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  #1  
Old 01-31-2015, 11:57 PM
opossum opossum is offline
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Grocery Store Express Lane Proposal

I was in an "express lane" at a grocery store tonight and the two customers ahead of me each had way over the advertised "12 items or less." (I had seven items, they had full grocery carts with probably 20-30 each).

I understand why they don't turn away customers who show up in the express lanes with more items than allowed, but if I ran a grocery store I would slap a per-item surcharge on anyone who came through an express lane with more than 12 (or 10 or 15 or whatever the limit is) items. I'm sure the cash registers could easily be programmed to handle this. They could even give a discount to customers who go through the lines with fewer items.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2015, 12:10 AM
Grrr! Grrr! is offline
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I like your idea.


FTR though, at my grocery store (Kroger) they have a "director" that just sort of sits in the back and instructs people which line to go to. On several occasions I have been instructed to go to an express lane even though I clearly had more items than was allowed.
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2015, 03:51 AM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Originally Posted by opossum View Post
I would slap a surcharge on anyone...
Why stop with just slapping a surcharge?....I'd rather slap the damn person in the face!
And then make him go sit in the "time-out" chair near the cleaning supplies.

And that's just for a first offence.
Second offence-- I'd offer him a choice: death by stoning, or being burned at the stake.

-chapachula, who just spent way too much time in the checkout lane, and the ice cream started to melt. (Chocolate rum with fudge swirls).
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2015, 03:54 AM
RobDog RobDog is online now
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I wouldn't be surprised though if the express lanes then became slow lanes full of people happy to pay the surcharge.

Maybe stop ringing up items after the nth, then tell them to go to the back of the queue to check out the rest?

Last edited by RobDog; 02-01-2015 at 03:55 AM..
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2015, 04:23 AM
Locrian Locrian is offline
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I can see the surcharge for extra items happening! The discount, not so much.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2015, 05:23 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Personally, I love the self checkout.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2015, 05:50 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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I love self check out except......


When someone decides to push through a whole cartload of stuff and inevitably stuffs a few things up. I think they should be express as well.

Situation at the local supermarket- quite small- and has only three self checkouts. A woman took one and directed her two small children to use the other two. It was chaos.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2015, 06:59 AM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is offline
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At the grocery I go to, some of the express lanes have really small areas to load your purchases to be checked out, not the usual conveyor belt the regular lanes have.
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2015, 07:45 AM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Originally Posted by Shakes View Post
On several occasions I have been instructed to go to an express lane even though I clearly had more items than was allowed.
Some weeks ago, I was at the grocery store with an overflowing cart, the regular lanes were jam-packed but the express lane was completely empty. I asked the cashier if it was okay to use his lane, and he accepted.

Halfway through checking out, an elderly lady with two items got in line behind me. Man, if looks could kill...
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2015, 08:49 AM
Honey Honey is offline
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Originally Posted by buddha_david View Post
Some weeks ago, I was at the grocery store with an overflowing cart, the regular lanes were jam-packed but the express lane was completely empty. I asked the cashier if it was okay to use his lane, and he accepted.

Halfway through checking out, an elderly lady with two items got in line behind me. Man, if looks could kill...
If they were very cheap items, I probably would have just added her items to my purchase. A couple of items, maybe under $10.

It's worth it to make an elderly lady's day.
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2015, 09:22 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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How about just displaying the number of items scanned on the register screen, in two-inch high characters? Or maybe the register could announce by how many items you exceeded the limit? Perhaps shaming people would help.

Also, I'd prefer it if the people who are paying with hand-written checks or have a pile of coupons skip the express lane.

There was an early episode of The Simpsons in which Marge and Homer were separated for some reason so Marge was grocery shopping on her own. Apu (who was still single at the time) directed her to the bachelor-only lane; fewer items and no chit-chat.
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2015, 10:09 AM
even sven even sven is offline
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I thought this thread was going to be about an exceptionally unromantic marriage proposal.

I think your system will ultimately cause even more delays, as everyone is going to want to turn it in to a fight- the person who thinks 10 cans of tomatoes should count as "one" item, the person who claims they didn't know it was an express lane, the person who goes over the limit with a pack of gum they picked up in line and doesn't want to pay extra.

