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.

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.

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).

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?

I can see the surcharge for extra items happening! The discount, not so much.

Personally, I love the self checkout.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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. :eek:

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!

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.

People still carry cash? Enough people to actually have cash lanes?

I suspect there isn’t enough cash business for this.

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.