I may not be a man of the world, but I know that they do things differently in Europe – they ride scooters, they’re naked all the time for some reason, they all watch movies about sad people smoking on balconies, they’re drunk on grappa before midday, and they eat primarily soft cheeses and molluscs. They also do supermarkets differently, as we’ve discovered with Aldi.

The practice of giving checkout staff chairs, ditching plastic bags, and putting shit on shelves in the boxes it came in was a revolutionary one when it arrived on our shores, but not as revolutionary as the insane speeds at which they scan things.

If, like many of us, you’ve worked as a checkout person at one of the major Aussie supermarkets, you’ll know that scanning speed is a huge priority for these guys too, with tables and lists to keep track of how fast everyone can go (for the record, I was fucking terrible at it, a mere 15 items per minute) – but Aldi seems to have taken that ish to the next level.

The furious pace at which they hurl things past the barcode scanner would seem to indicate that the energy not going into standing is being channelled into their powerful biceps but, as scientific as this explanation sounds, it’s actually from a more concerted effort to keep scanning times and thus costs down.

Since, logically, the longer it takes for staff to scan items, the more people you would need on to deal with a number of customers in a timely amount, the easier it is to scan shit, the fewer people they have to pay to have on. Cost-cutting measures like this and the ability to fill their shelves by just chucking the box on there allow them to do all the crazy cheap things they do like $20 motorbike leathers or CrossFit tires or whatever.

How they actually do it is shockingly simple, though: putting barcodes on every single surface of the object. It seems it shaves off a lot of time if you don’t have to fuck around rotating the object to expose the right side to the scanner. Genius.

Apparently somewhat cognizant of how bloody impossible it is to keep up with these people when packing your groceries, a spokesperson for Aldi told ‘The Sun’ that their focus is on what the customers want: “Our employees are trained to operate the checkout at the right pace for each individual person they serve.”

Clearly, they have not been able to ascertain how shitty I am at packing groceries away.

Source: The Sun.

Photo: Getty Images / Alex Wong.