15 Reasons Why Your Grocery Store Checkout Person Hates You

Grocery stores are one of the few retailers who haven’t been decimated by online shopping.

Much to the delight of brick and mortar grocery store owners across the nation, people still appreciate the chance to see and feel their food items — especially produce — before purchasing them. A Statista survey found that just 9% of Americans purchased groceries online once or twice per month in 2016.

If you’ve been wondering what makes checkout cashiers roll their eyes, read on to discover the worst habits that you should avoid while checking out at the grocery store.

1. Ignoring the ’10 items or less’ sign

Male cashier with customers

How many items are in your cart? | Noel Hendrickson/iStock/Getty Images

If you have 11 items in your cart and you head to the speedy checkout line, no one’s going to judge you. But consistently ignoring the rules for the quick checkout won’t make you any friends behind the register.

Even if you’re the one holding up the line, it’s store employees who bear the wrath of angry customers who are trying to shop quickly. Be a good human — even if you know you can get away with it, don’t do it.

Next: This is one of the rudest things you can do in line.

2. Gabbing on the phone

Family in the supermarket

Your call can wait. | GeorgeRudy/iStock/Getty Images

You get bonus points for becoming annoyed at the cashier for interrupting your conversation.

Look, we know you’re a very busy, very important person, but the grocery store checkout person may need to ask you questions or otherwise communicate with you during your interaction.

If you are having the most important phone call of your life and literally cannot hang up the phone, try standing in a quiet corner of the grocery store (the pet food aisle is usually a good bet) and finish your conversation before proceeding to the checkout.

Next: Doing this is incredibly wasteful.

3. Ditching unwanted items in the wrong spots

Woman chooses lecho tomato at grocery store

Put stuff back where it belongs. | sergeyryzhov/iStock/Getty Images

This especially holds true for frozen food.

No one will fault you for coming to your senses and choosing to swap that pint of gelato for a bundle of organic kale. But for everyone’s sake, avoid ditching your unwanted frozen item in the cereal aisle. Even if an employee finds a frozen item on a non-refrigerated shelf 30 seconds after you abandoned it there, food safety regulations dictate that they must throw it away. That’s unnecessarily wasteful.

If you don’t have time to return the unwanted items or you can’t remember where you got them, hand them to the cashier when you’re checking out and explain you don’t want them anymore. It’s the right thing to do.

Next: Step to the side before you do this.

4. Holding up the line to check your receipt

Mid section of woman holding bill

Get out of everyone else’s way so they can continue doing their job. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Mistakes happen, and checking your receipt for errors is a good idea. But you don’t need to hold up the checkout line to do it.

Push your cart away from the registers before examining your receipt for accidental scans or missed discounts. You’ll have to head to customer service for a refund anyway, so you might as well leave your cashier out of it.

Next: Never shop during these times.

5. Complaining about the lines — especially on weekends

Long lines are expected sometimes. | Grigorenko/ iStock/Getty Images Plus

Grocery store managers do their best to predict busy times and staff their stores accordingly. But getting annoyed about a long line the night before Thanksgiving is just unreasonable.

Avoid crowds by shopping on weekday mornings or late at night. One study found that the most crowded times to shop at the grocery store are midday or 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays when people are getting out of work. First thing in the morning or later in the evening shopping will mean fewer crowds and faster checkouts.

Next: Try this trick for wrangling kids.

6. Allowing your kids to destroy the store

Father pushing daughter in shopping cart

Keep an eye on your kiddos. | XiXinXing/iStock/Getty Images

Of course your little angels are bored during your grocery shopping trip. But that doesn’t give you a free pass to let them run wild.

Try involving children in the process of grocery shopping by allowing them to keep a tally of the items you add to the cart or making a game of discovering the best prices. Some grocery stores even have free fruit for kids in the produce section, which makes an excellent distraction. Also take common sense steps like never shopping at naptime or meal times.

There’s no controlling a 2-year-old’s tantrum over a candy bar, but there are ways to reduce the likelihood of having one happen in the checkout line.

