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In-Line Etiquette: Opening a new checkout line
Old 11-12-2010, 10:13 AM   #1
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In-Line Etiquette: Opening a new checkout line

I took today off, and went shopping with husband. We bought a few items at BJ's, where there was only 1 checkout line open, with half a dozen customers - several with gigantic orders - ahead of us. (We both hate BJs' "self-check-outs" and won't use them).

Husband went over to the service counter and requested another line be opened. A clerk opened a new line and called everyone over. Husband (who is twice other customers' age and also twice as speedy) got first in line. We then (both of us) got chewed out by an indignant customer with a huge order who insisted we should have let other people go ahead of us, because they had been waiting Just As Long As You.

To top it off, the clerk at the new counter was in a dreadful mood, and took it out on us. He was as surly and sarcastic as I've ever come across, and when I asked him his name (in a friendly tone), flipped his name badge at me and wanted to know if I expected him to quit then and there.

Did we do something wrong here?

Amethyst
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:32 AM   #2
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If I were the customer, I wouldn't have said anything, but I'd probably be a little ticked off at you--maybe the person who yelled at you had let someone with only a few items go ahead of them already. And it sounds like you didn't have to wait in line at all if DH went over to get another line opened (not just as long as they had)?

The clerk was having a bad day--no excuse for him. But do you always ask for clerks' names, in a friendly tone or not?
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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Retired, and never in a hurry, so I don't try and rush over when a new line gets opened. Have even been known to let a few people ahead of me if their orders are small and I'm doing my once a month bulk buying.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:44 AM   #4
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I think those who have waited the longest should get to go next. Opening an additional line does help everyone get out faster. As for gigantic orders, you could request that the retailer have special lines for that, but they probably would not comply.

The situation you describe is multiple servers with multiple queues, and they can lead to inequities with large orders, a slow cashier, or a slow check-writing customer who waits to hear the total before they even think about reaching for their checkbook. I apologize if this offends anybody.

Multiple servers with a single queue are more fair, but few places take this approach. The only ones that I can think of are Fry's Electronics and the U S Postal Service.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:48 AM   #5
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There is etiquette and there are manners. When a new line has been opened, the store should select the first customer to be checked out and then let everyone else queue as best they choose.

Manners are what you see in polite company amongst respectful folk but not often in public settings, especially retail outlets and their parking lots.

Personally, I think if your DH took the initiative to get the line opened he should be entitled to first to be checked-out. When a stranger starts complaining to or about me in similar situations, I just try to smile, wish them a good day, and be grateful they cannot yet read my thoughts.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:50 AM   #6
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I usually try to let whomever is next in line switch to the newly-opened lane.

Was in Wallyworld one day, in the 20-item-or less lane. The person in front of me had an overflowing cart. Not being able to resist temptation, I casually remarked that it was the 20-item-or-less lane. The answer: "I know what lane it is."

I refrained from making an additional comment, which would have been "So you're not illiterate, just rude..."
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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Sometimes the clerk takes a person near the front of the existing line, I don't go behind with my elbows out, but neither have I ever seen a perfect queue develop. If a new line just opens, it is mostly a scramble, people trying to look nonchalant while putting themselves as close to the head as possible. One of the most interesting situations that I encounter is at Trader Joe. I always have a small number of things, from one to maybe 12 if it is wine day. So somebody with a cart heaped to the ceiling and I will be heading from different directions for the same short line. We try not to look at one another, while carefully judging closing speed and angle, not obviouly speeding up. It is pretty funny, but one of us always slows, once the first arrival seems settled.

Also, it depends on the store and the ethnicity. In some spots if you get too polite you will never eat.

As far as you getting chastised, isn't that pretty much just life in the big city?

Some of these people have bizarre expectations of perfect order of their design. Yesterday I went into a crowded coffee house out at UW. In warmer weather it is fine to sit on the bench in the alley if there is nowhere to sit inside, but yesterday was drizzling so I plopped my bag onto a chair across table from some notebooks, pencils, etc. I figured someone is coming back, but can tolerate me sharing. Guy comes back with a girl, and is looking around for owner of the bag blocking her chair. I had just given my order so I went over and apologized and took my bag. After I got my coffee I sat down at another table at an open space across from where I had seen a singleton set his stuff. This guy sat down and we chatted a little. While I was sitting there drinking my coffee a middle aged guy behind me said, "I think someone else may be going to sit there." , I figured unless it is Mike Tyson on parole, this mythical person can find his own seat so I stayed put. Mystery man never did show up.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
Multiple servers with a single queue are more fair, but few places take this approach. The only ones that I can think of are Fry's Electronics and the U S Postal Service.
REI is another, at least here.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:59 AM   #9
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In a perfect world, I think that people who waited the longest should have gone ahead of you. Now that I am retired, I don't mind letting people with small orders skip ahead of me, but I am doing it out of mere courtesy.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
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REI is another, at least here.
And come to think of it, Barnes and Noble. Guess I just don't do a lot of retail shopping in person.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:06 AM   #11
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IWas in Wallyworld one day, in the 20-item-or less lane. The person in front of me had an overflowing cart. Not being able to resist temptation, I casually remarked that it was the 20-item-or-less lane. The answer: "I know what lane it is."
Expresshole - A$$hole that uses the express checkout line when they have more than the maximum number of items allowed.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:06 AM   #12
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If I see a new line open I go for it . Occasionally I'll hear a snaky remark which I just ignore . If they people waiting are much older or have a screaming baby I do let them go ahead .
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:10 AM   #13
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I don't like to brag, but I've never experienced such a thing in my 39 years here in Hawaii (but I never go to Waikiki -- I don't know about there). People are just too polite. A couple of days ago, an elderly man got in line behind me at the grocery with no basket -- just carrying some things in his arms, and I tried to wave him ahead of me, but he just smiled and said he was in no hurry. I've never seen anyone ask to have a new register lined opened, but when one does, a clerk often has to pick people out of the other lines and wave them into the new one, because everyone hangs back. Too hard to figure priorities.

