HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

Crazy supermarket check-out experience

I recently posted my experience at the opening week-end of a Fairway supermarket, an event that has been anticipated for years. The following passage got enough response that I thought I should move that particular conversation to this thread.

"So we were in and out in an hour and the check out would have been OK except for the lady in front of us who had OCD and inisted that her final tab be exactly $75.00 to use the coupon. If it was $76.40 she had to remove an item.....or add an item, until the total was EXACTLY $75.00. I must say the cashier really kept her cool, because she would have been justified in telling her off."

To be clear, it was a $10 off coupon when you spend $75 or more.

The original thread is
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7013...

So, what do you do when the line comes to a screeching halt because of one person with a (to my mind) ridiculous issue? What should management do? In this case I couldn't move to another line because every line was long and I had gotten to the point of almost being able to unload my cart.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. That is just a teeth gnashingly weird experience. I'm not sure what I would have done, except for maybe a hard stare or two. Then just grabbed a magazine and start reading.

    Looks like management was there trying to resolve the issue, not sure what more they could have done especially if the rest of the checkout counters were open. But I would have apologized to you if I'd been the supervisor.

    The whole idea of having be 75 exactly is the part I can't get my head around. Mind you when I was on a strict budget I would add up my items in the cart with a calculator as i went, and then pick and choose. But that was in the aisles before i got to the checkout counter.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cosmogrrl

      depending on the city/county/state you are shopping in you may have to take sales tax into account on some or all items, in some locations a different tax on different items.

    2. "one person with a (to my mind) ridiculous issue?"

      Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm assuming you're not an OCD sufferer then?

      As for what management should have done? Obvious - just cull the woman and let folk get on with their shopping.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Harters

        Yes, not personally affected by OCD, which is why I said "to my mind". And also why I waited patiently and did not make the situation worse by outwardly expressing my inner frustration. But that inner frustration needed venting, so it was included in my review of the shopping experience. And to be fair, I don't know that it was a case of OCD, it just fit my pop culture sense of what OCD is. Apologies if offense was taken.

      2. maybe she had only $65 on her.

        1 Reply
        1. re: smartie

          I was thinking that, but she paid by credit card. AmEx Gold to be exact.

        2. My response would have been 'here's a buck fifty (or whatever the overage was) , let's keep this moving'....

          12 Replies
          1. re: jeanmarieok

            That would have been my inclination too.

            1. re: meatn3

              Ain't no way I'm subsidiing a pain in the ass like that... JMHO

              1. re: EWSflash

                I view it as a cheap solution to a situation which is costing me time and frustration. A buck or two is quite worth it to me to be able to let everyone get back to business. Sometimes it even can be the reality dose that gets the person holding up the line to realize what they are doing.

                1. re: meatn3

                  I get the idea of trying to 'awaken' the perpetrator of this interruption to your life's pace. Unfortunately I find that people who will spend that much time over something that you can't really know the reason behind are usually beyond your power of suggestion. The thing that is more easily changed is the way the store handles it.

                  But then there's the issue here that we don't really know if this situation took two minutes, ten or more. It isn't specified in the original post, I don't think. I'm in the "life's too short" school, but on the side that says it's too short to too aggravated over the minor stuff. Not that I don't get riled sometimes, but I try to keep it under control.

                  One of the best examples of unnecessary angst I've seen here was a post where someone bemoaned that they had to wait in line at Trader Joe's while the checker asked the customer ahead how their weekend had been. You just can't win with some people, I guess. Can't say as I miss growing up in New York................ if you get the idea. I thought it had mellowed some.

                  1. re: Midlife

                    Certainly it did not annoy me as much as some of the drivers around here who need to be first so badly, that they will pass you on the exit ramp or the left-turn-only lane..

                    1. re: Midlife

                      I guess my phrasing didn't really convey my thoughts that well. Not so much that I'd be trying to alert them to how their actions were interrupting the flow. My thought is when someone is that hyper focused a certain obsessive button has been kicked into overdrive. I find that sometimes a new, unexpected interruption can help break the cycle - like a splash of cold water in a way. It allows the person a new way to move forward, one which they may not have been able to reach easily on their own.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        meantn3,

                        Good luck with that. My wife works at a 'better' department store and just had a customer who selected a high-priced item that had a 'gift-with-purchase' companion item. The woman changed her mind after it had been rung up, had my wife credit her for the main item, then argued with her that she should get to keep the 'gift-with-purchase'. That's how some people are!

                        I don't disagree with your basic premise, but I doubt most of us are skilled enough to know if someone is in the state you describe or just fixed on a goal - like making sure they only spend $60 at the market ($75 with $15 off). There really are people whose budget is that tight. I'd still like to know how long this took.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          Didn't have a timepiece handy, but my inner clock is pretty accurate. It was at least 10 minutes but seemed longer.

                          1. re: jcmods

                            Whatever you do, do NOT move to the south. It will drive you completely mad.

                        2. re: meatn3

                          I'm with you meatn3. My time is worth something to me, and to just give her that cash would have been a nice way to both help her stop being so annoying (if only for a moment) and to get things moving. Well worth it.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Go for it guys. I'm obviously on a different planet on this one.

                            1. re: Midlife

                              I've work with the public for so long that I generally have a pretty good read on where they are coming from. Once in awhile I'm totally off, but not often. It is a skill born from much past frustration!

              2. oh well people are odd sometimes. I remember standing behind a guy in Walgreens who had brought his receipt back because he hadn't got his buy one get one free or a coupon hadn't been deducted - I can't remember which. He made a big point of telling the manager that he had got home and checked his receipt and driven all the way back. Cost of coupon/BOGO? 50c. A whole long line behind him were getting impatient for his 50c but of course, sigh, he told us all it was the principle, even though we all told him the cost of gas was probably more.

                1. I know this isn't true everywhere, but in our local grocery stores, you weigh your own produce in the produce dept, and the scale prints a scannable sticker. The cashier can then scan the produce as quickly as anything else.

                  Unless you don't.

                  I've noticed more and more people in the cashier line with produce bagged but not scanned & labeled. Slows down everything as the cashier looks up codes and weighs each bag. Plus with the huge diversity of produce items these days, often the cashier doesn't even know what it is.

                  We chalk this up to the store being in an affluent suburd with spoiled prima donas that crave the individual attention, but i'd love to know if it really happens more in high-end neighborhoods.

                  40 Replies
                  1. re: WNYamateur

                    If a store gives me the option to label my produce, I hardly think I am a prima donna if I am not interested in providing them with that service.

                    Also I find it rather astounding that supermarket employees, managers and apparently some customers, do not believe it is a cashiers job to be able to identify produce.

                    1. re: Kater

                      In our area the markets are starting to use self-checkouts where you identify the produce on the screen and it weighs them right there. It even gives you options as to what type of bag is being used, so you don't pay for the bag's weight. The only problem with them is that they're computers and have glitches from time to time.

                      The idea, for the market, is to save checker salaries, but these lines are almost always shorter than the checker lines, so it's a win-win. In fact (shhhhhh!) you really can scam the store by calling an artichoke and onion and paying accordingly. I don't think many people do that, but it's a cost to the store if they do. Not sure why I added that last part.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        I've often wondered about that. We have it at a few grocery stores here but generally the ones that I don't like. I attempted it once and it was a nightmare!

                        don't steal music

                        or artichokes

                          1. re: Kater

                            Agreed! Inviting bad music karma is bad enough, but inviting bad food karma can have serious consequences!

                          2. re: Midlife

                            Those things are so annoying! I tried using them because they were open and it should be faster, right? There are built-in limitations about how fast you can scan items and place them in the bag. And there's a weight sensor in the bag to check that you put in the item you scanned. If there's a discrepancy (and there always is), you have to wait for someone to come bail you out.

                            I don't get it, I just want to buy ONE item (like spur of the moment ice cream) and leave, but the machine forces me to put in the bag for the weight sensor to check before I can scan my card...

                            It pisses me off nearly as much as airport security...

                            1. re: hye

                              They have a new system just getting a foothold in Europe. When you go in, you swipe your loyalty card, and pick up a handheld scanner as you walk in the door.

                              You do your shopping, scanning AND BAGGING everything as you go, then at the end, you go to a special checkout line and hand the clerk your scanner. She uploads your ticket, and spotchecks your bags (they especially look for high-dollar stuff, and they DO rummage all the way down to the bottom of the bag). After 8-10 items have cross-checked okay, they take care of anything that didn't scan (happily pretty rare), things that are on clearance, and any coupons you might have.

                              She hits a button, and it spits out a ticket with a bar code. On you go to the checkout computer about 5 feet further down the lane. Scan the bar code, and it spits out your receipt, further processes any loyalty-card discounts you have coming, and processes your payment.

                              No waiting in line for the OCD, people who run back for just one more item, the guy who forgot all his bags, the lady who can't find her wallet...and you don't have to unload and repack everything in your cart. All that, AND there's a real live person to take care of any issues.

                              I love me this system -- saves me hours of waiting in line.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Bloom grocery stores in the southeast US have similar scan/bag as you shop options, and I'm sure there are chains in other parts of the US that have it as well.

                                1. re: mpjmph

                                  I haven't shopped in the US in long enough that I couldn't begin to say...and haven't heard of it from family or friends, so had no idea if it was being floated there or not.

                                2. re: sunshine842

                                  I've seen the scanners at some Giant stores in the DC area.