Since there is a coat involved, everyone is going to want to turn it in to a fight. And there will need to be some way to adjudicate the that fight. And in the ends, it's all going or be much slower than just letting them go through, and it will cost the store more customers in the end.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2015, 10:11 AM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
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At my grocery store, there are a few items that you purchase by asking your cashier for them..then either they or the bagger goes to the service desk across the aisle, gets the item, and brings it back. Cigarettes, for instance, are handled this way.

I think you shouldn't be able to do this in the express lane. Either go through a normal lane, or go to the service desk yourself.
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  #14  
Old 02-01-2015, 11:06 AM
drewtwo99 drewtwo99 is offline
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What happened to the good old days when you could head down to your local Groceries and Sundries, walk up to the counter, hand your shopping list to the shop-keep, and walk out a few minutes later with all your goods?
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  #15  
Old 02-01-2015, 11:32 AM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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This is one of the problems I have at Wegman's. At each checkstand they have a light with the checkstand number; this is standard practice for nearly all supermarkets. Underneath this light is another panel with "12 items or fewer" on it, e.g. exactly like this. When that secondary light is on, it's the express lane. Sounds like a good plan, in theory, but in practice, it's an easy thing to miss, and sometimes people, namely me, accidentally don't see the bottom light on and push their loaded cart through the express lane, and by the time I notice, if I do notice, I've already unloaded most of my stuff and the checker has already started.

To their credit, the checker never says anything about it, and the store is always well-staffed enough they can open as many checkstands as they need at any given time so no other customer has ever complained. So no harm, no foul, but still, I do feel bad.
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  #16  
Old 02-01-2015, 12:59 PM
Spiderman Spiderman is offline
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There are some good ideas here; however, some of them will be expensive to implement - purchasing & special setup for the short conveyer belt, reprogramming the checkout system to add either an item count or a surcharge.
IMHO, it would cost far less for the store manager to go to the nearby hardware store & purchase a few ax handles &/or pitchforks. There, problem solved for less than $20.
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  #17  
Old 02-01-2015, 01:10 PM
california jobcase california jobcase is offline
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I wish for real "cash only and we mean it" checkout lanes. It seems it never fails that the person I'm behind waits until a hundred dollars worth of groceries have been rung up before she starts rooting through her luggage sized purse to find the wallet with the card in it. Swipe, swipe, denied! Oh well, try these other three cards- no good? Well, here, I have my checkbook! Can I use your pen? Oh, you need my driver's license?

I know others will now say cards are faster due to their ninja card swiping skills and knowledge, but in my experience it ain't so around here!
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2015, 01:12 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Originally Posted by opossum View Post
I was in an "express lane" at a grocery store tonight and the two customers ahead of me each had way over the advertised "12 items or less." (I had seven items, they had full grocery carts with probably 20-30 each).

I understand why they don't turn away customers who show up in the express lanes with more items than allowed, but if I ran a grocery store I would slap a per-item surcharge on anyone who came through an express lane with more than 12 (or 10 or 15 or whatever the limit is) items. I'm sure the cash registers could easily be programmed to handle this. They could even give a discount to customers who go through the lines with fewer items.
Ours just won't ring you up. If the limit is 12 items and you have fourteen, no one will blink. But if you push through a half full cart that is obviously over 12 items, you are told to stand in a different lane.

The best solution to this problem is probably to call over a manager and tell them that the express lane need to be the express lane or they won't see you around there. Then leave your ten item cart for him to find the staff to put it back to make your point, and shop somewhere else that day. After a few people make this sort of stand that takes his resources in restocking an abandoned cart, he'll figure out that he needs to instruct his staff to behave differently.

Ours also suggests a limit of 10 items at a self checkout. It isn't enforced, but you seldom see people with cartfuls.
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  #19  
Old 02-01-2015, 01:13 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
I wish for real "cash only and we mean it" checkout lanes. It seems it never fails that the person I'm behind waits until a hundred dollars worth of groceries have been rung up before she starts rooting through her luggage sized purse to find the wallet with the card in it. Swipe, swipe, denied! Oh well, try these other three cards- no good? Well, here, I have my checkbook! Can I use your pen? Oh, you need my driver's license?

I know others will now say cards are faster due to their ninja card swiping skills and knowledge, but in my experience it ain't so around here!
People still carry cash? Enough people to actually have cash lanes?