Next: This joke isn’t funny.

7. “It won’t scan. Can I have it for free?”

Portrait of woman cashier smiling at checkout

The polite laugh was because they have to be nice. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Everyone ever has already made this joke. It’s not funny anymore. Stop it.

Next: You should be conscious of this everywhere you go.

8. Forgetting your manners

Happy Man Handing Credit Card to Cashier in Supermarket

It’s tiring and not well-paid. | SeventyFour/iStock/Getty Images

Grocery store cashiering isn’t the most difficult job in the world, but it’s tedious, and it can be tiring for employees to stand on their feet all day. Plus, grocery stores often attract young high school or college students who are probably working for close to minimum wage.

Minding your manners is important no matter who you’re speaking with. Saying please and thank you can go a long way toward brightening someone’s day.

Next: This simple step saves time.

9. Not weighing your own produce

whole foods produce

Weigh and label your produce if that’s an option. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Some grocery stores offer produce weighing scales with print-your-own label options to make the checkout process faster and smoother, which is especially helpful on busy days.

If you aren’t sure how to use the scales, flag down an employee in the produce department rather than just relying on your cashier to figure out the difference between bananas and plantains.

Next: You won’t make any friends when you do this.

10. Arriving to do a huge shopping trip right before closing time

caucasian woman with shopping list

Leave yourself time to shop.| tanialerro/iStock/Getty Images

Running out to the store 15 minutes before closing because you need milk is one thing. Filling your cart as employees are counting the registers and getting ready to go home is quite another.

If you’re not sure how to fit grocery shopping into your schedule, try researching 24-hour grocers in your area so you never have to face this issue. Bonus: The lines probably won’t be long at 3 A.M. on a Tuesday.

Next: The grocery store is not the bank.

11. Treating the cash register like an ATM

cash register drawer

Go to the bank if you need specific change. | Ozgur Coskun/iStock/Getty Images

Cash back is a wonderful, convenient feature, but don’t mistake your grocery store cashier for your banker. The tills have a specific amount of cash in them in different denominations to ensure cashiers can make proper change without flagging the manager over.

Requesting a $20 bill is fine. Making the cashier hand over all her dollar bills or quarter rolls is rude.

Next: Check this before you leave the house.

12. Trying to use invalid coupons


Double check expiration dates. | iStock/Getty Images

Check the dates and fine print on your coupon pile before you head out to the store and weed out anything expired. Coupons that won’t scan because they’re invalid hold up the line unnecessarily and make your cashier’s job much harder.

Next: Store employees hate this so much.

13. Throwing money on the conveyor belt

The last phase of shopping

It’s honestly just rude. | gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Your grocery store cashier will usually reach out his or her hand to accept your cash and change. So why would you throw all your change onto the conveyor belt and force them to pick up every penny, nickel, and dime?

Make eye contact, smile, and place items into the grocery store cashier’s hand instead so you don’t look like a total jerk.

Next: Don’t bother breaking your back.

14. Putting heavy items on the conveyor belt

shopping cart in a grocery store aisle

Leave heavy stuff in your cart.| shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

Sneaking out with that case of water under your cart is also called stealing. But don’t waste energy lifting it onto the conveyor belt — just alert the checkout cashier that he or she needs to scan it right when your turn comes up.

Next: Asking for this puts your cashier in a tough spot.

15. Asking the cashier to ring items slowly

Young woman putting goods on counter in supermarket

Cashiers want to get you out the door quickly. | photobac/iStock/Getty Images

It’s mesmerizing to watch the little digital numbers light up the screen while you’re checking out at the grocery store. Still, asking your cashier to proceed more slowly could get them in trouble with management.

Cashiers often have item quotas per hour which encourages them to keep the lines moving along. Asking them to scan slowly puts them in an uncomfortable position.

Instead, check your receipt after the transaction is complete and report errors to customer service.

Read more: 15 Tricks Grocery Stores Use to Get You to Spend More Money

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