                                  1. re: Fromageball

                                    Yes they have it here on Long Island at Stop and Shop, I don't know how they are comfortable with it. People will probably leave an item or two unscanned just to see if they get away with it. Not that I know exactly how it works, but it seems weird to me. Maybe the money they lose is made up by saved payroll, what do I know?

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Our grocery store had it for about a year and got rid of it. I thought it was a good idea because I could bag as I go but there always seemed to be some product that had to be set aside for an employee to scan. Or I couldn't find the code for the produce item I bought. I think it was just too problematic.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Damn! My boyfriend thought of that idea a couple weeks ago. We spent many glasses of wine trying to figure out how to make something like that work.... Looks like we were beat to the punch!

                                    2. re: Midlife

                                      I used to use the self-checkout thingies but they were always accusing me of stealing stuff (weight didn't jibe, I guess) and I always ended up waiting for en employee to help me. For that, I'd rather start with a live cashier. Providing jobs is the way I see it. I feel the same way about self-checkin at airports.

                                      1. re: silkenpaw

                                        Yeah, I've found I'm too fast for the self scans and sometimes get the item in the bag before the computer is ready, then the machine thinks I didn't bag them item.

                                        1. re: silkenpaw

                                          I hate hate HATE self-checkouts. I never use them if I have any alternative. They're ALWAYS an extra hassle because something won't scan properly and then you have to stand there and wait for the assistant to come bail you out, while your icecream is melting and you can't do anything except wait.

                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                            While I've certainly had issues with self-checkout at times, and I tend to use it only when I have just a relatively few items and the lines are long, it is definitely a time saver for me. 99% of the time our local markets have someone stationed right at the self-checkouts so there's very little wait time if something doesn't scan properly. Most of the time when I need help it's because I've made a mistake myself, like not entering a code properly from a produce sticker.

                                            My only complaint about the self-checkouts is that the markets haven't figured out a way to create one line for each bay of 4 checkouts and people will cut in front of you if you try to form a central waiting line instead of waiting at a single checkout.

                                            1. re: Kajikit

                                              I also hate the way the stupid machine sits there and yells at you. Or it decides you've put something in your bag without scanning it when you DID scan it.

                                              Even with the non-existent bagging skills most cashiers display these days (yesterday one of them crushed my coriander under a pile of cans) I'd rather a person got that salary than have the money they think they "save" on salary go to some corporate honcho so he can buy his mistress a condo in Bimini.

                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                No disrespect, but.......................would it do any good to suggest that some of the money they save with self-checkout might also be going toward lower prices, health care, shareholder value, keeping the jobs of the rest of the staff, or anything else in that vein? I'm not dead between the ears but I don't automatically assume the worst, especially in an economy that just doesn't seem to be able to get out of its own way. I'm just getting a little tired of totally polarized thought lately.

                                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                  I agree. I hate using the self-checkout most of the time. If I have more than one or two things, it seems to take as long if not longer than having waited in line. And if you need to buy alcohol in the self-check it takes awhile usually.

                                                  I hate that thing talking at me, too. They never have a place to set your purse or basket. Even if you have a cart it feels to me like a juggling act trying to get my wallet out, shoppers card & money or debit card.

                                                  Just such a hassle to me all in all. I could see having some of these registers for peeps that have one item & are in a hurry, but I despise when all that is open is self check. I like to be waited on, talk to the cashier sometimes... My husband was spot on saying we are all going to be replaced by computers & robots. We have seen SO many more self checks installed recently. There are people that need those jobs.

                                                  1. re: MrsJTW

                                                    ...and I think self checkout should ONLY be for a few items, like an express line. Here, people have an overflowing cart and think it's fine to do it there, when they obviously don't have the know how to get it done expeditiously.

                                                2. re: Kajikit

                                                  I use them all the time and rarely have a problem. And I use the time I save by not waiting in the (usually) longer lines for a human cashier to visit honchos mistresses in Bimini! ;-)

                                              2. re: Midlife

                                                It is lose lose for unemployed supermarket checkers and the economy. We never use self-checkout in any store.

                                                1. re: susans

                                                  so we should continue to employ people who stand around gossiping with their coworkers or on their cellphone while a line forms in front of them, only to snarl and glare their way through their shift, asking what every vegetable is before slowly looking it up on the chart (okay, I understand asking if it's cilantro or mint...but you don't know what a tomato is?!), then making sure that the eggs and bread are under everything else?

                                                  Sorry, I'll check mine out myself.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    In 50 years of retail shopping I've never experienced such a scenario. I'm thankful its so rare. I have had the occasional apparently clueless teenager who had to call her boss over to show her how to do something complicated on the cash register, but to be fair, the cash register used to be a much simpler device. If change was needed, it was one button punch and the drawer opened up. Now they have to call a supervisor, enter a code, enter another code, and sometimes also resort to a physical key hanging around said supervisor's neck, just to get a nickel's extra change.

                                                    These things happen. I still prefer a human cashier. I've never had a human cashier yell at me. The stupid "self-checkout" scanners yell at me all the time.

                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                      I started using self-checkouts out of sheer disgust - because my experience in the US is proportionally opposite to yours. Doesn't matter what supermarket chain you're talking about -- and I'm not a difficult customer. I just want to get my groceries, pay, and get out the door.

                                                      Self-checkout for me means I only rarely think about throttling the cashier.

                                                      and over here? Self-checkout or the self-scanning option I mentioned somewhere else on this thread are self-preservation. Not because of the cashiers, who are generally far more pleasant than their US counterparts, but because of the other shoppers.

                                                      They'll roll a cart full of groceries to the register, unload half of it on the belt, then decide that they forgot something, get back, wait for it all to pile up at the end of the counter before they even THINK about beginning to bag it up (no baggers in French groceries).

                                                      Then we don't have enough bags, so then we have to go find another bag and get that rung up.

                                                      And we wouldn't DARE think about paying until we have it all bagged.

                                                      Oh, money? We need money? Where's my purse? Where's my wallet?

                                                      Ad infinitum....makes you crazy in a hurry.

                                            2. re: WNYamateur

                                              One of my local grocery chains used to have those produce scale/scanners, but they've gotten rid of them in the past year. I'd used them about 3/4 of the time, but often one (or more) wouldn't be functional, the sheet with the produce codes was missing, or the scale itself was just plain wet. Plenty of people did NOT use them--doesn't make them divas (nor was I a diva when I didn't use it). FWIW, I'm in an ordinary middle-class locale.

                                              1. re: WNYamateur

                                                Customers in German supermarkets have been weighing their own produce for years. Once I got used to it, I loved it, really moves things along in the checkout line.

                                                BTW, you don't have the option of having the cashier weigh your produce. If you haven't done it, you're sent back to the produce department to do it yourself.

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  And at some supermarkets in Brazil, there's an employee (or two) in the produce department who weighs and tags your bagged produce before you go to the register. Definitely helps the checkout lines move more quickly.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    I think you can expand that to "most of Europe" -- there are a couple of small grocers that weigh stuff at the checkout, but in mid-sized to large stores, you better weigh it before you leave the produce department.

                                                    If you don't, you either abandon that item at the checkout (because the checkouts don't even HAVE scales) or you collect all your groceries and go back to the produce department to weigh it, because they will kick you out of the line.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      I don't know about "most of Europe" but, here in the UK, it's common for produce to be weighed at checkout.

                                                      FWIW, in Spain where things are weighed in the greengrocery section, they invariably have a member of staff to weigh it for you.

                                                    2. re: pikawicca

                                                      The first time I ran across that system (in Italy) the cashier took pity on the poor clueless American and had someone in the produce department weigh it for me.

                                                      I do like self-check for small purchases, but it does take some practice until you can use the system to scan as efficiently as a checker.

                                                    3. re: WNYamateur

                                                      I've only experienced this scan system for produce 20 years ago when I lived in Puerto Rico.
                                                      The first time through I had no idea what the process was - at the cashier station I was sent back with explanations. Worked fine after that and really sped things up at cash out!

                                                      That produce dept. was arranged so that you were funneled through an area with the scanner/printers. Only down side was that you had to wrap everything in a plastic bag for the label to stick to.

                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                        I used to stick the label onto the actual produce sometimes. Yeah, I got weird looks when I had a sweet potato or grapefruit with a label on it! But of course, this is produce-dependent, as it doesn't work too well with a bunch of wet kale! The market no longer has these scanners though.

                                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                                          When our store had the hand held scanners, I would just stick the labels on the back of my shopping list and then just boom, boom, boom, scan them all when I was done shopping.

                                                          1. re: nofunlatte

                                                            I do that too. No one looks at me funny, but I don't get asked if I want paper or plastic, they assume I have an aversion to plastic ;) Really my aversion is to plastic I can't reuse.

                                                        2. re: WNYamateur

                                                          <We chalk this up to the store being in an affluent suburd with spoiled prima donas>

                                                          I'm not the supermarket's employee to be doing their work for them. Besides, as I see it, I am providing job security for the cashier by having them do more work.

                                                          1. re: silkenpaw

                                                            But the more cashiers they have, the more they have to charge you in the end, don't you think?

                                                            1. re: coll

                                                              Absolutely. Job security is not an excuse for inefficiency. I'm fine with pumping my own gas and pushing my own elevator buttons and printing my own boarding passes. If self-checkout saves me time and/or money, I'm happy to do it.

                                                        3. I like the idea that was offered to buck up the buck fifty lol, sometimes sanity is worth a small price. The situation must have sucked for both the cashier and the person in line, I'm sure they were aware that they were holding up the line, but when your brain gets stuck on something like that, it leaves you between a rock and a hard place.

