Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(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  
•       •       •

8173 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jul 2014 at 9:36 AM (1 year ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Funniest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Archived thread
2014-07-15 10:01:56 AM  
5 votes:
WanPhat:

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. when you consider that people still have sex and engage in pleasant, personal conversations.

FTFY
2014-07-15 10:20:44 AM  
4 votes:

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 09:49:48 AM  
3 votes:
I get behind the person with the 5 Link cards (Food Stamps) and the Well Infant Child food voucher.  It's my taxes, I might as well enjoy the show.

"John down at the welfare office says I can put this bourbon on my link card.  Call him and ask him"
"There is over 500 dollars on that card.  What did you do with my money?  This is an indignaion!"
The Well Infant Child Voucher allows the holder to get certain items.  Sometimes, it seems really defined like a 6.5 ounce bottle of MinuteMaid OJ.  But an effort is made:
"I can substitute Pepsi Cola for whole milk.  My baby likes Pepsi Cola!"

I have heard all of these and many, many more.  "If I tell all my friends that Shop 'n Save is racists - RACIST! We'll go someplace else and you'll be out a job!"
2014-07-15 11:36:00 AM  
2 votes:
CSB:

Lady is in line on the 1st of the month (Avoid shopping on the 1st if you can) with her EBT card and cart full of soda, frozen TGI Friday's chili poppers, bags of lay's chips and several packet's of Satan's Sack Sweat flavored beverage mix (The off-brand off-brand Kool-aid mix for the crotch goblins. grape of course). In addition to all the crap she's buying, she lay's *one* healthy thing on the belt. A bag of cherries. Upon being informed the cherries are 6 bucks, she promptly freaks the hell out. "Dem cherries ain't no 6 dollahs, dat sign dere said dey was 3 dollahs!" The cashier tried to explain that the price was 3 dollars a pound, and she had a 2 pound bag. The lady takes the cherries, and places them in the spot unwanted groceries go. Namely on top of the box of Snickers on the candy shelf, were they automatically become someone else's problem. She says "Hell naw, I ain't gettin' ripped off on no cherries when dat sign said dey were 3 dollahs. You ain't takin' MY money. You can keep dem shiats fo' 6 dollahs."

So as she is grabbing her bags o' crap I look at her and say "You're welcome" She just stares at me for a second and says 'Fo' what?'. I say "For those groceries my tax money paid for" She huffs and says something about "Whatevah, I'll kick yo cracker ass motherfarker talk to me about 'welcome' for some damn groceries man fark that nubian cracka ass he don't...." But by then she was out the door and I couldn't hear her any more.
2014-07-15 11:30:15 AM  
2 votes:

Big Beef Burrito: Big Beef Burrito: Why the fark do people that have been retired for thiry years still wait until Saturday and Sunday to go grocery shopping!?!?



Two reasons:
1) We often don't know what day it is as we just don't care.
2) Just to get in line in front of you so we can watch you squirm.  Cheap entertainment.
2014-07-15 10:43:07 AM  
2 votes:
(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 10:23:17 AM  
2 votes:
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 09:53:32 AM  
2 votes:

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 COUPONS

CASH/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

2014-07-15 09:50:14 AM  
2 votes:
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.
2014-07-15 09:42:43 AM  
2 votes:
I intentionally choose the line with the Nigerian cashier because he sounds like Dikembe Mutombo and I'm trying to figure out a way to get him to say "Who want to sex the Mutombo!?"
2014-07-15 09:39:45 AM  
2 votes:
Best lesson the Simpsons taught me: choose the line with single males even if longer.
2014-07-15 09:04:51 AM  
2 votes:
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."
2014-07-15 12:46:12 PM  
1 vote:
This is why I hired a personal shopper.

I also have a personal Fark representative to post mocking things on here for me.

In fact, I haven't even personally visited Fark in three years.
2014-07-15 12:21:40 PM  
1 vote:
Proof that there is an XKCD for everything:  XKCD on Consecutive Vowels (NSFW word)
2014-07-15 11:08:23 AM  
1 vote:

Calypsocookie: Do not go to Walmart on the 1st. Ever.


Oh, but DO go to Walgreen's on Christmas Eve toward midnight... the people shopping there are the living dead. Most are just shuffling into each other while holding a chia pet.

It's amazing.
2014-07-15 10:50:41 AM  
1 vote:

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 10:38:47 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:38:29 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:32:41 AM  
1 vote:

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 10:31:39 AM  
1 vote:

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 10:29:23 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:28:02 AM  
1 vote:

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 10:23:33 AM  
1 vote:
Don't get behind poors or olds and you're fine.
2014-07-15 10:21:06 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:16:38 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:11:26 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:06:58 AM  
1 vote:
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.
2014-07-15 10:04:04 AM  
1 vote:
Researchers have noted that some customers balk at serpentine lines, which can stretch much longer than the more traditional approach, preferring their chances of winning the lottery with multiple lines.

The same people also believe that they will be rich someday.
2014-07-15 10:03:24 AM  
1 vote:

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.
2014-07-15 09:52:33 AM  
1 vote:
"Mrs. Simpson, the express line is the fastest line not always. That old man up front, he is starved for attention. He will talk the cashier's head off. Let's go to...that line. "
"But that's the longest."
"Yes, but look: all pathetic single men. Only cash, no chitchat."
2014-07-15 09:50:56 AM  
1 vote:
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.
2014-07-15 09:50:49 AM  
1 vote:
"Queuing Theorists??"  Does our society really need such a profession?  Apparently so.
2014-07-15 09:46:46 AM  
1 vote:
It helps to know the checkers.  And avoid the coupon clippers and old ladies paying with pennies.
 
Displayed 33 of 33 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report