Rules for Self-Checkout at the Grocery Store

2009 August 17
by mockers

checkout20 items or less This might not be written anywhere, and certainly isn’t enforced by the stores, but it’s understood:  the self-checkouts are designed for a quick getaway, and it is highly inconsiderate to clog the lanes with your overflowing cart of diabetes-fuel.

A good rule of thumb:  If you can carry it in your arms, or one of those plastic baskets they stack by the front doors, you can use the self-checkout.  But if you require a shopping cart, you need to get out of our way.

Produce lookup If you have difficulty differentiating between celery and a pumpkin, you should probably let somebody else commandeer the transaction.  Stores provide this service, free of charge, and it’ll cut down on the likelihood of you receiving a savage parking lot beating after the fact.

Rule of thumb:  If you’ve ever held a green pepper in your hand, and stared at it in utter confusion, let somebody else take over.

Finish shopping Since there’s no humans involved, many people seem to believe it’s OK to take their horrible food choices to the self-checkout once they’re 90% finished shopping.  Then they send their bug-eyed, highwater children to finish collecting the sodium delivery devices.

This is unacceptable, because the highwaters can never find what they’re sent for, and always come back acting exasperated.  Then “Big Mama” gets all loud and abusive, her arm fat commences to swinging, and everybody’s supposed to be understanding of the delay because she’s demonstrated her apology via arm fat in motion.

Just stay away from the checkouts, until you have everything you “need.”  OK?  Why the hurry all of a sudden?  You sure weren’t in any hurry when your whole family was walking shoulder to shoulder across the entire canned meat aisle.  Why now?  Just take a deep breath, and relax.  Burger King never runs out of Whoppers.

One item at a time Scan the barcode of one item, wait for the confirmation beep, and place it on the belt.  Repeat until finished.

It doesn’t work if you try to go too fast, or attempt to squeeze two items between the beeps.  And it doesn’t help the situation by slapping the scanner with your food, or frantically shaking it like a Yahtzee cup.

Everything will be OK if you’ll just calm down and allow the machine to do its job.  It’s a miraculous piece of technology, but can’t detect barcodes moving at the speed of light.  Jesus J. McChrist, it’s not the missile defense system!

Please note:  When you lock-up the entire operation, and are forced to turn on the “lamp of disgrace” to summon a checkout coach, please don’t pretend the machine has malfunctioned.  We all know it’s you, and your inability to master a piece of equipment dumbed-down to monkey levels.

Know how to use an ATM card If you’re unable to operate a rectangle of plastic, let someone else handle it for you.  Again, it’s a free service.

But if you absolutely insist, the key is the brown strip on the back of the card.  You’ve got to have that part lined-up correctly when you slide it through the slot.  It won’t work if the thing’s upside-down or flipped-over.  And you’re supposed to slide the long side of the card, not one of the ends.  I mean, seriously.

Please note:  Before lining up the brown strip, be sure you’re using the correct card.  It won’t work if you’re attempting to pay with your Subway frequent-eater card, or your Barbara Mandrell fan club information.

Please also note:  Research has confirmed that staring at electronic equipment with your mouth hanging open will not improve the situation.  You need to take action, which I know is a scary thing…  But you’ve got to be strong.  You can do it!

These are the main Rules for Self-Checkout at the Grocery Store, but readers can almost certainly provide other tips and guidelines.  Check the comments section below for further information.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

23 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 August 17
    Vicki permalink

    If I print this out and stealth-post it at the Kroger, do I have to acknowledge you or do some kind of public service rules trump?

  2. 2009 August 17

    When I use a shopping cart, I leave the cart at the end of the aisle and walk down the aisle and get what I want and then go back and put it in the cart. I hate the folks who block the aisle with there cart while scanning the labels. Especially the double parkers.

  3. 2009 August 17

    One of the rules for using the self-checkout seems to be that you can’t know what in the fuck you’re doing. The other day at Home Depot there was a slack jawed idiot in front of me at the self-checkout station. I had a box of screws, that is all. He had random lengths of PVC pipe and other shit without bar codes on it. It’s like he was an original member of the Manson family that just got out of prison. Things like Coke machines baffel these freaks and yet they insist on using the self-checkout lane. Fuck you. Drink bleach.

    I was praying to God, “Please strike this asshole’s head with lightning.” But he didn’t do it. The guy did manage to walk off without taking the $20 in cash that he’d asked the machine for. So I did get that. Praise the Lord.