                                                          I would have made a point to be extra nice to the cashier for being so calm with a difficult customer, he/she deserved a kudos for that. I've been on that end before. Yea, cashiers deal with some screwy folk (much worse than this gal). But it helps a lot if the next customer is understanding, it helps [b]immensely[/b]. I also would have made it a point to let a manager know that the cashier did a wonderful job dealing with a difficult situation with kindness and a smile.

                                                          "I know this isn't true everywhere, but in our local grocery stores, you weigh your own produce in the produce dept, and the scale prints a scannable sticker. The cashier can then scan the produce as quickly as anything else."

                                                          That's pretty cool! I've never seen that before.

                                                          11 Replies
                                                          1. re: Popkin

                                                            I've seen it in Italy, but not here. I'm with Kater -- I don't think it's being a prima donna, I think it's not being familiar with what seems to be an idiosyncratic practice. And yes, checkers should be trained to recognize the produce items, especially since most produce (fruit, bunched items) comes with little stickers with the codes on them. At the very least, they need to know if the customers have scanned and labeled the items correctly. Anyone who thinks it's too challenging for checkers to recognize the "huge diversity" of produce items these days should meet the checkers at the Berkeley Bowl, who manage to identify correctly not only what every item from their vast produce section is, but which one of the ten sizes, grades, or subvarieties of the item the store carries it is.

                                                            But back to the original issue, I think the best option would have been for the cashier to void out the whole transaction and have the manager take her over to the customer service desk and deal with her there. As a fellow customer, you can only stand there and look long-suffering.

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              I agree completely. Even if you self weigh and scan the produce, the checker needs to make sure that the customer picked the right product variety and actually weighed all of the product. Otherwise it would be so easy for someone to mislabel something as a cheap variety or weigh one item and then put 3 extras into the bag. Looking at it from the standpoint that a checker really should know what every item is and have some idea of what it costs, it shouldn't really make that much of a time difference if a person scans it herself or has the checker do it. If a supermarket views itself as a higher end place with correspondingly high prices, I expect a certain level of service from the checkers. If I go to a bare bones place where I know going in I'm saving money by doing a lot of the work myself, I have no problem with it.

                                                            2. re: Popkin

                                                              Good grief! I don't think there's a single place in Tucson that does that! But the hospital where I work is gearing up to do the same thing with patients- bar code scanners, wristband printers, the whole shootin' match.

                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                Sorry, but just got a mental picture of a patient in a hospital gown being scanned at a supermarket checkout line......

                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                  Just recently in a very good hospital where we did, indeed, have bar codes on our wrist bracelets and got scanned every time the nurse did something or gave us something. I spend a lot of itme chatting with the nurses and once they actually got used to the syste, the rolling carts that kept the computer system, the scanners, and the meds, they actually really like the system a lot. The Dr's notes get entered into the system so there isn't a whole lot of the miserable deciphering Dr's handwriting, the system is looking for med errors, checking patient weight against dosages, other medication interactions, over medication, etc. it actually worked pretty well.

                                                                  1. re: aggiecat

                                                                    I've had the same experience at two different hospitals in the last two years. I first saw it just over 6 years ago when my sister was in the hospital over Christmas while we were visiting.

                                                                    1. re: aggiecat

                                                                      My stepfather just had surgery in a hospital with a bar code bracelet system. They also have a monitor in the waiting area that displays each patient's code # along with their current status/location and estimated time until the next stage of the process so family members can keep track of their progress (similar to an airport arrivals board).

                                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                                        I have had recent similar experiences in hospitals in both Minnesota and Arizona. They still seem to ask for names and DOBs while doing the scanning however.

                                                                        As an aside, I recently stopped my dad from donating a can of food (I think it was canned plums, of all things) to a food shelf because there was no UPC on the can.

                                                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                                                    It's been many years since supermarkets here (suburban Boston) had produce dept clerks weighing your items there. You take your bagged produce to the cash register for that. When I had a hospital stay last year, they had instituted the bar-coded wristbands that had to be scanned to match up with prescriptions and test orders, which to my mind is a good safety precaution. Also, before the doctors and nurses begin procedures, they have to do a checklist ritual, identifying patient and what is to be done. My doctor shorthanded this by saying that he'd treated me for 10 years (he's a specialist who does a lot of one-time procedures on patients referred from other regions/countries) so he knew what he was doing. No artichokes involved.

                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                      pretty soon patients will be taking their own vital signs, bringing themselves meals and giving themselves medications. Talk about taking personal responsibility for your health!

                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                        The Cleveland Clinic gives each patient a badge with an RFID chip so their computers/scanners can find every patient anywhere on the hospital property... I've also seen hospitals use RFID or bar codes to track tools and sponges used during surgery. Everything gets scanned as it's used, then scanned again at the end to make sure all items are accounted for.

                                                                    2. I worked a 2nd job for several years at a retail store notorious for putting out a number of coupons that are increasingly hard to use because a) so many of the products in the store are excluded from the coupons and b) it's very hard to get to the exact dollar amount on the coupon, as most things generally would ring up within 4 or 5 cents of the amount required to spend to use the coupon, and most people don't want to add on an additional item to bring them over the minimum spend, as then they're spending way more than they wanted to - same as the shopper. In my case, it was even worse because you had to keep people waiting in line while you ran around on the floor with the shopper trying to find something low priced that you could add on, or something they could swap out for one of their other items that would be just a bit more which would put them over the coupon, but not too much over. After 2 or 3 suggestions you'd have to give up and leave them to figure it out themselves as you had other people to wait on, which annoyed the first shopper. Or, you wouldn't have anyone else to wait on, and could easily blow an hour working with the person to find the exact items they could purchase to get them at the limit without hardly going over. It's not very much fun.

                                                                      There's really not much you can do with a situation like this. At least in the supermarket case, all the items she has are in front of her and the cashier has to play the game with things that are at hand instead of going back into the store for various items, but it's just not much fun for the other shoppers.

                                                                      I hate to tell you, but that woman is not that unusual.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                        I thought that's what the impulse items at the checkout were for, just grab a candy bar or pack of gum already! That's what I like about the self checkout, you have four chances of not being held up, instead of gambling on one line.

                                                                      2. I guess the only thing you really can do is to get the manager to intervene. Perhaps they can take the crazy lady aside and have them work out the total on their own time not that of the other customers or the store.

                                                                        1. From a John Pinette comedy routine:

                                                                          "I go to the grocery store, and there are horrible lines. And I always get behind the coupon ladies, and they [seeing a face in the crowd} -- yeah, coupon ladies you BITCH. Now write a check for seven dollars!"

                                                                          1. Reading this post and quite a few of the responses here makes me sad. It could be that someone anxious to meet an exact total is playing a prank, but more likely there is something wrong. The market manager should have stepped in, opened another line, etc. The direction of hostility to what could be a person in crisis seems misplaced.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                              The original poster did assume something was wrong ("OCD"), and some people also suggested other reasons why the person might be acting that way. I didn't sense much hostility. Impatience, perhaps.

                                                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                                                You're right about that, but not everybody with a behavioral health disorder that's about to pop wears a sign. When I've been in our inpatient behavioral health facility, the bulk of the patients that you see are hanging around the nursing station, and you don't usually see them as "crazy", more likely snarky, argumentative for whatever reason, having an axe to grind with somebody for some reason. I've seen people like that at the grocery stores, troublemakers, in other words. At some point they have to check out and that's when the manager can and should step in and gett that person out of the checkout aisle.

                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                  I understand entirely, and goodness knows I've likely (definitely) missed signs in the past. But when I do read of someone frantically trying to make a perfectly round total, I get the sense that it's either a prank, or someone on the verge. But either way, I think the manager should step in and manage the situation-- open another aisle, remove the person, etc.
                                                                                  I also appreciate that even people in crises can be pains in the ass. It's more in the comments of a thread, when we can step back, that I'd like to see at least another attempt to read the situation.

                                                                              2. Once I read that this happened at Fairway, it didn't seem crazy or unbelievable to me.

                                                                                Love that place (I frequent the one on Manhattan's UWS), but man, it really brings out the worst in so many shoppers.

                                                                                1. "So, what do you do when the line comes to a screeching halt because of one person with a (to my mind) ridiculous issue?"

                                                                                  Laugh. When really absurd things happen you laugh (and later "dine out" on that story for years to come).

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                    Absolutely! The best diner party stories you'll ever tell have their roots in truly horrendous experiences.

                                                                                  2. People have different mental and emotional abilities. We ALL eat and being able to shop as an individual any time is a um..unmonitored activity. And can you say... a personal right, as well?

                                                                                    Sometime, not often, I think you might admit, they are the person ahead of us at the check-out. What you see as "ridiculous: issue, may be critically important to that person. Behaviors we now try to help, say Ausbergers; were not diagnosed years ago. That person is dealing.

                                                                                    It is a random act of kindness to be patient. And those who know me, know how hard that act is... is kindness.

                                                                                    And just so you understand me; once at a GREAT sale on canned cat food, I bought a huge amount. hey it doesn't go bad! The woman behind me chose to comment, "Wow you must be some crazy cat lady." I stared her down and said, "Nope! School lunches."

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Quine

                                                                                      "Wow you must be some crazy cat lady." I stared her down and said, "Nope! School lunches."

                                                                                      You are awesome.

                                                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                                                        ROFL.

                                                                                        Beats mine - carried the empty propane tank into the store to exchange it...young clerk asked if I needed to exchange it. Nope, I carry my keys around in this.

