No more waiting at the deli counter!
IMPORTANT UPDATE – 11 DECEMBER 2018: THE KIOSK HAS BEEN REMOVED! THERE IS NO LONGER THE KIOSK OPTION AND THE CUSTOMER HAS TO WAIT IN LINE AT THE COUNTER! WE HAVE GONE BACKWARD IN TIME!
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau
I have spent too much of my life waiting at the Kroger deli counter. A fortnight of quiet desperation and longing for my Private Selection Honey Turkey to be sliced at 1.5 thickness. It has always been a dreaded task, especially during peak shopping hours. A necessary sacrifice of time to get the good stuff. Prepackaged meat never tastes the same.
My wait is over. Kroger’s self-service, touch-screen deli ordering system. Kroger must have taken a took a cue from the queueless – the Fastpass® system that’s made visits to Disney theme parks so much more efficient and enjoyable.
Kroger’s process is very similar to getting a place in line at a Disney World ride. You enter your order in detail, you get a ticket, you come back fifteen minutes later, and wham-bam there it is, sitting in a wicker basket with your number on it. The greatest thing since sliced pastrami.
Kroger has smartly included a cross-selling function. When I ordered turkey, Kroger pitched me some Swiss cheese. I almost took them up on it. Maybe next time. And there will be a next time. This is how I roll now.
On the busy, pre-ice-storm day I was at Kroger, I seemed to be the only one taking advantage of this automated ordering system. Other shoppers stacked themselves two-deep, ignoring the new process and loudly repeating their desires for meat and cheese across the glass case to the deli staff. Good service includes self-service. It takes time for customers to catch on to that.
My order was there on time and Kroger even attached a $1-off coupon. Who said you can’t have “Good, Fast and Cheap” all at the same time? Oh yeah, I did.
I wrote this post six months ago. I am sad to report, at least in my observation, that this concept is not catching on. The customers aren’t interested. They don’t care. They don’t get it. I placed an order at my favorite Kroger one day and it was order #800. Two days later I came back, placed another order, and it was #804. A run rate of 2 orders per day. The employees at the deli counter don’t seem to be aware of the kiosk anymore. I now have to take my ticket to the deli counter and show them what I ordered from the kiosk 15 minutes earlier. They’re clueless. I give it another three months before Kroger shuts the thing down. That’s a prediction. By October 1 this deal’s done.
Well, what do you know? It’s October 3 and the deli kiosk is still alive. I bet the Under and I lost. I still only see the kiosk in one Kroger store in my fair city, and I shop at several different ones, but the little kiosk that could is still hanging in there at the spacious Chenal location.
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It is difficult being a visionary. They laughed at Edison.