Ok, so, you know the "20 items or less" line at Wal-Mart?

My supervisor shared a story with me about her trip to Wal-Mart last night for pet supplies: she went to the “20 items or less”* lane, and the woman in front of her had about 80 items in her cart. But she followed the spirit of the lane, by carefully counting and paying for 20 items at a time. With a check. And coupons. Each time. :eek:

Truly mundane and pointless, but I figured someone might get a kick out of the story. I did. :slight_smile:

*(Yes, we both gripe that it should be “fewer,” not “less” . . . didja think that’s what this post would be about? ;))

As an ex-cashier, that story just makes my stomach knot up in barely-repressed memories…

Hah, we have an “8 items or less” lane.

I’ve seen a few people do that in supermarkets here. They’re often motivated by the cheap petrol deals that a lot of supermarkets offer. If you spend more than a certain amount ($30 or so ?) then you can use your receipt to buy discounted petrol. The discount is usually about 4-5 cents per litre. So by splitting up their purchases into separate lots, they get more than one petrol discount voucher.

It’s still bloody annoying when they do it though…

Cashier should be taken out and shot.

I say this as a former Wal-Mart cashier.

The rule when I was working there was that if someone obviously had more than twenty in the cart, (hopefully you would have an opportunity to look at your line between customers), we had to, erm, redirect the customer. I remember one time a customer with a cart full of about eighty bottles of Gatorade (!?!) was hovering between the four 20-or-less lanes, making eye contact with the cashiers, and we all told him he needed to move along to the regular lanes. He was pissed.

Of course, if it’s really slow, and the customer had groceries (the express lanes were nearest the grocery section) we would show mercy, provided it wasn’t a huge cartload.

But really, ringing up eighty items twenty at a time? Really bad judgement on the cashier’s part. The customer should have been shooed away to the regular lanes.

The Asbestos Mango, if all 80 bottles are identical, then can’t you ring them all up at the same time by scanning one and telling the computer to multiply by 80? I’ve never been a cashier, but I’ve seen them do this before. The whole point of the express lanes is that they go quickly, so I would think this would be fine. What am I missing?

I think doing 20 at a time is fine, if you go back to the back of the line after every 20. It’s like, I don’t care if you want to ride a roller coaster 10 times, but you have to go to the back of the line after each one.

Excellent solution, TJdude. “There, we’ve done your 20 items, now git.” Ooh, I like that for anyone over the limit - cashier rings up the set amount, then tells them she can’t ring any more through on that line. Oh, for a world where this actually happens.

What you’re missing is that each flavor of Gatorade has its own ISDN code, and I would have had to scan one of each flavor, then count how many there were of that flavor to multiply by, repeat with the next flavor.

Add to that the fact that 80 is a rough estimate, not an actual number, so even if the bottles had all been the same flavor, I still would have had to take them out of the cart in order to do an accurate count, so it would have been faster simply to scan each individual bottle than to count them then scan one and multiply by 80.


Move along to the regular lane. You have more than twenty items.

Thank goodness Wal-Mart prints the number of items at the bottom of the receipt. You know what my greatest item count for a customer coming through was?

120 items.

Aside from that, our CSMs have instructed us that we can’t turn people away to other registers. We can suggest that it might be faster to go to a different cashier, but we can’t tell them to go away and throw babies at them.

When I worked at Kmart, we were not allowed to enforce the 10 items or less rule. I shit you not, my manager wouldn’t allow it. Even though it said on the light, Express 10 items or less, I got in trouble for practicing that. So I was screwed either way-enforce the rule, and my manager bitched at me. Don’t enforce it, and the customers bitch at me.

In the UK, Marks & Spencer changed the name of its express aisle to “X items or fewer” following appeals by pedants. Well done, them!

The only reason these people do it because they can get away with it. If the staff turned around and said “I don’t think so” they’d be less likely to do it next time.

Target stores have signs that say “X items or fewer” by their express lanes. The first time I realized that, I was so overjoyed that I told the cashier how wonderful it was, and promptly declared that Target was my favorite store. The cashier looked at me like I was out of my mind. Eh, maybe she had a point.

I just realized that the other day, myself. I was completely in shock. That said, I don’t particularly mind the “8 items or less” construction.

That still doesn’t make it correct. I also would look more favourably on a store that bothered to get the grammar on its signs right. But, who are we kidding, we are in the vast minority if we even notice that it’s wrong.

THis is definitely possible. I go into the express lines with more than the designated number, if I have multiples that bring the scanned items down to the regulation 8 or 10 or whatever. I wouldn’t do this if they’d actually hire enough people to man the 647 empty check-out stations. And leave each line 10 deep in the process.

They wouldn’t be identical if they were different flavors. Back in the canned cat food days at our house, we’d buy three flavors…6 cans each…and separate them as such. Then 6 rolls of white scott tissue, 2 Hershey bars, and a few bars of soap…easy enough.

Yes, but you’re being considerate and thinking of the effects that your actions have on others. You’re not likely to cause the kind of trouble we’re ranting about here.

I suppose. But, to be honest, I prefer the “or less” construction. The “or fewer” construction sounds stilted and needlessly pedantic to my ears. Obviously, this is because I’ve been exposed to “8 items or less” type signs for my entire life.

Also, per dictionary.com:

(My emphasis.)

I’m still laughing at this. It will now become part of my everyday lexicon! Thanks, Chaoticdonkey !

snort Throwing babies…heh.