Do you get snarky with people with more than x items in the Express Lane?

So today I’m at Target with a friend. We shared a cart. We get in line, start chatting, blabla, when a guy says, “I can help you here.” Oh, lovely. The lady in front of us was buying the whole store. So we move to the next lane and my friend starts to put her things on the conveyor belt. She has like five items. A lady comes up behind us (a customer) and says, “Yeah, this is the Express Lane. Aisle Six is for you.”


Now, maybe I’m just from Iowa and we have manners, or just I don’t bitch over someone using the Express Lane when they shouldn’t (even though the clerk told us to), but seriously?

We both snapped, “He told us to come over here. Take it up with him or move.”

She replies, “Whatever” in a huge huff and my friend says to the cashier, “Tis the season, eh!” I put my things on the conveyor belt - candy and toothpaste, nice combo, eh? - and see that I have eleven because my friend forgot one of her dollar items. Still peeved at her, I say, “Oh, I’m so sorry - I have ELEVEN items.”

My friend and I were in and out of that checkout in about 5 minutes but this lady kept sighing and tapping her foot impatiently the whole time. It was all I could do to not punch her in the face. Not sure why, but that made me extremely pissed, so I returned immature behavior with equal to excess force. So then my friend accidentally drops her cup of ice and it went on the floor. She said, “Yikes! Wait, I don’t want anyone to slip,” and I said, “Except her” and my friend agrees. Then my son looks at me, looks at the lady having a silent freak out behind me, and does a quick twirl with his finger around his ear.

It was worth it when I saw her take her new red Santa shirt and stop off in a furious huff after she paid…and she was headed towards the back of the store.

Was she an employee?!

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else likes to play store manager when they see people in the Express Lane that shouldn’t be?

:: angel face ::

There’s already a thread going on this subject:

Although it looks sorta threadwrecked already, with people wandering all over on digressions. So maybe you’re best to be starting this new thread here.

First of all, you were completely in the right. The clerk told you to go there. End of story.

Second of all, after telling her this, you should have just ignored her. No need to say anything, look at her or even acknowledge her continued existence. I know ignoring people can be hard if you’re from Iowa - maybe you should take classes from New Yorkers.

Third of all, I never get snarky. Snark, as a weapon, is more or less useless. If someone brings a full cart to an express lane, I politely inform them of their error. Then I inform them less politely. Then I start shouting.

Oops. I see this has also been pitted (probably more than once) in the olden days.


I may have done so if she hadn’t gotten all honkey and huffy behind me. It was like she was a human espresso maker.


Is it just me or do people sometimes get snottier during the holidays? Or do we just notice it more?

I envy people with enough energy to get worked up over crap like how many items the person in front of them in the Express Lane has.

First of all you have to be ever vigilant for it. Then I guess, having spotted a possible infringement, you have to count the items. Now it becomes time to focus your attention on this infraction because, if you allow yourself to start thinking about anything else, you won’t be able to enact the aggressive/passive aggressive acts that you have your heart set upon.

Snarky? no. Occasionally if someone has a huge cartfull of stuff then yes, I’ll say something. Or sing something, Loudly.


First there is the N+(N/2) rule of thumb - if N (maximum number of items) is six, nine is within margin. If its twelve, you can get 18 through. (I don’t, if there is a line at the express lane, I’m a stickler and count mine. But I don’t get huffy if someone else is a little over and N+(N/2) is pretty close to when I’d start rolling eyes.

If there is no line for the express lane, but lines for the regular lane, the express lane becomes capacity overflow and is free for anyone. The register is open and its in the stores best interest to maximize throughput and keep MORE of their customers happy.

I only get annoyed, as has been said, when they have 27 items or whatever. These people are either assholes or oblivious. Old people are the worst, wandering up and down, muttering to themselves. No pity here!

Never. And no one has ever gotten snarky with me. But I almost never see people violating the rule.

Life’s too short to go through annoyed.

This is my rule–when you don’t have to count the items, when it’s over and above x by an absurd margin (and when I’ve got only candy and toothpaste)–then I may mention that they’re in the wrong line.

Except I too often don’t because, being a New Yorker, I don’t want to talk to other people at all.

I don’t get snarky with strangers in public unless they are about to kill me with their cars or something. And even then there’s a delayed reaction.

Anyway, I rarely notice how many items people have in their carts. I wouldn’t like someone looking at my tampons and underwear purchases, so I don’t snoop around in other people’s carts.

The holidays definitely bring out the ugly side of people. The stress, hustle and bustle, and pressure to make this the BEST Christmahannukwanzaaka EVAH really turns some people into trolls.

I’ve found the best way to handle people like that is to either serenely ignore them (which pisses them off because their little temper tantrum isn’t getting them the attention they want) or if it’s someone you can’t ignore (like a customer) smother them with kindness. That throws them off because it’s not the reaction they want and they can’t continue with their snit because it would make them look like a whiny little kid.

I fight dirty.

Meh. I may get mildly annoyed when someone seems to consider 94 jars of baby food to be “1 item” but whatever. If I can’t wait a trifling bit longer for the checker to scan a few extra items then I’m the asshole.

People tend to never notice that supermarket checkout is, on a time-per-item basis, the fastest in-person transaction they ever make. A few, or even a dozen, extra items is a difference of just a few seconds more.

I agree. The woman was in the wrong, but the OP could have handled it with a bit more maturity.

I’m a cashier who prefers working in express lanes, and I really don’t mind if someone brings 25 or 30 items into a 20-item lane, especially if I have no other customers. One night this woman (who I’m pretty sure was high as a kite) brought 70 effing things to my tiny express lane. I may have been a little less friendly to her, as the entire time I was thinking, “Can’t you read, you moron?”

I get more upset by signs that say “Ten items or less” when every right-thinking person knows it should be “Ten items or fewer.”

OK, I went back and read the OP.

Why would you brag about this? She was a pain, yes, but you have no moral high ground either. She might have been the type to go beserkers on you, your friend, and your son. And you would have only provoked her.

Your son needs you to model how to handle such situations maturely. Pissed off or not.

I am a cashier. If the store is dead, I will invite a customer to come to the “6 and under” line .Usually about that time is when people flock to the registers, so when the person behind is lookin pissed, I tell them that I called that person over there. As far as items, if they are the EXACT same, it basically counts as one. If you have 30 cans of soup/dog food that are different flavors, they need to be scanned individually to keep track of inventory, so that does NOT qualify as one item!

I take it you’ve never been in an express lane (Five items or fewer) and the person ahead of you has an entire shopping cart full of items, many of them small. Seems to me a cart full of 50 items is a bit much. Then again, the cashier fears for their job and ends up annoying everyone because of one jerk shopper.

The only time I will mnd in the slightest if somebody is only one or two items over is if they decide to pay with a check (not nearly as bad as it used to be, with the electronic check readers) or credit card, or they need something that requires the checker to call for something. Even then, I will overlook it if there are two people (unless one of them is a really young child), as they could always go through the hassle of breaking up the items into two smaller groups and having each person pay for “their” items.

There have been times when an express checker told me, “I can help you here,” and I responded, “But I have 14 items!”