Shoppers and retailers on whether floor arrows are working

Do you follow the arrows?

There's no denying the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we shop.

Apart from social distancing, plexiglass barriers and the constant use of hand sanitizer, many stores have placed tape arrow markers along the ground to create one-way aisles.

Castanet hit the streets to find out whether locals have been following the arrows, or shopping the way we did pre-pandemic.

"I try to follow them to make everybody else happy," one customer told Castanet. "Periodically I don’t, simply because I don’t see the arrow blending into the ground. Do I get wound up if someone’s going up the wrong way or down the wrong way? No." 

"If that’s what we’re supposed to do, I do it", said another. 

Some shoppers said they do try to follow the guiding arrows for the sake of social distancing, and reported wanting more stores to incorporate marked arrows in their layout. 

However, other shoppers said what's designed to keep order can actually become confusing, especially when needing to circle back around the store to get to an item that is just metres away. 

As for retailers, they say while most people are trying their best to follow the arrows, there are others who are either completely oblivious or actively voice their frustration at the system. 

"It works sometimes as long as people are actually paying attention to the arrows," says Running Room's Catherine Thompson.

"We only allow two people in the store at any given time so it’s easier to try and direct people when we’ve only got the two people in the store. When people walk in and don’t look at the signs and look at the arrows that’s when it gets a little bit chaotic and we have to hold people back at the door, but for the most part it’s working probably about 75 per cent of the time." 

A West49 employee at Orchard Park says most people who come into his store aren't following the arrows, and "it's not very common that they're actually going to pay attention to the floor." 

Other retailers reported focusing more of their efforts on minimizing the number of people in a store at any given time, rather than implementing the arrow system. 

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