Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Better to Serve Myself

Fresh and Easy LogoI've done some of my shopping at the Fresh and Easy that recently opened in my neighborhood. The idea behind Fresh and Easy is somewhat opposed to the trend lately in supermarkets.  Fresh and Easy stores have much smaller footprints than grocery stories that have become supersized as of late.  It also offers far fewer choices than others, usually only offering one brand and its own store brand on most items.

What it lacks in variety it makes up in price.  I do a lot of comparison shopping and the prices there are probalby the best per item that I can find locally.  They definitely beat my local Ralphs and they are probably even better than the Trader Joe's, the normal price leader around these parts. Yet despite being cheap, I've been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food that I've gotten.

But I'm writing this post to cover my favorite thing about the store.  They only have self serve lines.  Yes, that's right, they do not have any cashiers.  You scan and bag your own groceries.   I am sure this is one way they are able to keep costs low.  The grocery business is very low margins and one of the biggest variable cost is headcount.  They reduced this by making their stores self serve.  While I really do value good customer service, I really like self-serve models when it comes to paying.  Most lines take too long because most people are slow or have too many questions.  I want to pay for my item and leave.  If I have a problem it is my fault and problem and nobody else.

This is like me and having my gas pumped.  I hated living in New Jersey because you can't pump your own gas.  This means you have to wait for the attendant to come over and pump your gas.  If he is busy with others, you have no choice but to wait.

How do you feel about self-serve models.  Would you rather just have cashiers or do you like doing it yourself?


  1. I've tried the Fresh and Easy. Not a fan. No selection that I wanted. The produce was OK. Cheap.

  2. Love self serve and love F&E for basic stuff. Still like Trader Joe's best. My only issue with Self Serve is with alcohol. I always have to wait for them to come 'clear' me.

  3. Funny, I had the exact same conversation with someone on Monday. They said they loved the self serve except when they had to buy alcohol. I guess I never noticed because I almost never buy alcohol.