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(Wired)   Why you always choose the slowest line in the supermarket. Turns out math hates you as much as the grocery store does   (wired.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, traffic engineering, rational choice, waiting rooms  
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8176 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jul 2014 at 9:36 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-15 10:11:26 AM  
My favorite observation is the impatient, rolling of eyes person who's shopping in primetime at the market who's angry that there is a line. Yet people stand in line for hours/days to get a phone.
 
2014-07-15 10:12:47 AM  
Why you always choose the slowest line in the supermarket.

That's not what TFA says. It just says you're most likely not going to be in the fastest line. Unless you do in fact always choose the slowest line, in which case the common denominator is probably you.
 
2014-07-15 10:14:11 AM  
Here in Illinois, store clerks under 21 can't ring up alcohol - they have to get a manager or older cashier to ring up the item, because that bottle of bourbon or 12-pack of beer emits Evil Alcohol Rays™ that will turn them into raging drunks or something. Or, more likely, they can't be trusted not to ring up purchases for their underage buddies.
 
2014-07-15 10:14:56 AM  
I have certain checker faves. They're faves because they are fast, efficient, honest and friendly. Know em by name.
 
2014-07-15 10:15:29 AM  

CarnySaur: I'm pretty sure you've all been in front of me in a supermarket line, and you're all idiots simply because you're in front of me.


I actually laughed out loud at that. Thanks.
 
2014-07-15 10:16:38 AM  
Also, on a tangent, fark the people buying lottery tickets at the convenience store. Their bullshiat holds up the people just buying a soda or a pack of smokes. Especially when they are trying to determine with furrowed brow which scratch ticket is the best one that they want.
 
2014-07-15 10:17:45 AM  
Solution: Overestimate how long you think it'll take you to get through the line. A few extra minutes waiting probably won't kill you, and will give you some time to think about various things you've done over the day and reflect on them. Relax, and remember one day you might be the one holding up the line due to something going wrong. Calm down.
 
2014-07-15 10:19:07 AM  
I can answer this without RTFA.

Because the people in front of you in line are the same people who meander through the store at snail's pace, parking directly in front of popular items to stare blankly at them for two or three minutes while people scoot around them to grab what they need.  Inevitably they always manage to take the longest in line somehow even if they have exactly four items.

You're welcome!
 
2014-07-15 10:19:08 AM  
And if you really want to get out there quicker, help bag your groceries. Especially if you have a full cart.
 
2014-07-15 10:20:25 AM  
Why not just do what I do, and shop at 7am on Saturday? No one else in the damn store.

I hate lines, and am a morning person, so it works great for me. Produce is usually decimated sat/sun afternoon so there's still a great selection.
 
2014-07-15 10:20:44 AM  

spman: Don't most stores use the Telecheck machine now where all the person has to do is sign the check?


Put an old person in that line and see how long the automated transaction takes.

"I put the check in where?"
"How does it know what I want to write?"
"Is that thing going to steal my money?"
"That doesn't cost extra, does it?  I'm not paying extra."
"I bet my grandson could make a machine like that!  He's sharp as a whistle. He's going to attend East Dakota State next year."
"Let me see that check so I can enter it in my register."
"You sure that thing isn't going to steal my money?  I heard last night on Fox that Obama..."
 
2014-07-15 10:21:06 AM  
You don't ALWAYS pick the slowest line. You just don't remember the dozens of uneventful, smoothly run transactions the same way you remember the few bad ones. Our brains are wired to put the bad stuff (where did I get jumped by the sabre-toothed cat the other day?) at the front. Same reason I can't remember what I had to eat at my 6th birthday party, but I remember we had hot dogs at my 7th birthday party, because I also fell out of a tree and broke my arm that day. "Stumbling on Happiness" is a cool book that covers this better.
 
2014-07-15 10:21:14 AM  

Mad Scientist: I shop at Publix, and they usually have enough registers open.  There are rarely lines.


Same here. Plus they all know me and will often temporarily open a line for me on the odd chance that I'd have to wait.. I love my Publix and they love me.
 
2014-07-15 10:21:31 AM  

WanPhat: The calculation and conclusion that one line that disperses to the different counters is more efficient is an engineering school staple.  All engineers were taught this.  The effect is that engineers spend the rest of their lives frustrated because most places don't do their lines that way.

