The art of the supermarket queue… isn’t it great that we live in such a civilised society that everyone knows the etiquette involved in the simple, but oh so effective queue! A system whereby fairness reigns supreme, and patience and respect are the foremost qualities displayed by all involved!
Well… that is the theory, but all too often, the reality does not live up to expectations!
I have no luck with queues. In fact, when I am in the supermarket it is with trepidation and reluctance that I push my trolley towards the checkout. And no matter how many checkouts are open, there are always queues!
The first dilemma is ‘What queue should I pick?’. The one with just two people, but each have overflowing trolleys? The queue with four people who appear to only have a small number of items? The queue with the Grandparents who look like slow packers, or the queue with cashier who looks half asleep?
Regardless of my initial choice, as I stand and wait, tutting and tapping my foot, it always appears that I have made the wrong decision. The other queues move faster, mine seems to be stuck as the little red light goes on overhead. The cashier needs to wait for assistance to complete some transaction or other! Can’t they see I’m in a rush!
Then there is the second dilemma! Should I switch to that other queue? The one which, had I of joined it in the first place, I would be singing along to the radio on my drive home by now! The temptation is great, yet I know from past experience… never switch… never switch! Any time I have dared to switch queues, Karma has laughed at my naivety, relished the opportunity and ensured that the supermarket queue I switch to would lose a race with any snail!
Finally it is my turn to start unloading. For some reason, the cashier wakes up as I am lifting my items out of the trolley, and all of a sudden I am in a race against the conveyor belt. It’s not big enough and it’s moving too fast. I fear that the person in front of me will have finished before my trolley is empty. In a panic I end up flinging the items out of my trolley, beans on top of bananas, fairy liquid nestled on top of frozen peas.
Usually I make it just in the nick of time! No time to rest though! Time to start packing the groceries up again. The cashier is really going for it now – I mean seriously… bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, it sounds like one per second! ! Can they not see that I need a minute? Can they not stop for a second instead of relentlessly shoving items down that shiny little slope?!
On a really bad day… I get a talking cashier on top of this! You know the one. The cashier that asks personal questions and doesn’t gleam from your one answered responses that you can hardly catch a breath here as it is, without engaging in idle chit chat!
Slowly but surely my trolley fills up again, it is nearly over. The bleeping has stopped. Just one more bag of goods and I’ll be done. Then the cashier pipes up, ‘Ninety Nine, Ninety Nine’. I’m still packing! Why can they not wait until I’ve finished packing before demanding payment? It’s actually quite rude to interrupt me when I am obviously busy! Never mind all those people in the supermarket queue behind, tutting and tapping their feet! I’m going as fast as I can!
I look for my purse. It is usually hiding at the bottom of my bag, and as I rummage through my stash of store cards and bank cards, the one I need to pay for the goods is usually the last to be found!
I can feel the eyes of the supermarket queue staring at me. I don’t know why! I mean the extra 30 seconds it took me to find my card is unlikely to have a hugely negative an effect on their life! Why are people always in such a rush?
Is this just my experience of the supermarket queue? How is it for you?