Thursday, June 02, 2005

Fun at the checkout

Is it just me?

Please be honest: I can take it.

Every time I go shopping at the supermarket, I choose my checkout as tactically as I possibly can. It's a skillful balance between the checkout with the shortest queue, the least number of items on the belt, and the judgement of how long the people in the queue will take to pack and pay for their goods.

It's the last factor that is the hardest to evaluate, and can lead to you choosing a longer queue with the smug knowledge that you'll be through faster than the person who went for the shortest queue. You couldn't be happier.

Except that the plan is always foiled. Whichever queue I go for, there's always somebody in front of me who decided they've forgotten an item, or have trouble paying. Your smugness turns to frustration as the person who went for the shorter queue sails out, and you can almost see the smug expression on his face even through the back of his head.

There was even one time I was in the queue and wife of the bloke in front of me barged past me with a second full trolley of stuff, and proceeded to hand things from it to the checkout attendant.

The side rule is that if you are lucky enough to get a checkout that is completely empty with no queue you will have to deal with the attendant either having to get change out of bags or change the till receipt paper.

So tell me: is it just me, or does it happen to everybody?

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