I suspect there isn't enough cash business for this.
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  #20  
Old 02-01-2015, 01:29 PM
Projammer Projammer is offline
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Originally Posted by opossum View Post
... but if I ran a grocery store I would slap a per-item surcharge on anyone who came through an express lane with more than 12 (or 10 or 15 or whatever the limit is) items.
Nah. Every express comes equipped with a clue-by-four that the clerk administers to the forehead of the offending customer for each item over the limit. Start with a tap as a reminder for the first item working up to a full two handed wallop at around the twentieth.
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2015, 01:31 PM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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Originally Posted by drewtwo99 View Post
What happened to the good old days when you could head down to your local Groceries and Sundries, walk up to the counter, hand your shopping list to the shop-keep, and walk out a few minutes later with all your goods?
Indeed! Then you put your sack of supplies in your buggy, head down the carriageway and you're done!

If you read this in a "Mr. Burns" voice it sounds even funnier.
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  #22  
Old 02-01-2015, 01:34 PM
brainstall brainstall is offline
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I used to get annoyed, now I tell myself I should just feel sorry for the people so lacking in intelligence they can't count. Then I wait, feeling smug and superior about my math skills.
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  #23  
Old 02-01-2015, 03:18 PM
Bill Door Bill Door is online now
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At my grocery store people with 12 items or less won't get a special line. What kind of bullshit is that, anyway? "I hardly buy anything, could I have special treatment at the checkout?" In the meantime the store's best customers are relegated to the end of the line. Fuck that noise, you want to get special treatment, fill the goddamn cart like God and Piggly Wiggly intended.
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2015, 03:49 PM
Count Blucher Count Blucher is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
I thought this thread was going to be about an exceptionally unromantic marriage proposal.

Q: Would she still say yes when, after scanning the ring, he fishes out coupons & a club card?

"But Look, Honey! Its one of those rings from Kays where the stone spins like a pinwheel if you twirl it. ...And on the other side, in the platinum is a Genuine Siren Whistle! Only the Schlockenbrothers carves siren whistles into their rings... and they are sold Exclusively at Kay's...!"
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  #25  
Old 02-01-2015, 04:01 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
I know others will now say cards are faster due to their ninja card swiping skills and knowledge, but in my experience it ain't so around here!
I was thinking "old lady with a change purse full of pennies and nickels", myself.
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  #26  
Old 02-01-2015, 04:10 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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The person paying cash can't do so until everything is scanned and the total announced. But the credit card user can scan his card while stuff is still being scanned. At most, he has to accept the total and sign on the screen. And at some stores, amounts up to $25 or $50 don't even need a signature. So credit cards are faster.

Also, I've never used a check at the supermarket, but from what I can see, you don't even need to fill it out. The cashier puts the check in the machine, which then prints the amount and other info on the check. I think you still need to sign it, though.

The most annoying customer is the one who waits until everything is scanned and bagged to then dig through his wallet or her purse for a method of payment. Didn't it occur to them that they might need that earlier?
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  #27  
Old 02-01-2015, 04:39 PM
california jobcase california jobcase is offline
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I can have my cash out of my pocket, in hand, so all that needs to happens is for the cashier to make change. Doesn't take any longer than all the tapping and signing even if the card is swiped early. Cards can be swiped early, but I have yet to see many people do that.
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  #28  
Old 02-01-2015, 05:17 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
Why stop with just slapping a surcharge?....I'd rather slap the damn person in the face!
And then make him go sit in the "time-out" chair near the cleaning supplies.

And that's just for a first offence.
Second offence-- I'd offer him a choice: death by stoning, or being burned at the stake.

-chapachula, who just spent way too much time in the checkout lane, and the ice cream started to melt. (Chocolate rum with fudge swirls).
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Personally, I love the self checkout.
Please return item to the baggage area.
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  #29  
Old 02-01-2015, 06:17 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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When I worked at Kmart, we weren't allowed to "enforce" the Express Lane, even though there was less room there. Anyone who wanted to come through could. And guess who usually had to work there? Ugh.
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  #30  
Old 02-01-2015, 06:39 PM
Doug K. Doug K. is offline
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Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
I wish for real "cash only and we mean it" checkout lanes. It seems it never fails that the person I'm behind waits until a hundred dollars worth of groceries have been rung up before she starts rooting through her luggage sized purse to find the wallet with the card in it. Swipe, swipe, denied! Oh well, try these other three cards- no good? Well, here, I have my checkbook! Can I use your pen? Oh, you need my driver's license?