And you don't hear car horns here, except rarely. In the 5 years I've had my car, I've never used the horn.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:11 AM   #14
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I am one that thinks that the people who are waiting in line before me should be the first in the new line... I think it is rude to 'cut'... and IMO this is cutting... if I am in the back when a new line opens, I let the people in front of me go first...


Now... if I was just walking up and saw that a new line was just opening... and I got in line I would not have waved others in another line over... so I guess I might be considered rude here...


Since you only had a few items... and they specifically put in self check registers for people with a few items.... you made the decision to NOT use them... that is your decision..


BTW, at our HEB store, the self check usually is a single line for the 4 registers... I was surprised at the Kroger that it was 4 lines for them...
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:18 AM   #15
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Expresshole - A$$hole that uses the express checkout line when they have more than the maximum number of items allowed.


Best Buy also has a single line with multiple check-out clerks, which is the system I prefer.

DW often complains that we have chosen the slowest line, but I don't care, just relax and let it happen, life's too short. I have pointed out to DW that the odds of choosing the quicker line are always against us. Once in a line you can usually see at least 2 other lines so the odds against you are 2-1.

As to OP's question, I always give folks ahead of me in a line the option of going to a newly opened register first, regardless of how loaded their cart is.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:21 AM   #16
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Apparently we don't look old enough for people to cut us any slack, so I will plan to carry a screaming-baby doll next time we go shopping (either that, or stop coloring my gray hair )

Honestly, though, we seldom encounter any rudeness when we shop. We were in Target and Walmart before BJs, and everyone was nice to us. That's why I wanted to get others' views on today's experience - it was over the top.

Quote:
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If I see a new line open I go for it . Occasionally I'll hear a snaky remark which I just ignore . If they people waiting are much older or have a screaming baby I do let them go ahead .
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:33 AM   #17
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Both of us agree with you, TP, except that the only reason the new line was even opened up, was that my husband took the initiative to ask for it. He did everyone a favor. Looking back, I think the other customer didn't realize that, because she'd been chatting away on her BlueTooth. She just saw the new line open up, and Mr. Amethyst charge to the front. So, not only was she slower to the goal, she wasn't even on the ball....Now I am laughing, which is good - thanks guys!

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I am one that thinks that the people who are waiting in line before me should be the first in the new line... I think it is rude to 'cut'... and IMO this is cutting... if I am in the back when a new line opens, I let the people in front of me go first...


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Old 11-12-2010, 12:03 PM   #18
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I expect rudeness and that way I'm surprised when people are nice.

I look at my once every week or so trip to Walmart as penance for some dreadful crime I did in a past life. It is a grim place with every possible member of the GP on display so I just endure it and leave with as much dignity as I can muster with my cheap and probably poisonous groceries and sundries.
But hating Walmart is kinda like hating work--everyone does.
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:11 PM   #19
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Both of us agree with you, TP, except that the only reason the new line was even opened up, was that my husband took the initiative to ask for it. He did everyone a favor. Looking back, I think the other customer didn't realize that, because she'd been chatting away on her BlueTooth. She just saw the new line open up, and Mr. Amethyst charge to the front. So, not only was she slower to the goal, she wasn't even on the ball....Now I am laughing, which is good - thanks guys!

True... your husband getting someone to open another line should come into play.... but since your are probably the only one who knew it... well...

But, in your first post... "Husband (who is twice other customers' age and also twice as speedy) got first in line." seems to indicate he was back in line with you when it happened...



OHHHH... and to the poster about someone with more than 20 items etc... I have pointed it out a number of times... and once when I brought it up a store person asked them to go to the correct line...

Now.... if they would only check out 20 items and then stop.... it might change things... (and 5 of one thing X 4 is not 4 items.... it is 20 items)...
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:23 PM   #20
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