The fact that the world is not made up of engineers is evident at the airport baggage check.  Simple logic, no calculation necessary, would tell you that it would work so much better if everyone would just stand back and go forward to get their bag when they see it.  But no, everyone stakes out a spot pressed against the belt so you have to wait until your bag comes around to your exact spot and then try to work your bag through the jam of people who won't move.

I'm a very tall and large fellow.  Most of my travels that involve baggage checking are to and from Asia (where the people tend to be smaller).  These days I stand back and when I see my bag I say "excuse me" and push through, grab my bag, hoist it over everyone and leave.  No objections yet.


You dont need to be an engineer to figure out the benefits of a single line, but every time I've been in one people have tried to cut in front of others and start their own lines. There are rational benefits to cutting to the front of a ten person line, but leave the single line alone! It works and no one will kick your ass for being a douche bag.

*once saw two ladies get into it at CVS on account of line cutting*
 
2014-07-15 10:22:53 AM  
Article gets to "supermarkets don't have enough physical space" and that's where I stop reading. Walmart will have 30 lanes, 150 people waiting, and 4 cashiers. And it's not even that they won't staff it, they simply won't pay well enough to attract people capable of working the registers.
 
2014-07-15 10:22:53 AM  

thornhill: MemeSlave: It needs to be like a Bank or the DMV or a big print shop - push to 1 giant queue, have multiple registers service a single queue.   You'll have 1 long queue, but the average wait time for everyone in the queue will be minimized.

I guess you didn't read the article.


And I know you didn't:

Now, queueing theorists have come up with a good solution to this problem: Just make all customers stand in one long snaking line, called a serpentine line, and serve each person at the front with the next available register. With three registers, this method is about three times faster on average than the more traditional approach. This is what they do at most banks, Trader Joe's, and some fast-food places. With a serpentine line, a long delay at one register won't unfairly punish the people who lined up behind it. Instead, it will slow everyone down a little bit.
 
2014-07-15 10:23:17 AM  
Why the fark do people that have been retired for thiry years still wait until Saturday and Sunday to go grocery shopping!?!?
 
2014-07-15 10:23:33 AM  
Don't get behind poors or olds and you're fine.
 
2014-07-15 10:24:08 AM  

markie_farkie: I vote we demand all retailers have one lane that's staffed every second the store is open with the following sign:

20 ITEMS OR FEWER NO COUPONSCASH/DEBIT/CHARGE ONLY NO BULLSHIAT ARGUING OVER SOMETHING THAT RANG UP FOR A NICKEL MORE IF IT DOESN'T SCAN, FORGET IT. DON'T EVEN THINK OF ASKING THE CASHIER TO SEND SOMEONE TO FIND A THING YOU COULDN'T THANK YOU, COME AGAIN


I'm one of those people who will argue about something scanning at a higher price than what was displayed.  Why?  Several reasons: first, it's MY damn money and I know what an item is supposed to cost. If you want to give your $ away, please let me know and I'll come over with my hand out!

Second, at least at Kroger, they have a policy that if the item scans up incorrectly, you get it for free.  They used to have stickers on the checkout lanes saying this, but removed them.  You have to ask for the freebie now.  And I've gotten quite a few things free that way.
 
2014-07-15 10:25:20 AM  
What's the formula for which lane to be in traffic?  I ALWAYS pick the wrong one.  If i get into the left, it slows the mother fark down and I'm no longer moving.  If I pick the right the same farking thing.  If I use reverse psychology and not change lanes, I get farked.
 
2014-07-15 10:25:45 AM  

wildcardjack: Article gets to "supermarkets don't have enough physical space" and that's where I stop reading. Walmart will have 30 lanes, 150 people waiting, and 4 cashiers. And it's not even that they won't staff it, they simply won't pay well enough to attract people capable of working the registers.


Those lanes exist for christmas season and christmas season only. They could honestly give less of a shiat how long you have to wait, you're not going to leave your shopping cart full of shiat behind to go fill up one at a different store and they know it.
 
2014-07-15 10:25:53 AM  

Gulper Eel: The only time I have ever seen a man pay by check at a grocery store is in the opening of "The Big Lebowski."


Don't forget little old ladies (and men) pulling out a pile of pennies and going, "sixty-six..............sixty....seven.....................sixty...... eeeeeiiiiiggggghhhht........."
 
2014-07-15 10:26:25 AM  

nekom: My biggest complaint with those is the fact that you have to verify ID to buy so many random things (spray paint, certain glues, etc) and they don't have a thing for me to just slide my license through, no a clerk has to come over and do it thus defeating the whole purpose of a self checkout.


