While living in another culture, we find some things that are the same as in our
own country, but there are some things that are different. In China or USA, we need to
go to the supermarket every week. Every time we go to the supermarket, we take what we
need and go to the check-out counter. This is the normal way of purchasing items in a
supermarket. But when we first arrived in Houston, we came across the problem of not finding where
to weigh the vegetables.
In a Chinese supermarket, there is a dedicated weighing counter near the
vegetables and fruit. We can put what we need in a bag, and take it to the weighing
counter. A worker will help to weigh and attach the price label on the bag. At the
check-out counter, the checker just needs to scan every price label.
So our culture bump happened when we went to Wal-Mart the first time. We
selected the vegetables and fruit, but we couldn’t find the weighing counter.
Meanwhile, we observed some locals taking their vegetables directly to the check-out
counter. We wonder how they would know the exact price or how they would pay for the veggies. We
felt confused, surprised and a little nervous. We had to ask a local person for help. Finally we
understood that we just need to take all the items directly to the check-out counter. The worker
will calculate the price and the price will be shown on the final bill.
In our opinion, the weighing counter can improve efficiency because we can check-outquickly. In
addition, we will know the exact price of the items, and decide whether to buy it or not.
After going to Wal-Mart several times, we decided that there is no need for a special weighing
counter since there are not too many people in the store, there are seldom long lines to check-out so
the checkers have time to weight and scan the items. We also found some small
scales, so we could estimate the cost ourselves. We understood also that employing a special weighing
person would drive up the cost of the items which would impact the customers negatively.
We identified the universal situation stores balancing convenience and efficiency versus cost to keep
customers happy. And in China the higher cost of an employee is balanced with convenience while in
the USA the lower cost is balanced with the convenience and efficiency