                                                                                        He stared at me for a good 5 seconds before it all clicked.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Wow. There are signs all over at the propane exchange places, and the places that refill them, in Minnesota saying to NOT bring the tanks inside. They never know if somebody has a partially full tank and whether the valve is completely shut.

                                                                                          A few years ago in a Minneapolis suburb a guy brought his partially full propane tank into his basement "to work on it". He ended up blowing up his entire house. As I recall he did survive because he went upstairs to get something.

                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                            except that I'd been standing outside in 95-degree heat and 85% humidity for 15 minutes while a virtual parade of employees walked past me without even a nod of acknowledgement....and no such sign anywhere.

                                                                                            Walking into an airconditioned store for 5 minutes with a completely empty cylinder (it ran out in the middle of dinner the night before) is hella different than "working on it" (what on EARTH would possess you to work on a propane cylinder is beyond my comprehension -- I spent a lot of time in and around the welding industry -- qualified professionals only, please, to do anything other than open and close the valve.)

                                                                                        2. re: Quine

                                                                                          Actually I wonder about whether it does go bad....we had a bunch of canned cat food in our garage that was the only thing our poor old sick cat could eat. Of course, she did what poor old sick cats do and went to that great catbox in the sky. Now we have a new cat, and my husband figured he might as well get rid of some of that cat food...so he fed it to her. I noted it was a month or so past the "use by" date, but didn't think it would be a problem. Well, new cat puked all over the place a few minutes after eating it...coincidence? Maybe, but it went in the garbage just the same....

                                                                                          1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                            Yeah, if mine decide they don't like the food they either puke it or try to bury it - on the laminate floor.

                                                                                        3. My biggest pet peeve with situations like this is when the line is a mile long and another cashier comes along to open a new line, rarely do they come up to the first person who would technically be next in line and invite them to the new check stand. They usually just announce they're open and the last 5 people in the line dart over to the new line. Drives me insane.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Azizeh

                                                                                            then there are the ones who lay their goods on the conveyor belt and as it runs they pick off items they have decided they don't really want, or want a credit on because it went through the beeper already.
                                                                                            Then they hand over 3 gift or credit cards and say see what's on that one, take off more from that one and the remainder on that one. Then there's those folks who forget something and have to run to the back of the store to get their milk or salad dressing.
                                                                                            oh well, I must learn patience but it's soooooooo hard.

                                                                                            1. re: smartie

                                                                                              And then there are the ones who are trying to use expired coupons or to get a price from another supermarket matched or just get a better deal than the price that's marked. Or trying to return some old crap that they obviously didn't even buy at that store in the first place. It gets better when they act like they don't understand why they can't get whatever it is, in the hopes that the cashier will give it to them to make them go away. They get more and more indignant until the manager is called, and on and on.

                                                                                              1. re: bibi rose

                                                                                                ha this reminds me of an old couple who bought a box of milk chocolates in Walgreens and wanted to use the coupon for $2 off. The cashier told them numerous times that the coupon is NOT for the milk chocs just the dark ones so to go and change the box out. They refused saying they wanted the milk ones. On and on this goes ad infinitum the line is now 10 or 12 customers long. In the end the cashier gave in for the sake of peace and to keep things moving and the couple got their chocs minus 2 bucks.
                                                                                                Of course they can dine out on how persistence pays off!! We schmucks dine out on the wait in line.

                                                                                              2. re: smartie

                                                                                                You have no idea how many times I have been cut off during check out. In my experience, I have been cut off more so by women than men and it is almost the certain age group of women. Not sure why it is so and I never say anything because I am rarely in a hurry. I guess I also don't want to make a scene.

                                                                                            2. This is the funnist thing I have read for a long time. Well, there is no clear line since it depends on the situations and timing. What is an acceptable question at slow hours may not be an acceptable question during busy hours.

                                                                                              I also have OCD, but mine has to do with knives:

                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687069

                                                                                              Ha ha ha. I like to think I am not getting worse. :)

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                But your OCD isn't a bug, it's a Chowhound feature!

                                                                                                FYI, I have that obsessive tick about making sure the stove burners and the curling iron are off. I now say OUT LOUD that the burners/iron are off--makes me remember it so that I don't have to go back into the house once I've backed out of the garage.

                                                                                                1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                  nofunlatte,

                                                                                                  I think at one point I were constantly worrying about leaving the burners on too. I had gotten to the car only to walked back to the apartment to really double check the burners are off. I have never left the house with the stove on, but I have accidentially left the stove on while taking a shower. I think those one or two incidents got me scared. I think I am over that now.

                                                                                                  I have also stopped eating hot breakfasts. Now, I either eat cereals, microwave last meal or most often, just skip breakfasts. As such, I do not have to wonder "Did I left the stove on?" while at work. Now, I didn't skip breakfast because of this. I skipped breakfast because I like to sleep in late. Still, it is another benefit of skipping breakfast.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    I didn't know I had OCD! I solved some of it by getting an iron that turns off after 15 minutes, and a coffee maker that turns off after 2 hours. And not making hot breakfast if I'm leaving the house. Now, my bugaboo is, did I lock the door, or worse, didn't pull it shut so the cats can escape (it's not the best hung door, pops open sometimes). I usually get all the way down to the end of the block before I freak out and turn around to make sure.

                                                                                                    Did you ever hear the story about the wife who, every time they went on a trip, would tell her husband a half hour later that she was positive she had left the iron on, and made him go back to check? It never was, of course. After years of this, a half hour into another trip, she told him they had to go home and check the iron, they argued about the chances she left it on, she was positive she did, and then he reached around and pulled it out of the back seat. Clever man!

                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                      My husband made a cab driver drive him back home mid-way to the airport (about an 45 minute drive) THREE times once because he wasn't sure he'd locked the door. On the third (and final) trip, the cabbie said to him "You better make sure that door is locked, because we're not coming back!"

                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      I used to heat water for my morning tea in a really cute teapot. After one two many times of having to go back from work to check that the burner was off, I decided the microwave was the way to go. Good Will got a nice donation.

                                                                                                      1. re: dratlover

                                                                                                        You heat water in a kettle. You make tea in a teapot. You should have switched to an electric kettle that switches off as soon as it boils. I have one on my wish list. My problem is that I can't always get to a whistling kettle in time and the steam makes it pop its top! But I always turn off the burner.

                                                                                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                          we all have to find the equipment that works best for us in our individual situations.

                                                                                                          If the microwave works well for dratlover...that's as fine as the kettle working well for you.

                                                                                                  2. I would have definitely made some noise, whether it helps or not. That's just plain asinine.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: theperfectcookie

                                                                                                      I would have eventually said something like "Please, ma'am,I have to meet my child at the bus stop" or "I have a meeting to get to" (even if it were not stricltly true). At some point people need to be made aware of the inconvenience they are causing other people.

                                                                                                    2. I don't know if anyone mentioned this upthread, but the reason why the woman wanted to only spend exactly $75 was probably because she didn't want to spend a penny more to get that 10 dollars due to her. I think it was all about "rate of return", not OCD. The less she spent overall, the higher the rate of return. Either way, I'm glad I wasn't in line behind her.

                                                                                                      On Opening day at Fairway Pelham, I overheard a woman complaining to the manager that she hadn't gotten a gift bag -- the same that was given to the first 400 customers that day. She complained to the manager saying, "I got here really early, and well, if your cashiers weren't so slow, I would have gotten one". I walked away shaking my head -- I just couldn't believe she had said that to him. Apparently people just say whatever's on their mind.

                                                                                                      1. according to my local news this morning, researchers in the UK came up with the definitive wait time before anger, frustration, yelling and violence starts! 10 minutes and 41 seconds.

                                                                                                        Personally I would have started getting irritable earlier than this in the supermarket but would not, however, resort to violence. Older people have less patience than younger people the report said, but that younger people more frequently get aggressive and say something.

                                                                                                        1. I was in line at a grocery store once in December and the store was really busy. A lady in front of me was wearing a long, winter coat. While she was waiting in line, a canned ham fell out of her coat and clattered to the floor. She looked down at the ham, her head snapped up and around and she said in a very loud voice, "Who threw that ham at me"?

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                            *claps* No more entries, folks, we have a winner!

                                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                                    Small h, an urban Chowhound myth buster! ;-D>

                                                                                                                1. I was behind someone who was purchasing about 15 cans of soup and fruit. I got in the line because the person in the other line had a cart full of items and I thought it would be faster. Big mistake. This woman informs the cashier that she needs each of her items rung up separately. And then she pays for all of them with the same credit card. Needless to say, the person with the full cart and the person who was in line behind her were both in their cars before I even got to the register.

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: goodwinc76

                                                                                                                    my father got some kind of debit card that you got free checking on if you used it at least 6 times in a month; so he got in line and did more or less what you are saying. I heard this and told him to please think of the people behind him. He assured me there was no one. But I wonder if it was some crazy thing like that?

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodwinc76

                                                                                                                      depending on how taxes are structured, she may have saved a few cents at most. in hawaii at least the tax is compounded, so if you spend a dollar, the tax is going to be 1.04. if you spend ten dollars, its going to be 10.44, so if each item was a dollar, i saved 4 cents by having each item rung up separately.

                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                        So Hawaii charges tax on tax? Is that right? Can that be legal?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                          Could be. In the UK, two taxes are levied on petrol.

