Shopping Discussion

What is the etiquette for lining up to pay at the cash?

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  • Apr 28th, 2020 3:24 am
[OP]
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Sep 6, 2017
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What is the etiquette for lining up to pay at the cash?

What is the norm, morales, standard, or etiquette when you line up to pay at the cash?

I did all my grocery shopping this afternoon and proceeded to line up after this lady. The lady goes off for like 5 minutes and already in front of her car is 5 free spaces. So I passed her cart along with everybody behind me. Then after before I get the go ahead to the cash she comes back.
Obviously, she did not finish her grocery shopping and wanted to hog a spot in the cashier line up.
17 replies
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Feb 11, 2007
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cristianosham wrote: What is the norm, morales, standard, or etiquette when you line up to pay at the cash?

I did all my grocery shopping this afternoon and proceeded to line up after this lady. The lady goes off for like 5 minutes and already in front of her car is 5 free spaces. So I passed her cart along with everybody behind me. Then after before I get the go ahead to the cash she comes back.
Obviously, she did not finish her grocery shopping and wanted to hog a spot in the cashier line up.
Start coughing and picking your nose, nobody will come near you. Just don't cough on anyone deliberately or you will be arrested for terrorism.
Member
Apr 10, 2020
284 posts
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cristianosham wrote: What is the norm, morales, standard, or etiquette when you line up to pay at the cash?

I did all my grocery shopping this afternoon and proceeded to line up after this lady. The lady goes off for like 5 minutes and already in front of her car is 5 free spaces. So I passed her cart along with everybody behind me. Then after before I get the go ahead to the cash she comes back.
Obviously, she did not finish her grocery shopping and wanted to hog a spot in the cashier line up.
It really depends on the situation. If she was alone and she only needed to grab one item, it is fine if she asked you ahead of time that she needed to grab something. Grabbing a lot of items while leaving her cart would be impolite, since it would be evident she was hogging up the space. In that scenario, once it is supposed to be her turn and she's still not back, it wouldn't be impolite for you to pass her. She can always go after you once she comes back. In your scenario, however, it's fine, since she came back when it's her turn. While it may be impolite, she didn't waste your time waiting for her to come back.
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Dec 18, 2017
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London, On
GeneralStore wrote: It really depends on the situation. If she was alone and she only needed to grab one item, it is fine if she asked you ahead of time that she needed to grab something. Grabbing a lot of items while leaving her cart would be impolite, since it would be evident she was hogging up the space. In that scenario, once it is supposed to be her turn and she's still not back, it wouldn't be impolite for you to pass her. She can always go after you once she comes back. In your scenario, however, it's fine, since she came back when it's her turn. While it may be impolite, she didn't waste your time waiting for her to come back.
She kinda did waste the OP's time because if she had just gone and done her shopping like she should have done, she wouldn't have been in the line in front of the OP to begin with. You can't just go park a cart in line to save your spot and go walk off to grab an armload of stuff and expect people behind your cart to just say "no problem, go ahead".
Deal Addict
Feb 19, 2017
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Vancouver
If she was gone 5 minutes, they gave up her spot...

Its fine if someone tells you ahead of time they are getting a last minute item etc but if they never said anything and you just see a vacant cart, then you can pretty much assume they already left. If they weren't leaving, they should've told someone ahead of time and not assume anyone knows what they are thinking. If she told you, then proper etiquette would probably be wait till its her turn. If she isn't back by the time its her turn you can pass her and finish your own trip. Again her fault for taking too long.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 13, 2012
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Ottawa
I'd say the informal rule is ten seconds. If you can grab the item and be back to the cart in ten seconds, you get to keep your place in line.
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Apr 10, 2020
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djeffery wrote: She kinda did waste the OP's time because if she had just gone and done her shopping like she should have done, she wouldn't have been in the line in front of the OP to begin with. You can't just go park a cart in line to save your spot and go walk off to grab an armload of stuff and expect people behind your cart to just say "no problem, go ahead".
I don't know how many items she was carrying back to her cart. I also don't know the reason for doing this. Did she grab only one item because she forgot something or did she take a bunch of items with her? OP didn't mention any of this, so I am giving this person the benefit of the doubt. As I mentioned earlier, it really depends on the situation.

