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Commentary Detail

Waiting Time
Commentary by: Tom Schlafly
Aired September 14, 2009

People in the City of St. Louis and its suburbs don't always see things the same way. Consider, for example, the impact of a grocery store on a neighborhood. When Schnucks opened its new store downtown nearby residents and businesses rejoiced and celebrated what they regarded as a wonderful amenity. But when Schnucks announced plans to open a new store in Ballwin some vocal residents howled in protest against a perceived blight in their neighborhood.

Most St. Louisans probably don't realize that we have the best supermarket service in America. At least that's the conclusion of a recent study by a national trade group called the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. The study in question calculated the average waiting time in grocery store check out lines all over the United States. Shoppers in Washington, DC had to endure the longest waits, averaging more than eight minutes. In Philadelphia the average wait was almost as long. In St. Louis, however, the average wait was a mere 59 seconds, the shortest in the country. Shoppers in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Portland and San Francisco had to wait more than four times as long as we do. In Miami and Baltimore the average wait was over five times as long.

What does all this mean? Whether one considers a grocery store a great community asset downtown or a threat to neighborhood tranquility in the suburbs, St. Louisans can be grateful that we enjoy better service at the check out line than shoppers in any other city in the United States.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Tom Schlafly

Tom Schlafly


Tom Schlafly is an attorney in St. Louis.

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