                                                                                                                          Firstly "fuel duty" at around 56p per litre goes on the base price. Then Value Added Tax, currently at 17.5%, is added on the whole amount. Means that, of the pump price paid, some 66% is tax. Unleaded petrol is currently £1.18 per litre, including both taxes.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                            I think it means the tax is 4.4%. So a $1.00 purchase becomes $1.044 which is rounded down to $1.04. A $2.00 purchase would be $2.088, or $2.09. And a $10.00 purchase would be $10.44.

                                                                                                                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                            is that for two different jurisdictions? state and local sales tax?

                                                                                                                        2. Picked the shortest line the other day only to wind up waiting because a woman was buying a large money order and the checker held up, handled and stared at each of what looked like a dozen $100 bills over and over again....... apparently checking for counterfeits. The checker must have looked at each bill 6 or 8 times before she finally called a manager, who took a quick look and let the transaction proceed. I'm really good at picking lines like that. ;o)

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              The power actually extends to whichever line I try. Had I moved from the counterfeit money line I just know something else would have happened in the new line too. So I just pick a line and stay there.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                You also have the power of patience, which is incredibly useful (especially given your other power).

                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                I used to have that power as well :) What is the opposite of a super-power?

                                                                                                                                Now I mostly shop at a well-managed store, so it's mostly gone away.

                                                                                                                              3. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                Scientifically, you probably are in the slower line:
                                                                                                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5Ri_H...

                                                                                                                                And that video doesn't take into account "confirmation bias" -- which suiggests that we remember the times when we are in a slow line while forgetting the times when everything goes smoothly.

                                                                                                                              4. This isn't crazy and I wasn't that bothered by it (maybe got a little impatient! :o), but I was just wondering if this was common, as I'd never encountered it until last week:

                                                                                                                                Was at Trader Joe's and there was a young couple in front of me. They grouped their items together and had the cashier scan everything as one "order". Then they both whipped out their respective credit cards and had the cashier split the grocery bill in half exactly.

                                                                                                                                Part of me wondered why they didn't just pay for half of the items separately? Took the cashier about ten minutes to wait for the manager, who then had to put in a special code to split the bill onto two cards.

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                  Maybe they were used to doing this at stores where it isn't a problem? I have never had a problem paying with two forms of payment. And it wasn't a problem back when I was a cashier. I have paid 1/2 debit, 1/2 credit before and have also split bills with my sister in the way the couple in your case did and it sure didn't take managers input.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                    That's actually quite common in restaurants too - we do it a lot when dining out with other couples, just tell the server to put half on each card, and it never raises an eyebrow. They may just have thought it works the same way everywhere.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                      Okay, good, so I'm not going crazy. Just wanted to get some perspective on it before I got my bloomers all bunched up. LOL!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                        I'm guessing they just thought it was simple and much easier than trying to split up what they bought into equal dollar amounts item by item. Probably doesn't happen very often in a TJs.

                                                                                                                                        Some Poin of Sale systems ahave a way for a specific tendered amount to be entered prior to swiping the card, so they'd enter half with the first card and use the second for the balance. Apparently some aren't that simple....... or the cashier wasn't familiar with how to do it. No big deal.

                                                                                                                                2. Yesterday I made the mistake of buying supplies for work at Hobby Lobby. I got a panic call on my way to work that we needed things.

                                                                                                                                  It was pretty much the same experience as you had, except there was no other line to move to. Everyone else in line (with their screaming kids) was like 'I'm in no hurry'. I WAS in a hurry, but all the other shoppers there just had all the time in the world.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                                    Argh, I have to say, the lines at Hobby Lobby seem to perpetually be the slowest in town. I'm not exactly sure why but they always seem to take a long time. And there is usually only one open at any given time. However, I'm not supposed to shop there without adult supervision and my husband says my SIL doesn't qualify ;)

                                                                                                                                  2. I am currently a cashier. I have people in line with things even more ridiculous than this quite often... I really always try to get the person out of there as quickly as possible. I always try to get backup to open another register to take the NEXT person in line so that no one has to wait all over again or send them to an open register in another department. I work at a drug store which carries a lot of groceries so you can probably guess which one it is...

                                                                                                                                    1. it's entirely possible she has a severe financial situation and was stretching her month's budget to meet the minimum and was desperately counting on that for the coupon (hey when you're broke 10 bucks off $75 is a big deal) and didn't have the wiggle room for even a penny more. that would be simple to explain and I think most would understand and just say "ohhh, ok" but it would crush her already bruised ego. or just a freak. while it makes me sad, I'd prefer to believe the former.

                                                                                                                                      1. Had, not a crazy, but frustrating experience earlier this week. Picked up a few items, including an Italian eggplant. At the register, it came to $5 a pound, higher than what the sign had said. I thought, no big deal: someone forgot to update the signs, which isn't exactly uncommon, so I don't even bring it up. But then the price came to about $14. I automatically said, "Whoa, that can't be right." The register showed that it weighed about 2.7 pounds. It was the size of a zucchini (another item of purchase), so the source of the error was clear. I pointed this out and expected a quick redo. Oh, boy...

                                                                                                                                        What I expected was a simple deletion of the specific transaction and a quick re-weighing. After all, it was obvious that the weight was incorrect. But I got was a cashier who seemed to be in an argumentative mood. I got lines like, "I'm the only one here" (I didn't even ask for a manager) and "I can't sell you this item." I was befuddled and just asked for a re-weighing. After a confusing minute (which included a very pronounced notebook entry by the cashier), the eggplant was finally put back on the scanner and the cashier (sarcastically) took a giant step back, as if to say, "I'm not doing anything wrong." The new number came up: 0.47 pounds. The cashier looked at me, and I simply nodded and said, "Yeah, that makes sense."

                                                                                                                                        I actually thought about reporting the incident (and still have the receipt). In the end I went with the "No harm, no foul" philosophy. But, I would have been upset if I didn't spot the mistake right away.

                                                                                                                                        1. The only time I get truly pissed off checking out at the supermarket is when someone has 20 items and goes to the "12 items or fewer line." I think the computers should be set to stop accepting new items after the max has been reached. I can never decide if the people who do this are stupid or mean.

                                                                                                                                          One time recently, a store employee and I held forth as I was waiting in line to pay behind this ***** who had 50 items. It was fun, kind of, to tell her, not quite to her face, what a mega***** we thought she was. What I thought particularly telling however, was the fact that at no time did the store employee stop her and send her to a non-express line.

                                                                                                                                          Oh, and I LOVE self-checkout.

                                                                                                                                          22 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                            This has already been bumped up so I don't feel bad responding to something six months old, but Geez-O Pete, JayF. There's a whole string of assumptions (and ill will) there. o.O

                                                                                                                                            "at no time did the store employee stop her and send her to a non-express line" -- IME, lots of stores forbid this. I remember a customer in the express line in front of me once, who snarked to the checker that the person in front of her had 22 items (or whatever), so why didn't they tell her to go to a different line? The checker calmly replied that it was against store policy to boss paying customers around, and that if she'd done so she would have gotten a reprimand in her file.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                              Twice in the last six months, the manager-person monitoring the check-out lines at my local Kroger has looked at my cart and directed me to an express lane, despite the fact I've clearly more items than the limit. I feel -- well, not guilty, perhaps, but certainly self-conscious. Plus, I like to pick my check-out person and I prefer some of the effiicient and pleasant people at the full service lanes to some of the less-on-top-of-it people at the express lane.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                yeah I'm one of those people who feel guilty about the 10 cent overdue library book fine, and I also feel bad when I've been told it's ok to go in the express line. I feel like I need a permission slip to show to later people who come along!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                  Oh I never feel bad about late fees at the library. I see them as a donation. And most libraries are hurting so...

                                                                                                                                                2. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                  But if the computer just shut off once the customer had rung up the allotted number of items, there wouldn't be any such issue.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                    which it does, at the Auchan chain of hypermarkets in Europe.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                        except for the day it bit me in the ass -- I had 11 items, the regular checkouts were full, and there was NO ONE else in the 10 or fewer line.

                                                                                                                                                        The clerk WOULD NOT override my one item, and had the incredible class to come over and shake her finger in my face and sound out each word in the "10 or fewer" sign to me like I was 3.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                          See, that's what I don't get. It's one freakin' item. It's not the end of the world. I think I would have gone to a manager and asked if he thought it was ok for an employee to scold a paying customer.

                                                                                                                                                          And JayF, you've never miscounted? Thought your cucumbers were priced by the pound instead of individually? Wanted to buy a magazine or a pack of gum while you were standing in line? Having the scanners shut off at some arbitrary number would be a logistical nightmare for situations like that (and a hundred others, I'm sure). No, the customer isn't always right, but it's in a store's financial best interest to avoid belittling, scolding, shaming, or dictating to the people who keep them in business, KWIM?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                            heh -- that's the difference -- in France "customer service" means "you better get on your knees and grovel to me, little person, because I'm doing you a favor just by fucking showing up today"

                                                                                                                                                            I have little tolerance for it, but It Is What It Is and changing a societal norm is simply beyond my ambition or ability.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                              I always count, Laura. And the limit is 20 at the store I usually go to, which I never buy more than. I buy 10 most times at the max.

                                                                                                                                                              I had 16 items at Whole Foods the other day, where 15 is the limit, so I got in the non-express lane.