Some days I need a smoke.  Like this morning

So, I go over to the grocery store, and wait in line at the counter.  The cashier hands me a pack, and grunts "You scan."  I guess his register didn't work.

So, I go to the self checkout, and scan the pack.  It requires ID, and the self-checkout cashier is busy not understanding someone else's problem.  I wait a while, she comes over, asks for my ID.  I'm 35, but, hey, OK.  She takes my ID back to her screen, comes back, great, I can proceed.

Do you have any items under your cart?  No.  No cart.
Do you have any coupons?  No.
Do you have a store bonus card?  NO.
Would you like to apply for a store bonus card NO!
Would you like to donate $5 to charity?  FFS.

Please select method of payment.  OK, great.  Finally.  Credit card.
Please follow instructions on the PIN pad.

Cash or credit?  Credit.  I already pressed credit on the other screen.
Please wait, authorizing.  OK
Authorizing.  Yeah, I got that.
Is the amount OK?  Yes.  it's fine.  Everything's fine.

It took ten minutes to use the self-checkout.  And, since it's a grocery store, cigarettes cost $2 more than at 7-11.

After that, I REALLY needed a cigarette.

/don't expect sympathy
 
2014-07-15 10:26:49 AM  
FarkingReading: I choose the line with the hottest chick, whether she's a customer or employee.

Then I don't care if the line moves quickly or not.

True story.


QFT BFE
 
2014-07-15 10:28:00 AM  
It's all about the pretty cashier, ugly bag boy ratio.  The pretty cashier always has someone to sack the groceries.  If he's ugly, she won't actually chat with him and slow down the process.

/I'm a volunteer driver for the local senior center.  I took one lady on errands, she balanced the checkbook after paying by handwritten check "Oh Dear, I'll forget to do it otherwise."  She tried to engage the cashier in small talk, who thankfully wanted no part of that.  She wanted her gallons of bottled water individually bagged because she needs the plastic bags.  She asked if she could keep the cashier's pen.  While she was in line, she sought out a manager to point out a "safety issue."
 
2014-07-15 10:28:02 AM  

Gulper Eel: The secret: watch the registers where there are female customers whose purses are in the top section of the cart. They will be paying by check and jamming up everybody else's lives in the process. Often they will ask the cashier whom to make the check out to, even if they're at a Target where there are approximately 18,000 Target logos within their line of sight at all times.

You want to check out behind parents who brought their kids. The kids may be acting up, but that's why the parents want to GTFO of the store ASAP, so they'll be swiping their credit cards and not farking around. If the kids are actually helping bag groceries or otherwise making themselves useful, so much the better.

But the presence of the purse trumps the presence of the kids. Any woman who pays by check while shopping with kids is an oblivious imbecile.

The only time I have ever seen a man pay by check at a grocery store is in the opening of "The Big Lebowski."


As someone with three young'ens, I can certainly add validity to your "get behind the lady with kids" theory. We want to be out of those checkout lanes ASAP before one of our kleptomaniac kids swipes another candy bar from the pre-checkout "hey kids...CANDY!!!!" display - as to avoid stage five melt-downs ("I WANT A CANDY BAR - I WAS GOOOOOOOD") we'll often hurl our items at the register and pay whatever comes on screen...trust me, when my daughter is screaming about sweet-tarts, I'm not going to challenge whether or not the $.99 pasta was buy-one-get-one free. I just want the fark outta' there.
 
2014-07-15 10:29:23 AM  
MythDragon's rules for the express lane.

You are allowed to go 20% over the limit without incruing any face punches.

For example if the limit is 10 items you may have 12.
If it's 20, you may have 14.
If the limit is 12, you can only have 14, because you always have to round down. If your excess limit number is 2.9, it becomes 2.

Definition of 'Item':

An item is something in a container of any sort. A box of cerial is one item. A bag of loose fruit is one item. Individual un-bagged fruit (or similar edible items) is one item each, as it comes in it's own natural container (ie, the skin or rind)

2 for 1 priced items still count as two items. You are getting two items for the price of one item, but refer to the first 5 words in this sentance.

Items secured together (by the store or manufacturer only.) count as one item. For example like how Costco will have two gallons of milk secured together by that plastic thing and are sold as a set....that is one item.

