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FLORIDA SUPERMARKET SWEETENS WAITING AT THE CHECKOUT

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One Florida supermarket chain has found a way to keep customers satisfied and happy - even while waiting in a checkout line six people deep, notes a report on food shopping activities.

The secret is cookies, freshly baked in the chain's in-store bakery, according to researchers at The Howard Marlboro Group, a retail marketing-communications organization. The report notes that the chain has established a policy of distributing the cookies whenever there is a jam-up at the checkout counter.It doesn't happen often, but when there is a sudden business surge or a checkout computer malfunctions, the bakery people spring into action with their sweets.

In addition to calming patrons, the cookie treatment stops cuistomers from leaving the store in aggravation over long waits. Before the cookie policy was instituted, store managers would find five or six carts filled with groceries abandoned at the store after a jam-up.