My Life Tips & Tricks

Choosing your checkout lane WISELY

By the time I get to the line at the grocery store I am pretty desperate.

My (almost) 2 year old is no longer distracted by the marshmallows I opened mid aisle or the airplane candy dispenser I grabbed because it lights up and has buttons(that I really have no intention of purchasing). I’ve already downsized my list to just what will get me though today (I have big dreams of coming to the store later when he’s asleep, I’ll for sure have energy then…) and  I have received the dirtiest of looks from a at least 2 people who are highly dissatisfied with my parenting. If I don’t get out quick, it could get ugly.

These are the times that a sheer glance at the length of the line is not enough. The line must be approached with much more precision and expertise. These are the times to use the Jason Bourne skills of evaluation and the map I give you here, to ensure the highest speed of checkout possible.

First scan the folks within the line.

Elderly woman.
Skip this line. Although, she is certainly a sweet person. I would bet you a shampoo n’ set she’s got checks in that purse. The ones that take a good 3 minutes to write out if you have a steady hand. This is especially serious if you are in a “self check out” aisle. You don’t have that kind of time today.

Crazy Coupon Lady.
Even if you are a crazy coupon lady yourself you still don’t want to get behind one in line. Tell me this, what are the chances every one of those coupons rings up correctly? Can you say “Price Check on Aisle 12”? Not today my friends.

Group of teenagers.
Even if they only have 5 items a cumulatively I can almost guarantee you they will be paying separately.  This will cost more time than is worth the entertaining conversation your bound to overhear, keep moving.

If the line contains none of the above, it’s time to check out the checker.

Chatty Cathy.
Any other day I would be more than happy to be helped by Cathy. I love a checker with whom I can share a pleasant conversation while I ring, but today I can’t risk it. The details of her weekend plans are sure to impose on her ability to remember the code for broccoli and press the debit button. Pass.

Mr.(or Miss)  I hate “the man”.
You can spot this checker by their present frown and the way they lift even the lightest item as if moving it across the scanner requires effort they can barely muster. Sense of urgency is not something they understand or have ever even heard of and even if they had they would go slower just to make a point.  For you, for your sanity and for “the man”, just say no.

If the checker does not show these attributes and seems to be capable, proceed.

I hope this recipe can be of service to you.

To those of you without kids:
I hope you enjoy, to the fullest, your peaceful lines. Read a magazine, do some people watching, think your own thoughts for heaven sake and be grateful, because although you might not think it’s great to be waiting in line at all, you may one day remember this kind of line waiting, fondly.

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  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This is so funny! Noah was just telling me that he listens for the fast beeps of the scanner…then he knows that the checker is speedy! Getting a good checker is vital! Love you 🙂 love this post!

    • Reply
      September 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Fast beeps! Brilliant! Love you too!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I don’t have kids but this cracks me up. Even without kids, I’m always running late and always in a big rush so a speedy checker is important. Love your blog Cara! It’s always a nice break from my mundane desk job.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I can relate! This morning some woman in line behind me had the nerve to say, and say very LOUDLY: ‘Don’t you have a soother for that baby?’ to which I replied: ‘Don’t you have earplugs?’

    Listen – I know the sound of a crying baby can be annoying to those without kids. I get it. But trust me, the sound of a baby crying is MUCH worse for the parent. It’s heartbreaking and stressfull…and babies don’t come with an Off button!

    This post is just what I needed this morning – Thank you!

    • Reply
      September 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      haha this ^^^

  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    HAHA!!! LOVE IT! My only general rule was to avoid any line with elderly people in it. But your powers of line perception far outweigh mine! I will heed your advice- thanks for the hilarious post. Super clever!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Oh my gosh! So funny! Can I just say I went to the store last night and basically lived this blog? On top of that, it was Walmart, which most people would agree is absolutely the slowest service you’ll ever experience. I’m not sure why…you’d think with such a multi-billion dollar industry they could afford to offer good training and feedback on their service. But it never fails, every Walmart I go to ALWAYS puts me behind schedule and in a crappy mood…but unfortunately I’m just too poor to pay for my stuff anywhere else 🙁

  • Reply
    Ali Muzzalupo
    September 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    You are hilarious…at least you know if the whole make-up thing doesn’t work out you can become a comedienne!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for the laugh! These are true words!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Haha! I love this, made my morning better. Thanks!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2012 at 3:40 am

    After baby number 2 showed up, baby number 1 who is 2 decided she could run all over walmart because she was no longer in the cart. After many a frantic yells, I vowed I would never, ever, ever take her with me again. I now go at 9pm or later and it’s actually a great time to people watch:) Oh yeah and I can concentrate and get out of there in half the time.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2012 at 4:08 am

    i can relate. i have four kids under the age of 5. 4, 2, and newborn twin boys. but today i took all four of them BY MYSELF to walmart. i guess im sorta crazy. but i hate going to the store in the evening when my husband gets home from work cause i feel like i work all day and the last thing i feel like doing is leaving the house after dinner. i guess im gonna have to get over that cause it took me 2 hours to get 5 things.

    • Reply
      September 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      haha WOW! you are AMAZING! I complain about ONE!

      • Reply
        September 11, 2012 at 4:41 am

        lol well thanks for the compliment. dont know if im amazing. you just do what you gotta do sometimes. lol

  • Reply
    September 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    i would be your personal chune entertainer while you grocery shop. really. xoxo

  • Reply
    September 9, 2012 at 5:39 am

    I LOVE THIS! I am sorry I pretty much giggled because every statement is true. I bought my son a leapfrog explorer {$60} and it was the best investment ever. It makes life easier in the grocery store, time in the car while stuck in traffic, when I need some MOMMY time, phone calls, etc. I don’t feel bad about giving him a game because he’s learning so much from it. I don’t know what I am going to do when he gets a little more crazy and my newborn turns into a toddler. Ha!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    This post was hilarious! I don’t have kids yet but this knowledge will definitely come in handy now and when I do have them. lol 🙂 Thanks!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Haha…I thought I was being smart by going to Target while my 2YO was at preschool. Ummm no, my sweet baby infant girl decided that, although she usually sleeps through our shopping trips, that today was the day to crank it up. I don’t normally shop with my kids if I can help it, but I got some really, really dirty looks from people. I chose the shortest line there, but the checkout clerk still kinda raised her eyebrows like I was abusing my child or something. Do they not know what it’s like to be a parent? And you have to make emergency trips to Target to get diapers and formula (and makeup!)…at least Im not the only one!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Great post! I also recommend avoiding the much much much older looking checkers. They hold up lines that can test the strongest of bladders. Avoid at all costs. Or wear leakage protection…

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