Similar items are still seperate items. If you have 5 boxes of Swanson turkey neck and chitlins frozen dinners, even though they are the same brand and type, they are 5 items. This prevents people from trying to abuse the system and bring 8 shopping carts of the same thing and claim it as one item.

Compainion items that are not priced do not count towards your item limit. For instance if you get a box of salad from the salad bar, and it comes with dressing packets, those packets do not count toward the limit. If they are priced, this does become a grey area. Generaly it will be tolerated as long as it is not abused and understood to be necissary to go along with your inital item. You can't enjoy your salad for lunch without dressing, so it is allowed a pass. If you are buying supplies for a cookout, however, the rules remains in strict effect. Yes you need ketchup and mustard and buns for your hotdogs and hamburgers, but if you are over the limit, carry your ass to the slow lane.

Additional rules:
No coupons unless you are the only one in line. If you have already begun the checkout process and someone comes into line. You've got 5 coupons to wrap that shiat up.

No checks. Seriously, why are you writing a check for 10 items? Get with the damn 21st centuary and use your debit card. Hell, get some cash back for the next time you hit the express lane and save everyone some time.

Have your cash or card ready or at least easily accessable. After your purchases have been totaled and bagged, and the cashier is now looking at you like she expects some sort of action on your part is not the time to be digging through that overnight bag you call a purse to find your debit card which you leave rolling around loose somewhere on the bottom with your chapstick, tampons, perfume, panties that got dirtied the night before whilst banging your boss, lipstick, 4 bottles of water, flax seed bars, old corroded pennies and all the other crap you keep in there.

We understand that sometimes you can't math, and might exceed your allowable overage by another item or two. This will be judged on a case by case basis. This is judged strictly on a whim and can be affected by how bad a mood the person behind you is in, how quickly everyone needs to be at work, how hot you are, and other various factors. You may get off with a warning, you may get a face punch. It's one of the risks you will have to be ready to accept.

These are the rules that have now been set forth. I expect everyone to abide by them.
 
2014-07-15 10:29:28 AM  

FarkingReading: I choose the line with the hottest chick, whether she's a customer or employee.

Then I don't care if the line moves quickly or not.

True story.


[brilliant.jpeg]
 
2014-07-15 10:29:29 AM  

LemSkroob: Imperialism: 1. Self-checkout should be reserved for those who used to be grocery store cashiers. They're much more efficient at scanning and bagging, and many of us still remember the most popular produce codes.


In my experience, the self-checkouts take longer. I do as much as i can to help. I have my store card out already in my hand as i approach. I have all my items in my basket with the UPCs facing up at the ready, and i have no coupons.

Yet i still find myself "waiting" for the machine to accept produce weights, have to wait for the conveyor to move the single item down the line before it can accept another scan, have to wait for it to "think" about what it wants to do do next, etc.

And if im buying Beer, or medicine, or anything else that 20% of the items in the store require overrides, you are farked and have to waive down one of the minions.

Most of the time, you are still better off going to a human checkout lane, because there there is no computer that has to 'confirm' everything at each step. It just assume the cashier is doing the right thing.

I like the idea of self-checkout, it just hasnt been fully developed yet.


I will say that I like and don't like self-checkouts.  It's great when I have two or three items; I'm in and out pretty fast, no issues.

Although the problems that you mentioned are valid, I more often than not see another issue with the self-checkouts.  The ones I'm familiar with, make you put your stuff on one side of the checkout and then you scan the item and place it in the bag.  Heaven forbid that you either move stuff around in the 'bin' next to the checkout and/or move stuff around in the bag checkout.

checkout pc:  "Please put the item back in the bag!"
me:  "uh, it is, I just moved it around...can I scan my next item please?"
checkout pc:  "please put the item back in the bag!"
me:  *facepalm*
checkout pc:  "please put the item back in the bin and re-scan it!"

Sometimes it's not too bad and if it does get stuck in that routine, I just wait 5-10 seconds for it to "settle down" and then I can start scanning again.


There really needs to be a lane for credit/debit card ONLY.  Cash only lanes too...but NO COINS and no checks!
 
2014-07-15 10:30:21 AM  

thornhill: Gulper Eel: The secret: watch the registers where there are female customers whose purses are in the top section of the cart. They will be paying by check and jamming up everybody else's lives in the process.

Yeah, I think payment method is the biggest slowdown, and it's obviously impossible to know how people will pay.

