In June the Target store on Lake St. implemented a new checkout system designed to be faster. Instead of customers choosing the shortest line or a favorite cashier, they are now routed in single file through a long, winding line similar to an amusement park ride. A video screen at the front of the line reads "Please wait for the next available register." When a cashier becomes available, the screen reads and speaks, "Register 5 is now open."


Shoppers that I've talked to generally don't like the new system. Caitlin Jagodzinski of Minneapolis thinks the wait seems longer with the new system. "I don't like wading through aisles of candy and pop waiting for the next cashier," she said. (Target olaces a lot of impulse buys along the route, including, to its credit, plenty of magazines to read.) 

Opinions from the cashiers are mixed. One cashier told me she liked the new system and another one said she "hated it." She wouldn't elaborate, but I suspect the system is more efficient, making for even less time for a break between customers. From my days as a cashier, a steady stream of customers can make the day go faster but a lack of downtime can be stressful. 

I didn't like the system at first, but the wait time is never very long. I'm guessing that the line moves faster than it did with the old system, but it doesn't seem like it does and that might be a problem for Target. I find myself reading People or US magazine and starting to feel sorry for rich but poor, boring, childless Jennifer Aniston.

The Lake Street store and one in Emeryville, California are the only ones testing the new system, said spokesman Antoine LaFromboise. The test will run through the end of January.

OK, I know this is no big deal, but I am continually surprised at Minnesotans' fascination with all things Target. Anyone else want to comment on the new checkouts who has been to the Lake Street store recently?