Supermarket Sweep – Part 1

Mmm, supermarkets! Love ’em or loathe ’em, they are essential establishments for the vast majority of us. What would do without BOGOFs, buy one get second half price, not to mention the “they’re a bit past their shelf life but if you’re game they’re cheap!” and in all fairness the choice?

Having said that, however, there are several things that can leave one feeling a little exasperated! And the next couple of posts I shall get these little irksome annoyances off my chest 😉


Why is it shoppers seem to think it’s OK to try to put a trolley load of shopping through the “10 items or less” checkout? This is not as daft as it sounds. I actually witnessed a woman with a mountainous trolley push her way in front of me and proceed to empty the stuff onto the “10 items or less” conveyor belt. Cue a volley of abuse when the checkout staff politely pointed to the sign and asked her to reload her trolley and go to another till. What part of “10 items or less” did this woman fail to understand? Why did she deem herself to be immune from this particular little detail of the checkout in question? She may have been in a desperate hurry, who knows. But even in a great hurry, one would have thought she would have the intelligence and the courtesy not to be quite so arrogant, or alternatively had the foresight to plan one’s shopping trip to leave enough time to pay for such a huge amount of shopping.

I do, however think that some supermarkets are over-zealous in their attempts at keeping 10 items or less to just that. I have been in the supermarket and have seen people turned away from this till with 11 or 12 items and made to stand in the large trolley queues whilst the “10 items or less” remained empty and void of shoppers. I think that when the shop is not busy it would be appropriate for checkout staff to exercise discretion if there are only 1 or 2 items over 10.

The other thing that slightly irritates me is the paper/lottery/cigarette tills at the front of the store. Please supermarkets, leave them as just that! When the shop is busy this queue becomes the longest in the shop and an extension of the “10 items or less” till for those that have the couple of items over 10. If you want a paper/lottery ticket/cigarettes get them before you do your shopping or after. I appreciate that the great British past-time is queuing but I only went in for a paper I don’t want to have to queue for as long as I do if I’m doing my weekly shop! Is that too much to ask?

Oh and whilst I’m about it, how about re-opening a cash only till. I know cash is very much an alien concept these days, but sometimes I just don’t feel comfortable using a card for 2 items that cast me precisely £1.47!

Finally, self-service checkouts. Innovative, yes. Annoying, definitely. The great thing about them is you get to scan your own shopping. Fantastic. Less queuing time, generally, and you don’t have to pack like a madman because the shopper behind is encroaching in your own personal space whilst you are trying to pack and tut if you go slow! (Oh, I just love that, I purposely slow right down to the point of having a conversation with the cashier just to annoy ;-)) BUT, how annoying is it to get the “skip bagging item” or the beep because the weight device didn’t actually feel you pop the item in the bag because you put it on top and you have to ask for assistance and feel like the IT duncehead because you’re asking every 2 minutes. And whilst I’m on the subject of the assistants, is it part of the job description to look at everyone like they are some kind of master criminal about to leave the shop with a hot can of baked beans?? Finally design-wise leaves a lot to be desired, if I’m using cash I want to know my change is going to appear somewhere in the vicinity of where I put my money in, not from a hole that looks like a reject from a Las Vegas one-armed bandit, ditto the receipt. Aside from this though I do recommend self-service especially if you have a small child in tow, getting them to help with the scanning makes it much more fun!!


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