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Store checkout line etiquette....(14 posts)

Store checkout line etiquette....Starliner
Aug 26, 2002 11:45 AM
Last night at the supermarket, I walked up to the checkout station with my one item, and encountered an untended hand basket, full of items, sitting on the conveyor that feeds up to the cashier.

With the cashier busy finishing up with another customer, I dropped my item on the conveyor in front of the basket, moving ahead of the basket and becoming next in line. Shortly thereafter, a woman comes up behind me and says, excuse me but you took cuts. I turned to her and, realizing she was the one with the basket, I replied, "Sorry, but you were not finished shopping. I was."

Clearly not convinced by my reasoning, the woman persisted, explaining that she simply had to go get only one more item she had forgotten to get. Shrugging but saying nothing, I held my ground, the cashier rung me up, and I left.

I'd be interested to know what anybody else would have done in this situation. Opinions?
I think the basket holds sway...TJeanloz
Aug 26, 2002 12:08 PM
While I would never do it, I think that the basket can hold a place in line, obviously within reason. I wouldn't expect that if the basket became first in line, without its owner, that everybody would wait for the owner to come back and finish her transaction before proceeding with theirs, but if the basket is in line alone, and the owner returns to a basket still in line- I think it is sufficient to hold a place.

Of course, if I were inconsiderate enough to use a basket to hold my place, I don't think I'd give anybody crap for cutting- I'd just silently think that they were rude.
You were rightPaulCL
Aug 26, 2002 12:11 PM
Particularly since you had only one item. She was rude. To leave the line, to leave the line with her basket on the conveyor, then to have the nerve to confront you. Some people have no sense.

Now, if she was gorgeous and you are single - that's another matter. If she weighed 300lbs and you are a skinny, 145lb cyclist - that's another matter too. :)

I would have done the same as you. Congrats for holding your ground.
Aug 26, 2002 12:12 PM
I think you were probably a bit too hasty.

If you moved up to reach the cashier and were immediately handled, the woman does not have a complaint. She was holding you and everyone else up.

If you moved ahead, sat there waiting for the cashier, and meanwhile the woman came back, that would qualify as taking cuts. She wasn't holding you up in this case.
Aug 26, 2002 12:20 PM
I think it's not quite "fair" to leave a basket to do more shopping, yet expect to keep the place. Nonetheless, I would not have jumped ahead unless it was time to checkout and she had not returned. She sure as heck should not expect anyone to wait on an unattended basket.

In situations such as this, I think courtesy and deference are the better ways to go. Unless you are trying to consciously over-come an inferiority complex, giving in does no harm, and you are the better person for it. You lose the battle, but win the war, so to speak.

Your courtesy should not be dependent upon another's. Do the nice thing regardless. I'd say it would be more likely that you'll teach her to do the same by being overly courteous, rather than resisting and teaching her to simply get her act togther before approaching the checkout.

Bend over backwards to be nice. It pays in the end.

re: Store checkout line etiquette....King Henry
Aug 26, 2002 12:16 PM
The CFTC rule book reads, in relevant part:

(18)(a)(ii)(3) No person who is waiting in the checkout line of a retail establishment held open to the public for the purchase of domestic or foreign food-type commodities shall be permitted to retain such person's place in such line by leaving an inanimate object in such person's place in such line while recommencing such person's shopping endeavors; provided, however, that nothing in this Section will prohibit such person from retaining such person's place in such line with an animate object, such as such person's significant other, child or pet.

Translated: If the other shopper didn't save her place with her husband, kid or dog, she's SOL.
not worth the battleColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2002 12:18 PM
anyone dumb enough to challenge your one item purchase is not worth arguing with. i would have let her go ahead of me but probably still explained that you didn't realize anyone was waiting so you went ahead.
really make the pointDougSloan
Aug 26, 2002 12:23 PM
Not only do you let her back in line, but offer to pay for her purchase for having caused her concern. Be so nice she feels badly.