                                                                                                                                                              And it's usually NOT one item, anyway, Laura. The woman I wrote about upthread had 50 items (I know we got to 39 before we broke up laughing, and she still had a lot to go), and because it was a game day, the store was packed. So trying to find a better line seemed ill-advised. Plus, it was just so much fun to get to mock one of those people after putting up with them for years. So much fun.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                I find that it's often just one or two items -- three or four at the most. Maybe you just live in an area with a disproportionate percentage of REALLY inconsiderate people? ;) Besides, in your system (where the machine would shut down after 15 items or whatever), one item or 20 items wouldn't matter. You'd be punishing the guy who forgot that his wife asked him to pick up this week's People magazine, in addition to the inconsiderate jerk with 50 items.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                  Obviously, you and I are never going to agree on this, Laura. I'm fine with that.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                    Does "3 for $1" count as 3 items or 1 unit?

                                                                                                                                                                    Does "Buy 1, get 1 free" count as 1 or 2 items?

                                                                                                                                                                    Does counting the previous customer's items make YOU OCD?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I once had a new checker at my regular store reprimand me (quite snottily) for being over the limit. I had a small cart, and my items were taking up very little space in the cart, but technically I was somewhat over. I had a bunch of duplicate items, so my line items were within or very close to the limit. I typically don't actually count as I choose my line, I'm assessing the volume in my cart, and this was just an atypical selection of items for me.

                                                                                                                                                      I was irritated at being treated like an errant child, and mentioned it to management, who said it was unacceptable, they don't do that. I never saw her again.

                                                                                                                                                      Same store, I saw a guy buying out the wine department in the express line. They were clearly thrilled to be taking his money at any register whatsoever ;)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                        Our local public school system is awful. We are changing it for the better but it's a slow process. Whenever I get in the express line behind a way over the "limit" shopper I always ask "did you go to ***** school?" If they say "yes!" do I know you?
                                                                                                                                                        I answer: "That explains why you can't count the number of items in your wagon". It's playful but I make my point.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                          Clever, yes, but I hope you never run into someone in a foul mood with a short temper.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                            I was thinking something similar. my high school was stellar when I was there, but has since slid downhill over the years. I would not appreciate the inference.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                              So far everyone gets a good chuckle out of it. It really is playful and not confrontational.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                              Your description does not sound playful as much as it sounds confrontational.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Recently at Stop & Shop the checker entered yams when I bought Bosc pears and Bok choy when I bought Napa cabbage. Both had very different prices per lb. and if I didn't make a habit of reading the very small and badly tilted display reader while going thru checkout, I wouldn't have caught the error immediately. However, having to check does slow down my bagging and slows the line. I'm not going to stand for being charged incorrectly but I do feel badly when there is a line.

                                                                                                                                                          I do find the occasional issue with mismarked store prices, typically sales items, but my consistent pet peeve is with checkers who do not know produce by sight. Knowing your produce should be part of basic cashier training. Since not all produce has a price code stuck to it a paper list is meaningless without knowledge and the customers can get charged incorrectly.

                                                                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                            +10 -- if it was something strange or exotic, it doesn't surprise me or bother me when they ask what it is.

                                                                                                                                                            A clarification, even -- are these Roma tomatoes? No problem.

                                                                                                                                                            But leeks? garlic? green onions? CELERY?! Give me a break -- you've seen those come through several times today alone, I'm pretty sure -- there's no reason why shouldn't know what they are. (when the celery question came up, I was shocked enough to not answer for a second, and the lady behind me said "c'mon, honey -- you mean to tell me you got to be old enough to drive a car and have a job, and you still don't know what a damned head of CELERY looks like?!" It was pretty hard to not laugh out loud -- and a few other people in the line did.)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                              I had a new checker (clearly because she was asking the checker next to her about every item of produce). She got to my leeks and figured she would wing it. "Scallops?" she asked. I tried not to smile and just told her what they were. I knew where she was coming from on this one!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                You know sunshine when you leave someone to do their job and you're focusing on another task (like bagging my purchases so the next person in line can get their order going) the last thing on your mind is clarification but I did offer to help once I realized the cashier was confused. 75% of my order was produce. But some of the items were in plastic or paper produce bags and it required opening the bag and looking inside; not scanning a price tag. So the process would go a bit slower than a canned item. Even with that obvious requirement to complete my order their were errors. Maybe I should seek out a place with a hand held scanner so I can do my own checking and avoid the chance that I'll hold up a line or be incorrectly charged for produce.

                                                                                                                                                                Crazy. When training and educating an employee is what should be done.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                  absolutely -- in the US, things like green onions and leeks and things have a 4-digit code imprinted right on the band...so they're not scanned, but they key in that code number, and it brings up what it is when it's weighed (most produce in the States is weighed at the till)

                                                                                                                                                                  Having some sort of quiz to identify the most common items in the produce department doesn't seem like it should be too much to ask, though. (do I expect her to know longans or litchis? Nope. Tomatoes and celery? Emphatically yes.) It would speed their through-rate at the tills, so it would be more profitable at the end of the day, one would think.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                    a clerk the other day asked (and I'm sure she was joking) is this ginger or garlic? (had to be joking she was a bit older than me) I dead-panned right back "I dunno, which is cheaper?"

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                      If I sense puzzlement on the face of the checker, I usually volunteer the name of the item, in addition to letting them know what it's for. "That's a poblano pepper, and it's used a lot in Mexican cooking."

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                        I do, too -- and it sometimes turns into a whole conversation, because whomever is behind me gets in on the conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                        Like I said -- I don't mind when it's something uncommon (like a poblano)...it drives me crazy when it's something really mainstream that they ought to know (like celery or green onions).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          dontch love it when they can't make change either without looking to see how much the electronic cash register says it should be?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                            you can always tell a cashier's approximate age by how they count the change back to you...over 35, they'll start with the amount of the bill and count up (your total was 7.39, so here's 40, 50,75, and 1)

                                                                                                                                                                            Younger than that , they'll just hand you the 61 cents (sometimes...if they don't have to stop and count it twice) and tell you here's the change.

                                                                                                                                                                            Works with how they count it out, too -- the older folks will start with pennies, the kids will start with bills.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                              Sunshine, I'm 39, and I've NEVER been able to figure out the logic when change is described that way.
                                                                                                                                                                              "It's $7.39, I have you a $20...what do you mean here's 10, 15, 19, 20?" lol

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Midknight

                                                                                                                                                                                She was describing the cashier handing the change back. The penny makes it 40, the dime makes it 50, the first quarter makes it 75 and the last quarter brings it to an even dollar. That's the way handing back change was taught years ago. Now, the change is either dispensed from a machine or is handed back en masse.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                Sunshine.... I'm sitting here in the currently empty retail store I work in part-time. The one where the owner would be furious if she knew I was on Chowhound. Almost a year and a half later.................. I have a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                Most stores (certainly this one) have some kind of computerized point of sale system into which the clerk must put the dollar amount 'tendered' in a cash sale. The system then tells them how much change to give back..... not by denomination, but IN TOTAL.

                                                                                                                                                                                That's almost certainly why change is given 'in bulk' these days. I'm 'old school' too, but counting it back the way you describe isn't the way I take it out of the cash drawer, so counting it back to the customer just isn't compatible.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                                  I still get change counted back to me occasionally and the denomination of the coins is not listed separately. I believe it's just a habit some people have stuck with. I'm going to make a note of it if and when it happens again.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't need to have it counted back, but it would be nice if they stated how much total change I am receiving and then put the coins in my hand before the bills. It is both incorrect and awkward for the coins to be placed on top of the bills.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                      sandy - oh yes major pet peeve, coins first and then I can grasp them in my palm while putting the bills in my wallet. bills first and either I have to set my wallet down and perform a juggling act or the coins are bound to go flying. both slow the line while the clerk is also trying to shove the bag on me to keep said line moving.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                              I always have to say "Careful with that artichoke. It's sharp!"

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I don't think handing the lady extra money would have helped. She has a mental health problem and in her mind, she had to come up with exactly $75, regardless of what the store policy on the coupon actually was. I think the cashier was being gracious. Really, it was a small kindness to someone who probably suffers a great deal from her sickness in ways the rest of us can't imagine.

                                                                                                                                                                      I do get the frustration you experienced, though, There's a bagger with Tourette's at a market where I sometimes shop on my way home from work, and I really have to steel myself to be patient before I go in there. And I will confess that I sometimes go out of my way to find a queue where she is not working, just so that I don't have to hear her nonstop chatter and repetition.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                        Isolda, I hear you. The supermarket where I shop most frequetly (Genuardi's, near Philadelphia) has a policy of hiring mentaly challenged individuals as baggers. Some have Down's, and some have other intellectual limitations. For the most part, they do the same kind of job anyone else would do, but every once in a while, one of them may get a little chattier, or may not focus on what they are doing. It's never a problem to handle that graciously -- there but for the grace of God go we all -- but there is one bagger who gets too too friendly, and I find I avoid her when I am just not in the mood to deal with it. Shame on me.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                          No, not shame on you.

                                                                                                                                                                          Part of living in the mainstream world is coming to grips with the fact that not everyone will like you all the time and might not want to hear about that rash on your elbow or what your roommate thinks about it.

                                                                                                                                                                          Don't be cruel to them, but if you don't have the time or patience today...no need to feel guilty about going to another line, either.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I would try to think of the craziest thing about me and be sympathetic. Or at least patient.

                                                                                                                                                                        That's on a good day.

