Is this a violation of the spirit of the supermarket express lane?

While I was at Wal-Mart this afternoon, I had the misfortune of getting in the 20-item-or-less express lane behind two people who were sharing a cart but paying for their respective purchases separately. They were well over the 20-item limit between the two. I was already steamed, so this didn’t help much, but I honestly started wondering about the ethical implications.

Did each have 20 or fewer items? If so, how is it different from two customers using two carts?

That’s what I think as well. I can see how it would be annoying but they were also being efficient by just using one cart and not blocking the isles more with two. That sounds fine to me.

I didn’t count the number of items each individual bought.

It just seems, I don’t know, dishonest because if it were two buyers and two carts, the amount of time spent sorting out which person belongs to what items is minimal. As it was, there were a few minutes spent where both people discussed items neither one remembered putting in the cart.

Okay, that makes it more a stupidity violation than an ethical violation. My mom and I used to do this (share a cart, not argue about what was in it) when she was using the riding one. I just put my stuff into the basket so we didn’t have to take up too much space. Or before that, when she needed to push the regular cart so she could lean on it, we just both used the one. But we always knew what we were each getting. Of course, sometimes there was the issue of whether I was going to allow her to pay for my items, but that didn’t take very long to resolve.

^^^That makes it a violation. The sign should make it clear that you have to get your stuff out of the cart real fast, otherwise go to the slow line with all the other lazy folks who have nothing better to do

That is a different issue then. People shouldn’t be disorganized airheads when they get to the checkout lane. They should know that they are actually going to present some form of payment at the end and realize that what is in their cart is things that they actually intend on buying (this isn’t always the case by any stretch). If two people are sharing a cart, they do need to have their purchases segregated ahead of time. They never really should have been mixed in the first place. I was a supermarket cashier for 3 years in high school and it is amazing what simple concepts people don’t understand. It is astounding that some of them found their way to the store in the first place and apparently have food, clothing, and shelter arranged somewhere by the grace of some higher power.

I am of the opinion that everyone should have to work in a retail store for a few years when they’re young. Especially during the holiday season. I’m doing most of my durable goods shopping NOW, rather than putting off those purchases until after Thanksgiving. This benefits me and everyone else around me.

Somewhat off topic, but for me a violation of the “spirit of the supermarket express lane” i.e., getting through the line quickly, is when the store has one “express” lane that doubles as the special service lane. Yep, nothing quicker than taking my two items to check out behind someone wiring money to Central America or buying $500 worth of lottery tickets. :rolleyes:

And of course, there are the people who wait until after everything is rung up to look for their checkbook and then spend several minutes writing out the check, or they spend five minutes going through their purse looking for exact change.

I was annoyed the other day when the shopper in front of me apparently knew the cashier, and spent a while chatting with her. I didn’t want to look like an asshole, but I also wanted her to move along. (I remember an episode of The Simpsons in which Apu advised Marge not use the express lane, but instead the longer line, “Look. All pathetic single men. Only cash. No chit chat.”)

Walmart has 20-items-or-fewer lanes. They also ignore their own rules since I’ve seen violators every time I go there. The clerks don’t care and very few of the customers complain. And when they do, nothing is done about it.

That wouldn’t annoy me as much as the single person who wants to split up their purchase into two or more transactions. Yeah, I get why they want to do that sometimes, but I was misled! There was only one person in front of me!

And people who buy lottery tickets of any kind and hold you up for frickin’ ever when all you want to do is pay for your gas will serve time in Purgatory to get those stains off their souls.

Unless the person has an absolute cartload of stuff, I truly can’t imagine even noticing let alone caring about the ethics or “spirit” of the express lane.

My atttitude is, the express lane should be an express lane, i.e. fast.

Some stores have two express lanes, tiered not only by number of items (which is good, because having a <12 and a <20 lane gets some of the people with more stuff out of the <12 items lane) but also by payment method: cash and credit/debit cards only in the <12 lane (which helps because checks take longer, especially with the idiots who don’t pull their checkbooks out until their sale has already been rung up).

It means that the <20 lane is only marginally faster than the other lanes, but the <12 lane moves.

Is paying by cheque still really common in the US? The only people around here (Western Canada) who use cheques at retail stores are old people, and that’s very occasionally because most places don’t accept them. Hell, the only reason many young people have cheques is because they are still standard for apartment rentals.

To the OP: Grow up!

I wouldn’t get annoyed by that, or even if they had gone through with 25-30 items as one person. What annoys me is when a person goes through with a whole carload of things and the checker doesn’t say anything. They never have in my experience and with the idea of “the customer is always right” they aren’t likely to tell them to go to another lane.

What annoys me the most, however, is not only when people pay with a check in this day and age, but they don’t even have the check filled out for the most part, or even have the checkbook out until they checker tells them the total… Let alone paying with a check for 20 items.

Filled out? Most of the check machines around here print everything but your signature on the check, so it’d be pointless to fill it out further than that.

I like to pay in nickels and pennies.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I wrote a check. All my bills are paid online and if I buy something in a store, it is with a debit card. Maybe I paid a contractor last year with a check.