When a clerk hands me 99 cents change, I always hand back 4 pennies and say "use these for the next people who need pennies." They usually get the point. Sort of the same idea.

Take it to the extreme....4bykn
Aug 26, 2002 1:17 PM
If her basket holds her place, why couldnt I, seeing that there were long lines at the checkout, put my full cart in line and go back to get the last ten items I "forgot".

I think you were completely in the right.
re: Store checkout line etiquette....DINOSAUR
Aug 26, 2002 1:52 PM
I would have waited patiently until the cashier had rung up the customer ahead of me and let him (or her) call it. I'm sure they deal with stuff like this all of the time. I'd say the lady was short a coupe of eggs in her basket anyway and not worth the time or energy to hassle with. But I'm retired and seldom ever in a hurry anyway. I sometimes let people go ahead of me if they look like they are in a hurry.

"Although I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry."
John Welsey
The PessimistKristin
Aug 26, 2002 3:17 PM
John, approaches the checkout line. After a long day on his feet, the last place he wanted to be was standing in the grocery store. He was glad that he'd taken the promotion. Being Cheif of Staff at Children's was a presigious position--an honor more than anything. But now his attentions were demanded and devided more than ever. John catches his mind wandering and refocuses on the duty at hand--buying a jug of milk.

Peculiarly, he notices a full basket of groceries is propped at the end of the express lane, but no shopper nearby to claim it. "Ugh," John moans, "Why can't people just get everything they need before they get into line? I bet it's a woman. They think they deserve some kind of special treatment, but don't want to be thought of as the weaker sex." John looks over his shoulder with agitation. The owner of the basket is nowhere to be seen, and there are now only two people in front of him. He tediously studies the basket, "Aha, just as I thought! Sixteen items. Well, that settles it! You snooze, you loose." John steps confidently past the basket and places his bottle of Oberwiese squarely in front of it. Why his wife insist on buying Oberweise he'd never understand.

Just then owner of the basket returns with a bag of juju beans. He tosses them casually into the basket and comments, "Excuse me, but I was there." He points to a now non-existent space somewhere between the Tums and the Bubblicious. Feeling his blood rise, John replies sarcastically, "Well, I was finished shopping, wasn't I?" The man squares up and sets his jaw. It's obvious he doesn't agree with the good doctor, but he decides not to wage a battle.

John eventually makes it home--having saved himself 5 minutes in the checkout line--and relaxes for the rest of the evening. He's glad that he has Lizzy. Otherwise, who would do the dishes? The next morning on rounds, he enters a small boy's room. The boy, very sick with a rare form of lymphoma, was just transferred in last night. As he reviews the sick childs chart, he glances up and notices a bag of Juju beans on the bedside table.

The Optimist. (coming soon)
Nice story, and an obvious message of perspectiverwbadley
Aug 26, 2002 4:07 PM
I had to think about this one a bit.

I mentally transported myself into the checkout line at our local, and went though the situation.

I came up with this result: I would wait in line behind the basket. If the customer ahead of the basket finished his/her transaction and left, then I would jump around the basket to the cashier.

I would allow the basket owner to reclaim their spot in line until the time the cashier became available...

Then I would whip out my sawed-off, and blow 'em away...

I come to this board to get away from work!!empacher6seat
Aug 26, 2002 5:09 PM
Yes, I am a part time cashier at a grocery store. Yes, this happens ALL the time. Usually people are very polite about it and don't care about a lost minute or two and will let people go ahead of them. Sometimes people will inform me ahead of time that they're leaving to get something and it's ok if I ring through another person's order while they're gone. however, a fist fight broke out over the whole ordeal once. It was quite the scene. I find that people argue their case not so much because of the time they'll lose by letting someone infront of them, just because they seem to be rude, inconsiderate people with insecurity problems and they feel you've got one up on them by starting out behind them, yet leaving the store first. Sad but true.
Basket has no rights.Alex-in-Evanston
Aug 27, 2002 12:38 PM
Just move right in there.