I know others will now say cards are faster due to their ninja card swiping skills and knowledge, but in my experience it ain't so around here!
I would add cash in hand, merchandise in the other. If you can't carry it in one hand go to a regular register.
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  #31  
Old 02-01-2015, 06:44 PM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
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Originally Posted by Bill Door View Post
At my grocery store people with 12 items or less won't get a special line. What kind of bullshit is that, anyway? "I hardly buy anything, could I have special treatment at the checkout?" In the meantime the store's best customers are relegated to the end of the line. Fuck that noise, you want to get special treatment, fill the goddamn cart like God and Piggly Wiggly intended.
I go to the grocery store 4-5 days a week. I buy small quantities of fresh stuff. I've been shopping at the same store since it opened in the late 80s. I might not be feeding a family of 4, but I'm pretty sure I'm one of the stores better customers. And I usually have 10 items or fewer.
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  #32  
Old 02-01-2015, 07:05 PM
Shoeless Shoeless is online now
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How about the other side of the coin? People with half a dozen items in their basket stay the hell away from the regular checkout when you have six self-service and two express lanes to choose from, so I don't have to wait behind you with my full cart.

(Used to be just the old blue haired ladies doing this, but lately the college students have started pulling this crap too.)
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  #33  
Old 02-01-2015, 07:16 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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You would rather wait in the regular lane behind someone with a full cart rather than someone with six items in a basket?
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  #34  
Old 02-01-2015, 07:43 PM
JohnGalt JohnGalt is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
(snip)

Since there is a coat involved, everyone is going to want to turn it in to a fight. And there will need to be some way to adjudicate the that fight. And in the ends, it's all going or be much slower than just letting them go through, and it will cost the store more customers in the end.
So the coat comes off when the fight starts?
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  #35  
Old 02-02-2015, 12:50 AM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is online now
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Know your store.

One look at the parking lot tells me if I am even going to turn in.
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  #36  
Old 02-02-2015, 04:15 AM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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Originally Posted by Digital is the new Analog View Post
Cigarettes, for instance, are handled this way.
Around here, most service-station armed robberies are drug-related crimes by nicotine addicts with no cash: "all the cash in your drawer, and a carton of cigarettes".

I don't think you'd have much luck trying to put the cigarette buyers in a slow lane: when they're buying cigarettes, they can be pretty focused.
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  #37  
Old 02-02-2015, 05:16 AM
picunurse picunurse is offline
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Originally Posted by drewtwo99 View Post
What happened to the good old days when you could head down to your local Groceries and Sundries, walk up to the counter, hand your shopping list to the shop-keep, and walk out a few minutes later with all your goods?
Did you just fall out of the 19th century?
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  #38  
Old 02-02-2015, 05:30 AM
flodnak flodnak is offline
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Our local Ikea has a self-checkout system for 15 items or fewer. Usually people respect this, but I've seen a couple of chowderheads going through - or trying to - with two carts packed full. (Packed full of largely small things, by the way; I realize 15 of the bigger items at Ikea can easily fill up two carts.) The regular lines were too long, you see, and the self-checkout line was moving faster....

My son has proposed a solution: an alarm system. Let things slide until you hit 20 items. For each item you scan after that, set the register to give a short WHOOP! and flash a light for a couple seconds. You can still go through there if you insist, but everyone else will know you are either a) self-centered enough to think the sign doesn't apply to you; or b) unable to count to 20 (unless you are barefoot or wearing sandals).
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  #39  
Old 02-02-2015, 08:51 AM
EmilyG EmilyG is offline
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Originally Posted by brainstall View Post
I used to get annoyed, now I tell myself I should just feel sorry for the people so lacking in intelligence they can't count. Then I wait, feeling smug and superior about my math skills.
They either can't count or can't read.
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  #40  
Old 02-02-2015, 09:07 AM
lieu lieu is offline
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The checker should ring up the first 12 or 15 items, whatever the posted express number is, and then all addition items in excess of that should be put back in the basket, moved to the back of the line and the buyer can sit back there with them and go through the line a second time.
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  #41  
Old 02-02-2015, 10:59 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is online now
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A surcharge might be illegal or perhaps not legal to implement in some places. In MA, or just a part of it, (and perhaps other places) if a item scans more then it's price it is free. I don't understand all the ins and outs of this law but that's the gist of it. It is not however the wording of it. Adding a surcharge might run afoul of it because now one is paying more then the price.

