Supermarket Checkers: “The Front Line” 1965 Reader’s Digest; Grocery Store Cashier Training

Supermarket Checkers: “The Front Line” 1965 Reader’s Digest; Grocery Store Cashier Training

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“How to be an effective supermarket checker.” Features former “International Checker of the Year” champions. Presented by Reader’s Digest in cooperation with Super Market Institute.

Originally a public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarket
Wikipedia license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

A supermarket, a large form of the traditional grocery store, is a self-service shop offering a wide variety of food and household products, organized into aisles. It is larger and has a wider selection than a traditional grocery store, but is smaller and more limited in the range of merchandise than a hypermarket or big-box market.

The supermarket typically comprises meat, fresh produce, dairy, and baked goods aisles, along with shelf space reserved for canned and packaged goods as well as for various non-food items such as kitchenware, household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies…

In the early days of retailing, all products generally were fetched by an assistant from shelves behind the merchant’s counter while customers waited in front of the counter and indicated the items they wanted. Also, most foods and merchandise did not come in individually wrapped consumer-sized packages, so an assistant had to measure out and wrap the precise amount desired by the consumer. This also offered opportunities for social interaction: many regarded this style of shopping as “a social occasion” and would often “pause for conversations with the staff or other customers.” These practices were by nature very labor-intensive and therefore also quite expensive. The shopping process was slow, as the number of customers who could be attended to at one time was limited by the number of staff employed in the store.

Shopping for groceries also often involved trips to multiple specialty shops, such as a greengrocer, butcher, bakery, fishmonger and dry goods store, in addition to a general store, while milk was delivered by a milkman.

The concept of an inexpensive food market relying on large economies of scale was developed by Vincent Astor. He founded the Astor Market in 1915, investing $750,000 ($18 million in 2015 currency) of his fortune into a 165′ by 125′ corner of 95th and Broadway, Manhattan, creating, in effect, an open air mini-mall that sold meat, fruit, produce and flowers. The expectation was that customers would come from great distances (“miles around”), but in the end even attracting people from ten blocks away was difficult, and the market folded in 1917.

The concept of a self-service grocery store was developed by entrepreneur Clarence Saunders and his Piggly Wiggly stores. His first store opened in 1916. Saunders was awarded a number of patents for the ideas he incorporated into his stores.
The stores were a financial success and Saunders began to offer franchises. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which was established in 1859, was another successful early grocery store chain in Canada and the United States, and became common in North American cities in the 1920s. The general trend in since then has been to stock shelves at night so that customers, the following day, can obtain their own goods and bring them to the front of the store to pay for them. Although there is a higher risk of shoplifting, the costs of appropriate security measures ideally will be outweighed by reduced labor costs.

Early self-service grocery stores did not sell fresh meats or produce. Combination stores that sold perishable items were developed in the 1920s.

Historically, there was debate about the origin of the supermarket, with King Kullen and Ralphs of California having strong claims…

It has been determined that the first true supermarket in the United States was opened by a former Kroger employee, Michael J. Cullen, on 4 August 1930, inside a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) former garage in Jamaica, Queens in New York City. The store, King Kullen, operated under the slogan “Pile it high. Sell it low.” At the time of Cullen’s death in 1936, there were seventeen King Kullen stores in operation. Although Saunders had brought the world self-service, uniform stores and nationwide marketing, Cullen built on this idea by adding separate food departments, selling large volumes of food at discount prices and adding a parking lot…

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