Also, if stores are not going to do serpentine lines, then how about registers that are credit card only, and only having one that accepts check.


Then you'll get clueless people who make it all the way to the end of checkout before realizing they were in the wrong line the whole time...

kroonermanblack: Why not just do what I do, and shop at 7am on Saturday? No one else in the damn store.

I hate lines, and am a morning person, so it works great for me. Produce is usually decimated sat/sun afternoon so there's still a great selection.


The person behind you buying only a jug of milk will love you and will come to biatch on fark about their shiatty luck at grocery store lines. I used to shop Monday nights and would have a bunch of people with like two items pile up behind me with sneers after the cashier started to ring me up. Also, in that situation you feel obligated to let people go ahead of you (before they start ringing you up of course). After letting two about ppl ahead of me, I'd usually give up out of exhaustion and selfishly go ahead as it was late and I wanted to go home. Grocery shopping is never that great of an experience.
 
2014-07-15 10:31:07 AM  
Avoid welfare people.  You can spot them easily by the contents of the cart.  They're the fat ones with all the junk food.

Avoid immigrants from India, Pakistan or the Phillipines, They're a pain in the ass to everybody.

Avoid old people.  They love checks.

What you want to find is the good looking people buying healthy food.  They have their shiat together.
 
2014-07-15 10:31:39 AM  

WanPhat: The calculation and conclusion that one line that disperses to the different counters is more efficient is an engineering school staple.  All engineers were taught this.  The effect is that engineers spend the rest of their lives frustrated because most places don't do their lines that way.

The fact that the world is not made up of engineers is evident at the airport baggage check.  Simple logic, no calculation necessary, would tell you that it would work so much better if everyone would just stand back and go forward to get their bag when they see it.  But no, everyone stakes out a spot pressed against the belt so you have to wait until your bag comes around to your exact spot and then try to work your bag through the jam of people who won't move.

I'm a very tall and large fellow.  Most of my travels that involve baggage checking are to and from Asia (where the people tend to be smaller).  These days I stand back and when I see my bag I say "excuse me" and push through, grab my bag, hoist it over everyone and leave.  No objections yet.


I stand back, loudly say "excuse me," push my way through, then swing the bag sideways taking out the campers mumbling "what kind of an idiot stands within a foot of the carousel?"
 
2014-07-15 10:32:41 AM  

MattyBlast: "Queuing Theorists??"  Does our society really need such a profession?  Apparently so.


I took a semester of Markovian Queuing theory in grad school.  Fascinating subject.  It made Quantum Physics seem simple and uncomplicated in comparison.  The prof would start most lessons by asking "using common sense, what do you think the answer to [insert question here] would be?" and then go on to show mathematically how common sense got it completely wrong.

Sadly, being able to model a grocery store checkout with queuing theory has never helped me get through the line before my ice cream melted.
 
2014-07-15 10:33:31 AM  
People are animals.
Everything in this thread proves that it's better to be rich so you can avoid them/these places entirely. See also: public transport.
 
2014-07-15 10:34:41 AM  

HotWingConspiracy: wildcardjack: Article gets to "supermarkets don't have enough physical space" and that's where I stop reading. Walmart will have 30 lanes, 150 people waiting, and 4 cashiers. And it's not even that they won't staff it, they simply won't pay well enough to attract people capable of working the registers.

Those lanes exist for christmas season and christmas season only. They could honestly give less of a shiat how long you have to wait, you're not going to leave your shopping cart full of shiat behind to go fill up one at a different store and they know it.


I've abandoned carts full of thawing frozen food because I knew it would be ruined before I could get it home.

/on purpose
 
2014-07-15 10:36:09 AM  
I like seeing tight-asses get all worked up waiting in lines. The impatient, raging alcoholic is my favorite specimen - he'll put down his 12 pack of "old mutton twat" and stomp off while calling some random female a coont... then there is the self-entitled soccer mom who cuts off several people without asking because she's only buying one thing. The scenario I am waiting for though, is having the soccer mom cut in line in front of the raging alky... that display will be a total divide by zero of people watching.... unless, of course, you can come up with a better vignette, I'd love to hear it...

I just like to watch people and judge them while in checkout lines.
 
2014-07-15 10:36:50 AM  

MemeSlave: thornhill: MemeSlave: It needs to be like a Bank or the DMV or a big print shop - push to 1 giant queue, have multiple registers service a single queue.   You'll have 1 long queue, but the average wait time for everyone in the queue will be minimized.