Having said that, how much time would the OP have saved by moving up one cart? 30 seconds? 1 minute?
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Dec 18, 2017
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London, On
GeneralStore wrote:

Having said that, how much time would the OP have saved by moving up one cart? 30 seconds? 1 minute?
However long it takes for the cashier to process that person's order I guess.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
I think the key thing here is ...
Did she just disappear / do a runner ?
Or did she turn around and tell you her plans ?

The POLITE thing here would be to tell the person behind what’s happening
“I forgot x ... really need to nip back to the aisle & nab one”

Of course you’d say “Go ahead”

But the ASSUMPTION would be ... that if she’s not back for her turn, you’d go ahead

And the POLITE thing would be for you to turn to the person behind you and say ... “She said she’d be right back”
Maybe adding in a *shrug* or eye roll :rolleyes:

At which point it’s in their hands how to handle the situation ... abandoned cart in front of them (if I was them ... I’d do the same thing ... wait to see if she returned before proceeding forward ... I might mention it to the guy behind me ... but that’s cuz I am by nature a polite dude. But after me ... she’s really on her own ... as she’s been gone far too long to expect anyone holding her spot in line ).
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Sep 19, 2002
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I would have pushed her cart away to another lane or somewhere out of range. It's an abandoned cart. If there's any coin in the cart, it belongs to you.
Deal Guru
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Jun 27, 2004
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Since it sounds like you didn't lose any time, I would forget about it and move on. I've never had this happen to me for this duration of time, so what are the chances that it will happen again that you need to be prepared for a course of action?
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Sep 9, 2017
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I encountered an unaccompanied cart in a checkout line a few weeks back. Can't remember which store off the top of my head. I simply pushed the cart forward as the line moved and when the owner returned he was very happy and grateful. Cost me nothing and felt great.
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Dec 5, 2006
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djeffery wrote: She kinda did waste the OP's time because if she had just gone and done her shopping like she should have done, she wouldn't have been in the line in front of the OP to begin with. You can't just go park a cart in line to save your spot and go walk off to grab an armload of stuff and expect people behind your cart to just say "no problem, go ahead".
Alot people suddenly remember something when in the line. It's not necessarily parking
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Dec 5, 2006
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PointsHubby wrote: I think the key thing here is ...
Did she just disappear / do a runner ?
Or did she turn around and tell you her plans ?

The POLITE thing here would be to tell the person behind what’s happening
“I forgot x ... really need to nip back to the aisle & nab one”

Of course you’d say “Go ahead”

But the ASSUMPTION would be ... that if she’s not back for her turn, you’d go ahead

And the POLITE thing would be for you to turn to the person behind you and say ... “She said she’d be right back”
Maybe adding in a *shrug* or eye roll :rolleyes:

At which point it’s in their hands how to handle the situation ... abandoned cart in front of them (if I was them ... I’d do the same thing ... wait to see if she returned before proceeding forward ... I might mention it to the guy behind me ... but that’s cuz I am by nature a polite dude. But after me ... she’s really on her own ... as she’s been gone far too long to expect anyone holding her spot in line ).
Agree
But you probably don't want anyone talks to you in current situation lol
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15987 posts
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Eastern Ontario
smartie wrote: Agree
But you probably don't want anyone talks to you in current situation lol
True

But if they stay their 6+ feet apart I wouldn’t have an issue

Truth is ... we can all try to be a bit more KIND + CONSIDERATE

During these hard times, cuz there’s ALWAYS GONNA BE SOMEONE WORSE OFF THAN WE ARE

Could very well be that person in line of front of you

Kindness goes a long way ... especially like if as @Kelly M said above ... in the long run, it cost you nothing

You still end up at the cash register in the same amount of time (or less ... if they aren’t back yet)

The paybacks can be huge though.

People are grateful, esp during tough times.

And Karma. Karma is alive & well ... all the time.
No good deed goes unnoticed
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Sep 26, 2011
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engineered wrote: Start coughing and picking your nose, nobody will come near you. Just don't cough on anyone deliberately or you will be arrested for terrorism.
Sooner or later supermarkets will run out of new ideas to further restrict customer movement, so this cutting out/back into line situation will probably be the next target. Once someone determines that arrows/signs for one-way-aisles aren't effective enough, they'll probably install permanent narrow tunnel walls like a corn maze, and conveyorized tracks on the floor to force people to stay equidistant apart and keep moving at a controlled pace. :rolleyes:
Deal Guru
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Jun 27, 2004
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Just make everyone wear a 2m radius cone of shame.

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