                                                                                                                                                                        On a bad day I'd huff and sigh and probably say something under my breath and switch lines.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I have to admit that I have a habit that probably drives folks nuts...and because of it I often use the self-scanners (where it isn't an issue)...I HATE HATE it when I have a full grocery cart and am still unloading groceries and the checker starts ringing up what I've already unloaded. I want to be able to watch as EVERY item is scanned. OK, call me compulsive, I probably am..BUT I rarely if ever check out without finding at least one item that doesn't scan correctly (usually a sale price that doesn't come up). If I wasn't watching I would miss it. So if there isn't a self-scanner available I chose a line that isn't long and insist that the checker wait until every item is out of my cart and I am able to pay attention to the scanner before he/she starts. They don't like it but it really does save me money. And usually I avoid the whole issue by doing the self-scanner. Its usually quicker anyway:-)

                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                            I usually "solve" this by putting all the especially good deals at the end of the line. Because I agree, there are often mistakes, particulary on the first day of the sale.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                              hmm... I thought we were closely related (I hate self scanners). However, it isn't a problem at my neighborhood grocery because the clerks unload the carts for the customer (and scan as they unload). So, they can unload and scan, while I stand where I can watch the items come up on the screen.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, don't get me wrong...I hate the self-scanner too. I curse at it as I do it. But its better than having everyone glare at me while I unload the items from the cart and instruct the checker to please just wait. Our markets are set up so that it would almost be physically impossible for the checker to unload the cart. I wish they would/could. And of course if you use the self-scanner you have to call the help person over when the inevitable mischarge shows up. And then there are the items that just AREN'T ON the self-scanner. The truth is, I hate supermarkets.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                  Assuming the store has baggers, couldn't you ask that the bagger unload the cart so you can watch the scanning? You could probably get some of the checked items into bags while still keeping an eye on the register. One chain I shop at has such incompetent young baggers that I prefer them to do the unloading while I do the bagging.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                    The stores I live in are lucky to have enough check-out folks as needed, much less baggers. Its called a bad economy and a store that doesn't want to hire anyone else. Part of it is the awkwardness of the checkout stands...it is a LONG way from where you unload the groceries to where they are scanned...and there is no easy way to get the basket through. The cynical part of me thinks that the design is deliberate...so that folks will just be unloading and not able to see the scanner....

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                      I meant to add that my desire to watch the scanner is only effective because I remember EVERYTHING that is on sale. Today TWICE I had items that were not scanning correctly. "But that's listed as two for a dollar" Checker: "Are you sure: its normally 89 cents." Me: "Yes, I'm sure. Its on aisle 15 with a big sign, go look." Someone goes and looks and comes back. "Yes, you're right. Wow, good job remembering. Maybe *you* should work here" (lol...me thinking not on your life. besides, the management probably doesn't like people like me who have good memories of the prices :-)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. To me what ever issue the lady had she was very inconsiderate for others behind her. At the store I don't think they could of done any addition then to just cater to customer's needs. I think if I was the supervisor I would have closed the line and let one cashier resolve the issue with her. On the side I would open additional lane and carry that lane over, which I have seen it done in the past. =)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I think I would I would have casually moved in kind of close to her and let loose a clandestine fart.

                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, that made me spurt my coffee out from laughing

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                      To not offend any innocent bystanders who may be within ear-shot but not in smelling vicinity. Also to not create a scene but to "encourage" her to move along. It's an effective tool- though some might even say "but that's your solution to everything"!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, it *is* sort of an all-purpose solution!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                            superpower - yeah "The Spleen" in the movie "Mystery Men" www.imdb.com/title/tt0132347/

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                            And until now I always thought your handle was a reference to fromage!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. hooboy. I almost lost my cool the other week in the store. I was in on the weekend - which I usually try to avoid because it's so busy. I had a small cart of stuff and got in line behind a couple I'd noticed in the store earlier. They had a cart FULL... approaching the need for two carts. turns out, the store had been giving out 5% off your order coupons and she'd been saving them. She was doing a huge purchase so she could use 3 5% off coupons. which of course the computer did NOT want to do. She was prepared to have the cashier cancel the entire transaction and ring up 3 separate transactions so she could use all her coupons. Apparently she'd asked and been told that she could use them all at once.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I switched lanes so I wouldn't be tempted to kick her... because she was just.so.irate. and obnoxious. Eventually the manager worked it all out, w/o reringing their order, but they were just coming out of the store as I was driving away.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                          Was this A&P? 'cause they do those things and you defnately can use 3 5% coupons to get 15% off, and of course you want to do it on a big order. Using 5% off three smaller orders is in no way the same. She'd be better off doing 5% off the big order and saving the coupons, but hey, math is not a strong suit in this country.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                            It was Giant.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I felt badly for the cashier who had not been trained for such a transaction - and could not get her computer to cooperate.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. So, the woman in front of me has a totally full wagon. The cashier rings up all of her items which takes a while. I patiently wait as I am a very patient human. The cashier gives her the total and starts bagging her order. The woman doesn't help bag the groceries which I always do but "To each his/her own."
                                                                                                                                                                                          Finally when everything is bagged and put into her shopping card the "search" for the wallet begins. You would think she could have had her purse ready. Maybe it's her first time in a market?
                                                                                                                                                                                          Her purse is the size of a hockey players gear bag. Searching for the wallet she starts to empty the purse. Water bottle, tissues, breakfast bars, gloves (it's August in NY), cell phone (how would she find it even if she could hear it ringing?), more tissues and finally the wallet comes out. She leafs thru several credit cards and finally picks one. "DECLINED!" One more, "DECLINED!" I am going into my Zen mode and actually finding this entertaining. After two more declined credit cards she asks: "Can I give you a check?"
                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, they took her check!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                            They took her check, but not before running it through the machine to verify she had sufficient funds to cover said check. It used to be an act of trust for a merchant to take checks. Not anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              A lot of places these days have machines that treat checks just like debit cards. At the end of running your check through they hand the check back to you and the money has been transferred out of your account at that point.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember the first time I was handed back the check I just gave to the clerk. This was at least ten years ago. I was flabbergasted. I didn't want the check back. Where was I going to put it? I tried to hand it back to the clerk so that they could deposit it in their bank who could then give the check to my bank who would then put in in an envelope with my statement and mail it back to me. It was a simple request, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have you tried writing a check at other than the supermarket lately? I tried paying for some oil at Pep Boy's with one and the cashier eyed it like it was a booby trap of some kind. The whole process took about 5 times longer than if I had given her a credit card. I'm just afraid with all the new "pay with your smart phone" technology ramping up that the next thing will be when they refuse my "green cash" because they don't take it anymore... ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                    To be perfectly honest, I have not actually written a check at a 'check out' in a long time, years even. Credit cards and check cards seem to have taken over. Before check (debit) cards came about a few years ago it would drive me nuts to see people whip out a credit card to pay for something that cost less than $5. These were the same people that used to write a check for such small amounts too. I'm one of the last people I know that actually carries around cash to pay for stuff. I will not pay for stuff with my phone. That's an easy promise to make since I don't have a smart phone and don't intend to get one. I use my cell phone to make and receive telephone calls. No texting either. (My cell phone does have a built in MP3 player, but I have an iPod that I use more often for that).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I will not pay for stuff with my phone. That's an easy promise to make since I don't have a smart phone and don't intend to get one"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes technology, and the built-in obsolescence it brings with it, makes inadvertent liars out of the best of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's going to be a while before anyone will HAVE to make payments using a smartphone. By that time there will be some other technology that everyone HAS to have to make monetary transactions. Why should my cellular service provider have to get mixed up in my transactions other than my monthly payment to them?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Why should my cellular service provider have to get mixed up in my transactions other than my monthly payment to them?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Because they will be "Incentivized" (a nice way of saying bribed) to do so by a third party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I usually don't go below $10 on credit cards but sometimes I do.Because I get a 5% rebate on my total at the end of the month, so it all adds up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't be surprised, especially if it was at Best Yet! I'm quicker with my credit card swipe than cash. Because I sometimes turn into that little old lady that wants to get rid of all her change! But I've never been declined yet at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't really have a problem with anybody using a credit card for any transaction anymore. Back in the old days when they were using a 900 baud machine to see if the card was good and it took a good two or three extra minutes it bothered me a little. But, as I said on another thread about standing in line at the supermarket, I don't let the waiting in line bother me anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I write one check a month, to my landlady who doesn't even own a computer. And I only do that because I like her and don't want to confuse her by setting up an automatic deposit. Everything else I do with credit cards and Paypal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't understand why anyone would use check any more. "Here's a note that tells my bank to pay you the money I owe you. Take it to your bank, which will then send it to my bank, which will send the money to your bank, which will put the money in your account."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Isn't a debit card the same thing, but 10x easier and faster?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Isn't a debit card the same thing, but 10x easier and faster?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Predicted future post: "I don't know why you don't just have the "Pay Chip" brain installation surgery like everyone else? After all you're just slowing down everyone in line behind you as you look for your old "not so" smart phone to pay for things! ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sign me up. It would be super convenient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My question still stands though. What's the benefit of carrying around a booklet of pre-printed IOU slips and a pen that you use to write down a payee and write out (twice!) a dollar amount?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The card takes up almost no space, you never have to borrow a pen, one swipe and the transaction is complete, you never have to show your ID, and you can use it even when out of town. I can't think of a single reason to use a check, at the grocery store or anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Because you get a little float at more places than not. As the famous J. Wellington Wimpy was fond of saying "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and it used to be if you wanted a little more float time in a situation not using the quick-scan device, write something in the memo line and be sloppy allowing the pen mark to drop down into the serial numbers. check would have to be pulled out and manually processed at every step.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  probably wouldn't work today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There is no longer any such thing as 'float' in banking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ha. Sure there is. But unfortunately it's "reverse float" that works against the individual and in favor of the banks mostly. Small stores still bank the old fashioned way a lot of the time when it comes to depositing checks. That is they take them either at the end of the day after banking hours and drop them in the night deposit, or even the next morning in some cases. That means your check doesn't get subtracted for a day, sometimes two, from your balance. Which accounts for a little float.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is now illegal in many states to write a check knowing that there is insufficent funds-New Hampshire did so years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: carbondiamond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So many checking accounts have "automatic" overdraft protection these days I imagine that that particular law would be mostly rendered meaningless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ha, you would imagine wrong. I own a retail store and checks bounce frequently as in all the time. That law gets enforced all of the time. There are people who think nothing of writing a bad check. Some with intent and others just ignorant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        <It used to be an act of trust for a merchant to take checks. Not anymore.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, well, there was a time, 30 yrs ago, a condominium on the beach overlooking the ocean in Hawaii was sold/bought on a handshake (between 2 complete strangers) with a simple signing between the two parties.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Things/people have changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I shop at the tourist trap grocery store, and have seen someone have a credit card declined at checkout for a $500 purchase. (A lot of wine was involved.) There was a brief phone call to the credit card company, who said that a fraud alert had been triggered, and that she needed to make a phone call from their land line back in Louisiana in order to clear the alert because that was the phone number they had listed for the account. And then the purchaser just shrugged and paid cash for her purchase, calmly whipping hundred dollar bills off a roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        According to the cashier, it's not an uncommon scenario, complete with the high dollar wine purchase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I recently purchased 2 $500 gift cards at the grocery store using my credit card. Had hardly gotten in the door at home when the phone rang--credit card co. asking if I had indeed made the purchase. I appreciated the attempt at checking, BUT had a similar bad experience when traveling overseas and the card was rejected because it was thought to be fraud (I had even called the card company ahead of time to say I'd be using it overseas)--had a hard time convincing the vendor that the card was good after that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had a similar call for gift card purchases, but it was the purchase fraudulent. I used my card to pay for a gym membership, and someone took the number and used it to buy a bunch of gift cards online. I'm glad I used a credit card and not my debit card for that purchase, and that the company caught it (though I check statements closely and would have noticed). I've seen signs at several grocery stores stating they now require either cash or debit card for gift card purchases.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I get it that women swap purses but is a wallet so hard to find? Here's a tip - it's the square leather thing at the bottom of the bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then there are those people who try to make exact change. You're on a long line that's creeping along. The fat ass in front of you finally unloads their cart in slow motion and then stares at the cashier as they ring every single goddam item up, never making a move to bag their own groceries or pull their wallet out. Then they watch, slackjawed, as the cashier bags the whole order. Only then do they reach for their wallet. Fumble. Fumble. Fumble. Finally they pass some bills to the cashier and as they open the cash drawer you hear the words of doom -

