… because you couldn’t manage to put a whole pallet on it anyways …).

So the poor till girl has to bend offer and scan each item individually, which takes roughly 5 seconds per item.