Grocery Store Strategy

woman-checkout-lineThis weekend the grocery stores were full of people buying food and other products for those famous Memorial Day BBQs. Most of the people I saw at the store were in a hurry, trying to get back to the car where their kids were waiting, or back to the party where everyone was waiting for the chip dip or more drinks. I was in the same situation, running up to the store for a few quick items and wanting to get home as soon as possible. And so, as I approached the checkout line, I saw six checkers and lines of various lengths. I realized that choosing the correct line would be pivotal to my opportunity to get home quickly. So the lottery began, which line would I pick? Would I fly through the line getting home quickly, or be stuck in the time stretching line of a checker who is taking their sweet time? Fortunately for me that day, I picked a fast line. But how did I get so lucky? Was there any strategy involved?

Here are six tips for you to consider when you have the fateful and difficult decision of which grocery checker line you should wait in at the store:

1. How many people are waiting in line? The most basic question and kind of a no-brainer, but the place you need to start. Picking the line with the least amount of people in it is often times the fastest line, but not always.
2. How fast is the checker going? Try to gauge the speed of the checkers before you get in line? How fast are they scanning the items? Do they look new? Are they one of those who calls the back of the store and waits FOR HOURS for someone to come up and help them punch in three numbers?
3. Does the checker talk while scanning? Figuring out if your checker is multi-talented and can talk and scan at the same time is important. Are they working while talking or do they stop to talk to the customer, wasting precious time?
4. How many items do the people in front of you have? Getting more detailed now, how many items do the people in line in front of you have. There may be four people in front of you, but if they each only have a few items, you may get through faster than a line with only two people with a lot of items.
5. Is there someone helping bag the groceries? Is there an assistant checker who is bagging the groceries while the checker is scanning the items? Or will the checker have to scan the items, then bag them, extending the total check-out time?
6. What are the ages of the people in front of you? While this might be borderline profiling, as sweet as little old ladies are, they can be slow in digging through their purses for exact change? Ladies with babies are a wildcard: they could be in a real hurry and be quick or they could be distracted by their little one and take too much time.

These tips applied correctly can put you on your way to choosing the right line when at the grocery store. Got any other tips that you use when choosing your checkout line? Let us know in the comments section.

1 thought on “Grocery Store Strategy”

  1. I’d even go as far as doing sexist profiling. I’d rather be in a line of men then women simply because experience tells me men are less likely to have a stack of coupons. Also items are a dead giveaway to line length. If the guy in front of you has a couple cases of beer and looks highschool age they will get carded, and the cashier will generaly take time to check their ID carefuly.

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