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Wait ... I think I have a penny."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fuck me. I've got tons of pennies. I've already got them in my hand since I've had loads of spare time watching this slow motion drama unfold over the last 10 minutes. At that point I hand a couple to the cashier just to get the jerk out of my way. Life is too short for this type of idiocy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          If wolves roamed the streets they would eat these people first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "it's the square leather thing at the bottom of the bag." Next to the cell phone that's ringing!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And when you think about it, you never really need more than four pennies, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see an occasional related dance at the subway turnsiles in NYC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's rush hour and crowded. At many stations hundreds of people will pass through a bank of 4 or 5 turnstiles in a 2 or 3 minute period. The scenario is always the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A person will join in a mini queue of 3 or 4 people, get to the turnstile and then and *only* then, begin to fish out their Metrocard* out of their purse or walled in order to pay their fare. What are they thinking? Were they thinking at all? NYC doesn't do Wednesday Nights Are Free promotions. You've always got to pay. It takes them a minute or two to find their card and if you're behind them in the meantime your train could pull into the station and leave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Metrocards are thin plastic prepaid fare cards which have to be passed through a reader before you can get through a turnstile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  getting OT, but DC is the same. locals use the plastic which you really don't have to remove from your wallet (and in the wheelchair aisle all ya gotta do is hip-bump the sensor - look ma, no hands!) a purse or knapsack carrier could prob. arrange it so one could slide the bag over the pad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I cut the tourists a little more slack but too often they stand like numb-nuts not realizing you have to pull the paper ticket out too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  but I guess it does relate. an experience one goes through on a regular basis, yet seems confounded by every time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And then the check-writers: let's start writing everything AFTER the whole cartload is totalled. Wait, is it the 14th or the 15th? Guess I'll have to turn on my phone to check. Back in the olden days when I wrote grocery store checks, I had the WHOLE THING filled in except the amount prior to hitting the check out. (Okay, I'll quit yelling.) In recent years, I've tried to get a little more Zen, but sheesh people, move it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I just chill out, and let life go on, around me. Though I do not have a lot of time to waste, a bit of patience can go a long way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll be in line with you, probably striking up a conversation about some interesting bottle or bunch in your cart. (I am the only person I know who truly enjoys the grocery store, including - usually - other shoppers.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. As I said on another thread about grocery store check-out lines, I no longer let them bother me. I used to be as impatient as anybody. Now, the way I look at it, life is too short to get all worked up over something over which I have little control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also found a way to amuse myself at Aldi (their employees are quite fast at the checkout lanes by the way). Aldi requires their customers to put a quarter into the grocery cart in order to separate it from the group of carts in order to use it in the store. (You can get your quarter back after shopping). Instead of retrieving my quarter, if at all possible, if the timing is right, I give the cart to a customer just arriving. They offer me a quarter, but I decline and just tell them to give the cart away after they are done using it. My actions are less altruistic than they are selfish. I'm the one that feels good about giving away the cart to see the pleasant surprise of others, and it only costs me a quarter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've done that at the airport, snagged a loose cart in the garage but my p/u had already gotten one so spotted a family with a TON of stuff and gave it to them, at first they thought I was scamming them somehow. "no it's free! enjoy your stay!" yeah OK I was bilking SmartCarte a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's sweet John!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've done it too and it always makes me feel good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who says you can't buy happiness with a quarter? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I've had it done for me as well. I live in a big city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      All the stores in Europe have a coin-locked mechanism on them...I figure if I ind a cart wandering wild in the lot, it's karma to leave it unlocked for the next shopper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I rarely find unlocked carts at Aldi and the only time I have abandoned only one cart at Aldi and that was in a driving rain. I would have waited it out inside the store, but they were closing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A couple days ago my patience was tried in the grocery store line. A lady had quite a lot of groceries and when it came time to pay, she filled out a check and then when asked for ID she said she didn't have any. Crap....then it turned out the check she had was from her mother (the lady at the store looked to be in her 60s) so they finally took the check after writing down the woman's driver's license information. The whole transaction, after calling for the manager twice (and canceling the call twice) took at least 10 to 12 minutes which of course seemed like an hour. One of the women in line behind me abandoned her cart with groceries and walked out the door. Too bad for her, the transaction was finally completed about 90 seconds later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Yesterday my order @ Stop and Shop came to $24.13. I handed the cashier $25.00 (twenty and a five) then fished in my pocket for 13 cents.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She would not take the change because: "I already counted out the change (87cents) and THEY won't let me do that."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess Big Brother is watching.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Couldn't you hand her back the .13 and the .87 and ask for a dollar bill?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I tried and she would not do it. You'd think they would want some coins. Go figure?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            if she had already closed the drawer, she may not be able to open it without a supervisor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2roads - that makes sense, or until the next (cash) sale is made and the drawer pops open and let's face it in this day and age, you might be waiting a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. This thread reminds me of the joke about the lady on the Dog Food Diet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just in case you haven't heard it;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://funny-stuff.3961608.n2.nabble....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Several weeks ago I went to the Liquor store at precisely 10:00 which is when they open. As often happens there is usually a half dozen to a dozen people waiting to get in the door at opening times.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And this time there was about a dozen, almost all of whom knew exactly what they wanted and were at the checkout counter in under 30 seconds. So was I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One teller was on duty, presumably because other employees were seeing to other stuff that needed to be done.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But it was a rowdy bunch and several people were saying loudly TO the teller that they should open another till, c'mon you guys should have more than one open. Yada yada
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I felt sorry for the poor teller..it was a very impatient and demanding bunch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I gave her my customary "have a good day" as I paid her and she nearly broke into tears, the poor dear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hey stuff happens. More often than not, everything goes smoothly because it is part of good customer service.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes somebody is just having a bad day. We've all had'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I find little hiccups like this rather instrumental in striking up a conversation with a stranger. Or to think of my wonderful life.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If I let it get to me--I am the one losing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd just say to make the best of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your attitude is very relaxed, and obviously welcomed as evidenced by the reaction of the checker in your story. That said I am having less of a charitable attitude toward the management of this store based on the following line you wrote:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "As often happens there is usually a half dozen to a dozen people waiting to get in the door at opening times."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If that is the case then they need to get their act together and be prepared for the group gathering at their door at opening "As often happens..." No?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep, pretty much any time I go to any Liqour store, there is a lineup before they open.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Most of the times people spend a little time shopping or perusing the choices before ending up at the till.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was the only time I have ever seen this happen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sometimes there are lineups, yes. But almost always patrons are polite enough to wait 3 to 4 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know what happened after I left the store because I was in and out in less than 3 minutes. Chances are another teller was at the ONE other till by the time I got to my car.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It might be helpful to say that I live in Canada where alcohol is not available at the grocery store, only at the liqour store or beer store. And 9;30 am is the earliest they are open even during holiday season.