Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Multi-tasking woman

We hear a lot these days about the special ability of women to “multi-task”.

This is often mentioned in the context of women juggling jobs, housework and children, but is also put forward by female professionals as a rationale for employing women rather than men.
They tell us that Professional/Executive woman can handle more issues, simultaneously and effectively, than her male counterpart. It seems that men are universally hopeless at this multi-tasking lark.

Where then does it all go wrong when wonder woman gets to the supermarket checkout? Here women are required simply to sequentially pack and pay, while perhaps talking to the checkout operator at the same time. Not only do they generally fail hopelessly to perform these tasks with any acceptable level of efficiency, they also become completely oblivious to those waiting patiently (or in my case, impatiently) in the queue behind.

Is it possible that insufficient demand is made by the checkout experience on their multi-tasking capabilities and they simply fall into a state of bored lethargy as a consequence?

Could supermarkets provide leaflets, videos, in-house training etc for these ladies or, if necessary, find the necessary mechanisms to trigger those famed multi-tasking skills at this critical point in the shopping experience?

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