I guess you didn't read the article.

And I know you didn't:

Now, queueing theorists have come up with a good solution to this problem: Just make all customers stand in one long snaking line, called a serpentine line, and serve each person at the front with the next available register. With three registers, this method is about three times faster on average than the more traditional approach. This is what they do at most banks, Trader Joe's, and some fast-food places. With a serpentine line, a long delay at one register won't unfairly punish the people who lined up behind it. Instead, it will slow everyone down a little bit.


Good to see that you went back and read the article and saw that it covered your suggestion.
 
2014-07-15 10:38:29 AM  
You, with 5 items, will head to the express line of 10 items or less. There you will queue behind Orca, the Killer Couponer. She has 15 items for which there are 20 coupons. Some of those will be 25 days expired and they will argue for 30 minutes all for saving 35 cents. You will wish 40 days and nights of plague upon her and end up being 45 minutes late getting home. After another 50 minutes you will realize that you forgot something that you need because dinner has to be started in 55 minutes and everyone else will be home in an hour.

/just don't get behind the old lady with a stack of old gift cards that all just have 'change' on them
//or the one with the tardis purse that holds everything in the known universe... EXCEPT her wallet
 
2014-07-15 10:38:47 AM  
I usually use self-checkout.  Usually there's a line, but I use the wait to silently judge the relative intellect of the people trying to use the things.  It provides great amusement.
 
2014-07-15 10:42:29 AM  
Usually no problems at Walwart, unless the line is short on nonexistent I'll wait.
We don't have a lot of shopping choice in my village, but I never use them for groceries. Their ads for "Price matching" are apparently unknown to some of their employees. Every once in a while, I'll get stuck behind some retired person with a month of groceries, trying to use the express or speedy checkout.I don't mind a couple items over the max, but I'm vociferous about that.
 
2014-07-15 10:42:54 AM  

Fubegra: Here in Illinois, store clerks under 21 can't ring up alcohol - they have to get a manager or older cashier to ring up the item, because that bottle of bourbon or 12-pack of beer emits Evil Alcohol Rays™ that will turn them into raging drunks or something. Or, more likely, they can't be trusted not to ring up purchases for their underage buddies.


This is the biggest reason for delays at my local store. I'll go up and down all the aisles looking for the kid that might be old enough to ring up a couple bottles of wine. There's only one lady that's a checkout person that is over 21, otherwise, they have to get a manager. I've waited 5 minutes or more for someone to grab the bottle and run it over the scanner, then move on to the next lane and do the same thing with their beer, etc. Hopefully no one wants cigarettes, because that's another delay while someone runs to the back counter to get them and bring them back to the lane. To make it worse, they've eliminated all self-checkouts to provide "better customer service".

TJ Maxx/Marshalls does the serpentine line in a great way. It moves fast, and they have tons of random things to "shop" for while waiting. I bet they sell a lot of additional items just by having a line in that manner.
 
2014-07-15 10:43:07 AM  
(csb) Best person I ever checked out behind was Barney Martin...the guy who played Morty Seinfeld.

He lived in my home town for a while and could line up his groceries by weight and by type (produce/perishable/frozen/other), help with the bagging as needed AND have his credit card swiped and back in his wallet, leaving him time to make silly faces at my infant daughter and make her giggle, which in turn enabled me to get my groceries lined up the right way.

Rest in peace, bonnie prince Barney.
 
2014-07-15 10:47:34 AM  

Disaster Transport: Fubegra: Here in Illinois, store clerks under 21 can't ring up alcohol - they have to get a manager or older cashier to ring up the item, because that bottle of bourbon or 12-pack of beer emits Evil Alcohol Rays™ that will turn them into raging drunks or something. Or, more likely, they can't be trusted not to ring up purchases for their underage buddies.

This is the biggest reason for delays at my local store. I'll go up and down all the aisles looking for the kid that might be old enough to ring up a couple bottles of wine. There's only one lady that's a checkout person that is over 21, otherwise, they have to get a manager. I've waited 5 minutes or more for someone to grab the bottle and run it over the scanner, then move on to the next lane and do the same thing with their beer, etc. Hopefully no one wants cigarettes, because that's another delay while someone runs to the back counter to get them and bring them back to the lane. To make it worse, they've eliminated all self-checkouts to provide "better customer service".

