We’ve all been there. You’re wedged in a queue at the supermarket checkout when you suddenly remember your trolley’s lacking the all-important stilton/cranberry sauce/sprouts.
It’s your turn next and there’s no time to run off and get it – but you don’t want to lose your place in the queue for the sake of one item.
It’s a modern-day dilemma with no easy answer. But now two of the country’s biggest retailers think they’ve found one.
Asda has invested £4m in customer service over the festive season, deploying 8,000 staff – called ‘Go-Getters for Forgetters’ – into its 601 stores specifically to help customers in this predicament and to keep queues moving at the tills.
Meanwhile, Tesco has introduced 4,000 ‘here to help’ staff at its 700 larger stores.
All Asda colleagues have for the first time also been given ‘festive finders’ to help them take customers straight to popular products.
The move comes after research for the Leeds-based retailer found that nine out of 10 customers said they got stressed about something during the festive season.
Unsurprisingly, more than half said they worry about knowing what to buy people, with shopping and wrapping gifts taking up to 11 hours of their time.
By contrast, they said the gift they’d most like at Christmas was extra time – to spend doing the things they want to do most.
Asda said it hoped its ‘Go-Getters’, who collectively are expected to walk approximately 58,020 miles over the festive shopping season – the equivalent of walking around the earth almost two-and-a-half times – will help customers regain some of that ‘lost’ time.
Asda’s director of people and stores Hayley Tatum said: “Christmas is an enjoyable time of year, but it can also be one of the most testing. It’s our job to make it easy, hassle-free and fun and our colleagues are top of the Christmas tree when it comes to service with personality.
“We introduced our ‘Go-Getters for Forgetters’ in a handful of stores five years ago to get anything customers had forgotten without keeping others waiting at the tills – this Christmas, we’ve invested an additional £4m into customer service for the busiest two weeks of the year meaning customers have more help than ever before.
“Not only does it mean no-one will go without the perfect gift this year, there’s no excuse to forget the sprouts.”
Tesco is also providing each of its 1,700 Express convenience stores with a dedicated staff member on Christmas Eve to help customers find any last-minute Christmas essentials.
Tony Hoggett, UK retail director at Tesco, said: “We all know what a busy time Christmas can be, so our colleagues will be on hand to help in any way they can, whether that’s helping to find that last-minute Christmas present or greeting customers with that extra bit of festive cheer.
“And for the first time, we will have a colleague dedicated to helping customers in each of our smaller Express stores this Christmas Eve when we know customers are busy trying to find those last minute essentials.
“Throughout the festive season we’ve been providing customers with ‘little helps’ to make Christmas that little bit easier, so we hope this festive season is relatively stress-free!”