Another Saint CoronaChan Miracle

Happy Taxman Cometh Day!

Looking for a bright silver lining to the plague cloud of imbalanced bodily humours that our friends in China shared with the world? You can find one at a big box store whose name rhymes with Shome Repo. While bopping around running work related and completely essential errands, I dipped into the nearest construction supply center, and it was the best shopping experience I’ve had there in a while.

On the one hand, they made me stand outside and wait for ten minutes before entering the premises. They limit the number of customers inside the store to 100 patron, which sin theory and practice makes it easier to practice social distancing. That gave me a quiet ten minutes in the shade to mentally run down my list one last time, and then take a dopamine hit off my cellular crack dealer. Not a bad trade for everything it gave me in return.

The benefits of the wait are legion. The limited crowd inside meant very little of the usual slalom run down the aisles trying not to whack anyone with lumber or get whacked yourself. It also meant that the wait time at the counter was reduced from the usual fifteen minutes to five. Counting the ten minutes out front, I broke even. Add in that the increased flow of traffic through the store probably saved me a few minutes in lag time as well, and I probably got in and out faster than usual. But it isn’t just the time, it’s the convenience. I didn’t have to spend fifteen minutes with a handcart laden with lumber and mulch, dodging shoppers in the front aisle of the store, and that’s actually a win on multiple fronts.

Even better, the three times I had a quick question, there was an associate close at hand with time to help me. Three times in one trip! Compare that to my usual hit rate of one associate available in every three trips to the store, and we’re talking about a much more pleasant shopping experience than usual.

Here’s another thing to consider: That wait would make it too expensive to dash in for a quick box of nails or extra paint brush. The quick in-and-out would be a thing of the past. That’s a negative, except that the big box stores aren’t really set up for that style of shopping. You’re looking at a twenty minute visit every time. It would help reduce the number of quick-trips, encouraging people to wait a few days and consolidate purchases in one trip, which would also alleviate the usual aisle congestion.

Strange as it sounds, I’m leaning toward making a 100 customer limit a fine permanent addition to the big box store culture.