TJ Maxx/Marshalls does the serpentine line in a great way. It moves fast, and they have tons of random things to "shop" for while waiting. I bet they sell a lot of additional items just by having a line in that manner.


Generally the whole 'not being able to buy liquor in grocery stores in NJ' thing is really annoying but that just sounds insane.
 
2014-07-15 10:47:44 AM  
Just relax, wait your turn, pay, and leave.  You haven't got anywhere too important to go.  People get aggravated over trivial stuff.
 
2014-07-15 10:48:46 AM  
I will say that the number one issue that I've seen (especially in big stores like Walmart or Target, etc...) is that there are always lanes that have no one at the register.  Just hire more people and have all lanes open at all times (especially during busy seasons).


The other thing I remember now is that the last time I went shopping to Sam's Club with my parents (years ago), they had separate lines but Sam's actually had employees at the 'start' of the line to the lane/register and that person actually scanned your membership card and then all your items so that by the time you actually got to the register, just pay for it all and wa-la, you're done.

Thought that was really nice and worked well enough!
 
2014-07-15 10:48:58 AM  
My wife was nearing her due date with our second baby, in the middle of summer in Florida, with sore feet and a back ache when this little old guy slips in front of her in line. She fumed and huffed and puffed but didn't say anything. So he checks out and leaves, my wife checks out and leaves and finds this same little old guy jogging from his car toward her motioning to her. She's pissed, furious, exhausted, pregnant, hormonal, hot, and ready to flip her shiat but before she could say anything, the guy hands her a little framed plaque with an inspirational message for expectant mothers. It was obvious that he made it himself. Apparently he keeps a few in his car and gives them to pregnant women that he encounters. If you've ever spent time with such a pregnant hormonal woman, you can imagine how fast her anger turned into great big sobbing tears.

Hearing about this, I still say it was a dick move that he cut her in line, but she disagrees and tends to give jerks the benefit of the doubt from now on.
 
2014-07-15 10:49:00 AM  
I must be lucky, because I almost always wind up in a fast line.  Except for yesterday the the dumb [male] cashier was so busy jawing with other co-workers it took forever to get out - all because of him.

/Hear that Kroger's?
 
2014-07-15 10:50:41 AM  

markie_farkie: I vote we demand all retailers have one lane that's staffed every second the store is open with the following sign:

20 ITEMS OR FEWERNO COUPONSCASH/DEBIT/CHARGE ONLYNO BULLSHIAT ARGUING OVER SOMETHING THAT RANG UP FOR A NICKEL MOREIF IT DOESN'T SCAN, FORGET IT.DON'T EVEN THINK OF ASKING THE CASHIER TO SEND SOMEONE TO FIND A THING YOU COULDN'TTHANK YOU, COME AGAIN


Back when Phar-mor (A pharmacy with a very shiatty VHS rental service) was going out of business, they were liquidating everything (even the shelves). I stopped in because I needed an item of some sort. The guy in front of me decided this was the day to get in a pointless arguement. He was buying a birthday card. The cards were marked 30% off.
The cashier takes off 20% and then 10%. The guy starts flipping his shiat about how 20% and 10% off is NOT the same as 30%. The cashier is trying to figure out how to refund and do it 'right' and having problems.
I look at the guy and sat 'Are you farking serious? Yes, 20 and 10% is not the same as 30%. But we're not talking about a car or plane ticket here. It is a single Goddamn birthday card that costs $1.49. The company is out of business, this lady is out of a job in a few days, and this is what you want to make a big deal out of? It is a couple of farking cents here. You are costing yourself more time than what a few pennies are worth. You are definately costing *ME* more time than what 3 pennies are worth. Tell ya what, I'll make this simple *thows nickle on counter in front of him* Bam! Problem solved. You've even made  a net profit. Now take your farking card and carry your ass out of the store"

/The guy was a rather meek looking guy who was not bigger than me, so I felt safe in showing my ass
//The cashier told me I was her hero.
///But not hero enough for her to offer to sex me, apparently
 
2014-07-15 10:51:31 AM  
FTFA : During a queueing theory conference, Larson said that a hotel lobby was once clogged with queueing theorists attempting to check in to their rooms. The mathematicians decided to take matters into their own hands and form a serpentine line to handle the volume.

thebrotherhoodofevilgeeks.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-07-15 10:58:49 AM  
Stay away from lines with the elderly, foreigners, any mom that is alone or with her mom and has at least 4 kids.
 
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