5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster

By Kyle James on 9 March 2017 0 comments

Have you ever picked a checkout line at the grocery store only to realize that every other line is moving faster than yours? If you're like most, it can drive you crazy and make you feel very unlucky. Here are some checkout line tricks, many of which are based on science, to help you pick the fastest line and get you out of the store as quickly as possible.

1. Get Behind a Full Cart

This one will surprise many of you. If you have the option of getting behind a shopping cart packed full of groceries, or a line with several smaller purchases in it, always opt for the full cart. This is due to the fact that it takes significant time to complete the purchase when you consider bagging, paying, and exiting of the checkout line.

According to the New York Times, each shopper will take approximately 41 seconds to complete the purchase (including pleasantries) once the items are scanned and bagged. So if you opt for the one full cart, instead of several smaller ones, you'll quickly remove all of the fixed time it takes to complete those purchases.

2. Avoid Chatty Cashiers

Nothing holds up a line more than a cashier who likes to chat you up and ask you about your day. If you want to get out of the store quickly, avoid them like the plague. Focus on cashiers who are all business and are scanning items at a quick rate. As you begin to shop regularly at stores in your area, you'll quickly determine who the chatty cashiers are and learn to pick another checkout line.

3. Head Left for Fastest Checkout

According to Robert Samuel, who stands in line for a living, you should always head to the left cashier when walking up to the front of the store. This is because 90% of us are right-handed and tend to head to the far right cashier because of it. Be the fish swimming upstream and start with the cashier furthest left and you'll typically find shorter lines and get out of the store quicker.

4. Pick a Line That Leads to Several Cashiers

Single lines that lead to more than one cashier are good things. They tend to move quickly and are often a better option than a single line leading to a single cashier. While not prevalent at grocery stores, you'll will see these types of lines at banks and discount and department stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, Target, and Marshalls.

5. Examine Self-Checkout Lanes

As a general rule, if the self-checkout lanes are stacked with shoppers, go stand in line at a regular register. This is because a trained cashier can scan your items, collect payment, and bag your stuff much quicker than most shoppers can on their own. Also, if you're buying large items, it can be a bit tricky navigating the self-checkout lane as they require you to place items on a scale. Large items typically won't fit and will require you to get the attention of a store attendant, making it a longer process.

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