Also in my experience CC's are in general faster then cash per user, also using cash means that the cashier has to periodically change out bills and change which adds to the delay.
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  #42  
Old 02-02-2015, 11:21 AM
steronz steronz is offline
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The problem of long lines at grocery stores is entirely the product of the stores themselves, who want to make you want next to high margin items in individual checkout lanes. Everyone knows that having a single line that splits at the head to the first available register is the fastest way through, but we all tolerate this horrible system that's forced on us and instead blame our fellow shoppers for not being able to quickly count to 12. It's misplaced anger.
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  #43  
Old 02-02-2015, 11:52 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I don't think that's the reason, because the stores I know that use the single queue for multiple registers still put the high-margin items next to the people in the single queue.
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  #44  
Old 02-02-2015, 02:49 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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Originally Posted by Shakes View Post
FTR though, at my grocery store (Kroger) they have a "director" that just sort of sits in the back and instructs people which line to go to. On several occasions I have been instructed to go to an express lane even though I clearly had more items than was allowed.
My Kroger does this as well. And I fell for it. Then this happened:

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddha_david View Post
Halfway through checking out, an elderly lady with two items got in line behind me. Man, if looks could kill...


Never again!
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  #45  
Old 02-02-2015, 07:17 PM
BaldDudePeekskill BaldDudePeekskill is offline
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And what's with supermarkets with 20 available registers, 3 of which are self-check (which I loathe) and 4 human beings ringing up items? Our local Stop and Shop is like that. 20 available lanes and I have never seen more than 7 registers going at one time. Ever. I know it's cost savings, etc.....but more and more I'm avoiding that store and going to the Shop Rite which is always well-staffed. It's worth the extra 2-3 cents per item, sometimes.
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  #46  
Old 02-02-2015, 07:30 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I don't think that's the reason, because the stores I know that use the single queue for multiple registers still put the high-margin items next to the people in the single queue.
Yeah. the high margin items are the same across all checkstands. Fry's (not a supermarket, true) has a single queue system and you walk past all kinds of junk.
The self-checkout line is a single queue system, but it is rare that something doesn't break. I brought my own bags - it doesn't like the bags. The last time it rejected my cough syrup because it had *gasp* alcohol in it.
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  #47  
Old 02-02-2015, 08:29 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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I say we reduce gun murder of violators in the express line down to voluntary manslaughter.
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  #48  
Old 02-02-2015, 09:14 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Originally Posted by flodnak View Post
My son has proposed a solution: an alarm system. Let things slide until you hit 20 items. For each item you scan after that, set the register to give a short WHOOP! and flash a light for a couple seconds. You can still go through there if you insist, but everyone else will know you are either a) self-centered enough to think the sign doesn't apply to you; or b) unable to count to 20 (unless you are barefoot or wearing sandals).
This is pretty good, but I'd tweak it just a little.

The sign says 12 items or less. After the 12th item, the scanner quits working ande the "Wait for Attendent" sign pops up. The cashier steps over, punches in the code and politely says, "Oh, this is the Express Lane. Go ahead."

If the mild public humiliation doesn't get them, having to wait for the cashier before they can finish checking out should do it.
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  #49  
Old 02-03-2015, 05:48 PM
TBG TBG is offline
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While you're at it, get them to change the signs to "12 items or fewer".

In good news, at least one major local chain does in fact use the correct "fewer" on their signs.
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  #50  
Old 02-03-2015, 06:22 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Originally Posted by BaldDudePeekskill View Post
And what's with supermarkets with 20 available registers, 3 of which are self-check (which I loathe) and 4 human beings ringing up items? Our local Stop and Shop is like that. 20 available lanes and I have never seen more than 7 registers going at one time. Ever. I know it's cost savings, etc.....but more and more I'm avoiding that store and going to the Shop Rite which is always well-staffed. It's worth the extra 2-3 cents per item, sometimes.
Just like you said, cost savings. You may go elsewhere, but most people won't. They did that at Kmart -- it's called "short staffing", and it sucks. Deliberately schedule just enough people to barely cover the place. Customers bitch at you, you have one person covering three departments...etc.
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