Today's 'Through The Looking Glass' moment is brought to you courtesy of...

>> Tuesday, 7 October 2014

... Auchan supermarket.

When I first began to visit Russia in the mid 1990's there was what seemed to me to be an antiquated payment system in place in many retail outlets.  It worked as follows:

1.  The customer selected their item.

2.  They would inform the shop assistant of their choice (it was usually stored out of reach, often behind glass).

3.  The shop assistant would then remove the item from the shelf but instead of taking payment and handing over the purchase, they would put it to one side, hand-write a sales ticket, and send the customer to the caisse (or payment till).  Often this would be on the other side of the shop floor.

4.  The customer would take their ticket to the caisse, where they paid and were given a receipt as proof of purchase.

5.  They would then return with proof of purchase to the original desk where they had selected  their item.

6.  At this point they would present the new receipt to the shop assistant, and only then would they take possession of their purchase.

Now it may be that this is a system in wide-spread global use, but in my life up until that point I had never encountered it outside of the UK tv series 'Are You Being Served?'.  (A sitcom about an outdated department store).

Consequently I was somewhat relieved when we moved to Moscow at the beginning of 2010 to find that this system had mostly been abandoned and paying for goods was now a lot more straightforward.

Today, however, I wondered as if I might have fallen through a crack in the time/space continuum (yes, I HAVE been watching the new series of 'Dr Who') when I encountered this at Auchan.

There are still cashiers (and queues, which I suppose is not suprising since both staff and customers are like rabbits in headlights when faced with this new system), who run all the items through the till as usual.  However, payment is made by taking the receipt that the cashier gives you to a machine sited a few metres behind the till, scanning the receipt, and paying the machine directly.  Once you've done that, the machine prints out another receipt, which you need to scan to get through a security gate (complete with security guard) to exit the till area.

Tell me, please, that time isn't slipping backwards?

Now, for persevering through that bit of a moan, here's your reward: an excerpt from the episode 'Are You Being Served' where the staff are learning to ballroom dance.  I particularly liked Captain Peacock's and Mr Humphrey's demonstration with the fishtail....


London City Mum 7 October 2014 at 12:10  

Best laugh I have had all week - that video clip is just a classic too :-)


pottymummy,  7 October 2014 at 13:16  

Why thankyou, LCM! x

Iota Manhattan 8 October 2014 at 13:52  

What IS Mrs Slocombe's blouse like?

pottymummy,  8 October 2014 at 16:08  

A thing of beauty, Iota - couldn't you just hear the nylon static crackle down the years?

Nappyvalleygirl,  8 October 2014 at 16:49  

Did you ever go to Foyle's in the Charing Cross rd? They had a similar system where you had to queue at two different tills. It would drive me crazy.
Hope Auchan had a few fresh veg and cheeses?

pottymummy,  8 October 2014 at 18:22  

I don't remember that at Foyles but I think I was less smart in my book-buying habits, NVG. As for Auchan, veg yes (much rejoicing over the fresh - ish - broccoli that I found, but cheese? Only if it's Russian. Or Swiss...

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