Tips for choosing supermarket check-outs

Not sure that the time spent surveying the prospects wouldn’t cancel out any advantage one might identify!

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When in hurry,

avoid lines with chatty cashiers and customers.

avoid lines where people are using checkbooks.

avoid lines where there are no one’s bagging the mountain of groceries bought other than the cashier.

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don’t get in line behind me, because I am always in the slowest line.

I also have a knack for choosing the one item in an entire display that doesn’t have a price (happily this is getting less common with better barcode systems) and a truly uncanny ability to choose which lipstick color will be discontinued next. (every time I find a color I like…)

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If you shop at the same grocery all the time, you should know which cashiers are on top of things and which are either new or just don’t care.

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If the checker doesn’t have a bagger with them skip it . The one who knows the items and rings them up quickly . I quit going to one of the major supers in my area to shop at our age old grocer where the girls checking the items know all the prices . Because they alternate between stocking the goods and checking the groceries , Genius . And they always have a bagger to help them . And use all of the check out stands . I can’t stand waiting in line ten deep with two checkout stands open with the other eight not being used . What are they even there for .

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Shop at a better grocery store.

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I’ve very occasionally ran into baggers, but not a regular thing around here by any means. I figure they’re trainees or something, killing time.

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One of our local groceries has portable scanners. I pull my items from the shelf, scan them myself, and put them directly into my reusable bags. At checkout, in the dedicated lanes, everything downloads, I pay, and I’m out.

I think it’s brilliant.

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I used that system when I lived in France - it IS brilliant – everything gets packed into bags as you shop, and you only load and unload the cart ONCE, saving loads of time and wasted effort.

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The supermarket chain we shop at practices a 100% hiring effort 365 days a year. They cannot keep their stores staffed to each one’s payroll budget levels. Checkouts where we shop are slow and tedious because there are not enough 16 - 20 year olds who want to bag groceries six hours per day. Cashiers do not want to work six shifts per week even if, by contract, they earn overtime. Managers suffer burnout because they encounter and have to mollify malcontent shoppers each and every day. And then have to adjust for the hundreds of employee hours lost per week to “call ins”.

I’ve concluded that grocery shopping is not a pleasant experience for those working inside the doors.

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I’ve always wondered…how does this work that every single items gets scanned with no scams?

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I don’t know how it works, but I know that once or twice I simply forgot to scan an item and they always flagged me to go to the special aisle where you had to unload everything and scan it the “regular” way. (that aisle is specially marked, so it’s a little bit of a walk of shame to be in that one, as everyone knows that something went wrong…)

Once in a while, I’d find an item that wouldn’t scan despite my best intentions, but if I separated that item and gave it to the cashier with an apology, she’d always key it in manually for me. (French supermarkets hire runners on rollerblades to do price checks and to check the promo tags…but go figure, they won’t hire baggers!)

Semi off-topic, but one morning all hell broke loose because the new weekly flyer had come on, but nobody had bothered to take down the promo signs for the prior week’s flyers. They were good about it, and gave a full refund on all last week’s items, as they’d advertised it, but boy were there some upset customer service clerks!

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A Fairway opened near me several years ago, which opens at 6AM, seven days a week. I no longer have to deal with checkout lines.

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At our local market there is a random audit. Sometimes someone shows up and scans a half dozen items. Sometimes someone shows up and scans the whole basket. It doesn’t happen often but apparently often enough.

The “scan it yourself” approach is outstanding for me. I’m in and out much faster than ever before.

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Did you try to plan how you shop so you buy all your heavy/bulky items first so they go in the bottom of the bag? Or rearrange as you go?

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Nothing works for me. I just have bad karma. Whatever line I get into is guaranteed to be slowest.

Missed this post until now. Good. Some of the recommendations are pretty common sense though.

The store I shopped at most often had pantry items first, and bread and produce last, so it was sort of organic. Easy to adjust as you go, though.

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My personal experiences:

1/Self service aren’t the fastest. Clients aren’t very experienced locating the barcodes, there are always errors leading to a longer wait.

2/Male cashiers are twice faster than female ones, at least in the supermarket next to my home. In France, they aren’t common.

3/I give up looking for the quickest line. It’s better to try to entertain myself with my phone during my wait. Reading or commenting posts on HO is pretty good way.

You know, there should be an app for this, like Google maps.

Just point your phone and it would tell you which line to use to get there fastest.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold