Wal-Mart’s management is watching their customers during the recession. What have they learned? More shoppers now make lists, instead of buying on impulse. Sales of frozen vegetables are up; sales of Angus beef are down. And mysteriously, $5 white toilet seats are a hot item near Denver.
Even when they reach the registers, customers remain nervous about money. They’ve become far more likely to shop on paydays, so Sprague recently rejiggered the work schedule to bring in extra cashiers on the 1st and 15th of each month. Cashiers are now constantly hitting the subtotal key (to help customers see a running tally as they scan items) and voiding items to get the final bill under a certain dollar amount. “[Customers are] making buying decisions at the register after [they’ve] already shopped off a list,” Sprague says.
Watching Us Save, One Cart At A Time [Newsweek]