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20-40-60 Etiquette---Speed it up in the checkout line?

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: May 19, 2011

YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!

QUESTION: Could we have a little more efficiency in the market place? Every time I am waiting in line at the grocery store, women take up my time. They wait until they are at the checkout counter to unzip their purse, pull out their check, write it, and pay. This takes forever.  Why can’t they show a little consideration for the people behind them and be polite enough to already have that done before they are ready to pay.  How can we speed up the process?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Are you really in that big of a hurry? I would be annoyed if you were tapping your foot at me. Waiting for someone to take their purse out takes two minutes out of your life. Be patient! You can always use the self –checkout.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: QUESTION: Is it always women who take up your time? Do you ever have problems with cashiers who are slow to ring up your items, too many people in the store and not enough checkout lanes open, items that weren’t coded properly so they have to be keyed in by hand or any number of issue that can delay checking out? Have you ever forgotten your wallet and had to run back to the car?

All of us have had situations that delay time in line at the grocery store, and the wait can be frustrating, especially when we have a long to-do list that doesn’t include standing in line. Yes, it’s considerate for someone to anticipate when it’s time to pay, but I’m not sure that takes as long as you think it does. I think the only thing you can do here is be patient with others who aren’t as prompt as you are and make sure you have your own wallet out, ready to pay, so the people behind you will quietly thank you for making them wait one minute less in line.

HELEN’S ANSWER: Thanks for bringing that to the attention of the reading public. Maybe if we realize we should have the check ready, we can do it.  Unfortunately lines are just that… lines….each and every customer is important to stores and the clerks make sure all people are treated with the same courtesy. One friend of mine had to wait while the lady in front of her went out to the car to get thirteen cents ( she did not want to break a dollar bill.)

The only way to speed up the process is to have someone monitoring the lines and telling customers where to go to get through the fastest. Since that will probably not happen, then it is up to you to be vigilant and look to see who is ready to get on out of there. Sometimes even the most well -meaning person gets held up with a credit card or spoiled food that needs to be replaced. Anyway, good manners dictate that we not scream at them and just politely wait our turn, or leave the line for another one.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Matt Price, Features Editor:  I suppose I’m more frustrated by this in the “express” line than the regular line, but I have to admit — I’ve never chosen the correct checkout line in my life.  Whichever one I get into will immediately have a customer who forgot his wallet, or the register will break, or someone from “Extreme Couponing” will be in the line.   It can be a long, and potentially frustrating, process.  But we can’t control what others do; we can only control our own reaction to it.  Maybe you can use that extra time in the line for quiet contemplation, or to send a text message to a friend, or maybe do some isometric exercise.

As Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, “He that can have patience can have what he will.”  Or to put it in the words of another, Guns N’ Roses frontman W. Axl Rose: “Sometimes, I get so tense/but I can’t speed up the time./You know, love, there’s one more thing to consider./Said woman, take it slow./Things will be just fine./You and I’ll just use a little patience.”

And if you were one of the fans marking a 15-year wait for a new Guns N Roses album between 1994 and 2008, it was a good thing to have a little patience.  Compared to that, what’s 15 minutes in a check out line?

Callie Gordon, a college junior,  was an Oklahoma City 2009 debutante. Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a former  debutante and currently the assistant features editor for The Oklahoman. Helen Wallace has written a social column for The Oklahoman for many years and has been on various local Ball committees. Guest is Matt Price, The Oklahoman’s Feature Editor.

This group does not always agree (via age differences), but they ALL see the need for proper behavior.
Ask a specific etiquette question and you will get three answers…Then you decide for yourself how you would handle the situation. The answers have information for every age range….Callie is 20-ish; Lillie-Beth is 40-something, and Helen is 60-plus.
Please email us with your questions and  follow us on Facebook, Twitter and daily blogs. We will try to answer your etiquette questions  weekly on the Parties Extra! blog. Sometimes we will ask other people for their opinions.
Look for us!
E-mail us! helen.wallace@cox.netlbrinkman@opubco.comcalliezok3@aol.com

 

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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