    Sorry for the rant.

  4. 2009 August 17

    I hate self checkouts and never use them – even for one item.

  5. 2009 August 17
    junkfood permalink

    This should be cross-posted as a topic of the day over at a particular site known to all readers.

    I love to hate these things. Once I found myself in a self-checkout with a larger-than-practical amount of groceries. I was 3/4 done when I tried to scan a bunch of greeting cards. I couldn’t get the thing to recognize that the ITEM IS ALREADY IN THE BAG DAMMIT because the scale on the other side can’t detect the minimal weight of the card. Stupid me was there for 15 minutes trying to finish the scanning.

  6. 2009 August 17

    Here’s another one. When there are multiple self-checkout stations, please form one line. Where I shop there’s no formal declaration of this, but most people understand without being told. So we’ll be standing there waiting for one of the four stations, and along comes someone who just stands behind the one they think will be finished first. Turnover is pretty fast though, and I’ve never seen anyone say anything to those people.

  7. 2009 August 17
    Swami Bologna permalink

    I only use the self-checkout when my whole purchase consists of a bottle of K-Y “Warming Gel” and a box of Kleenex.

  8. 2009 August 17
    SeanInSac permalink

    @Shiny Rod-I think this is most common with single guys. I know that’s how I used to shop and now that I’m married, I still do it on the rare instances when I do the shopping alone.

  9. 2009 August 17
    WB in OH permalink

    Please take your sixer of PBR to a manned checkout counter!

  10. 2009 August 17

    Love the beep when the bar code is accepted. So satisfying — like acing a standardized test.
    Plus who wants the check out girl fondling your Preparation H and Drano?

  11. 2009 August 17

    There was a mom with her little Campbells soup hicklette, 5 or 6 yrs old, at one of these. Mommy finished the groceries whilst young butterball sat on the scale at the next serve yerself station. I walked up to check out a case of golden bubbly yumminess and the kid just sat there. I looked at the mom and she asked the child to “please move so the man can check out.” PLEASE?!

    The kid said no and sat there.

    I gritted my teeth and snarled “GWON, GIT!” an a seriously pissed off hick tone. The child leaped off the scale and went crying to mommy.

    As she passed by leaving she was consoling the little blob with promises of candy…geeze.

  12. 2009 August 17
    Ben permalink

    First one should be ’20 items or fewer’ use less when the objects are uncountable, fewer when they are (though few supermarkets seem to know this rule).

  13. 2009 August 17

    Now, do a mockable on check writers (at the grocery or otherwise).

    Where do these people come from? What’s next for them? Indoor plumbing? Food prepared over fire? Join the aughts, people!


  14. 2009 August 17
    t-storm permalink

    I love those things, I buy produce I’ve never had before (Swiss Chard?) and liquor. Then to spice it up I whip out my WIC coupons and…wait for it….that’s right! My checkbook!

  15. 2009 August 17
    first rant permalink

    And, please don’t think of bringing a INK PEN when you know you will be writing a check. Seriously, ya donkey-dick-suckers, be prepared….. ya know like when you take 20 minutes to choose the “right” condom so you can have ass sex with your corn hole sloppy second? Yeah, like that., prepared. Thanks for allowing me the rant. Hey, that felt good!

  16. 2009 August 17
    -- Steve permalink

    Can I just add that if you have to READ EVERY WORD ON THE SCREEN EVERY SINGLE TIME, then perhaps it would be best to scoot over to Sha-ro-landa’s line and let her scan it for you. The only thing worse than watching you study the little display is watching you slowly wave your index finger around in circles over the screen in anticipation of selecting “Pay Now”.

  17. 2009 August 17
    Brynhildr permalink

    Ben — unfortunately, there are few people that understand the difference between count and non-count nouns. We are becoming a nation of idiots who can’t speak English properly. Soon, we’ll all be grunting like cavemen instead of forming words and sentences. Devolution is inevitable.

    I refuse to go into a store with my father because he won’t allow me to use the self-checkout. He’ll rant about how I’m just taking away someone’s job by doing it myself. The diatribe typically lasts longer than my patience.

  18. 2009 August 17
    Brynhildr permalink

    Uh-oh. people WHO understand…. The idiots are converting me.

  19. 2009 August 17

    I fucking love the self checkout and feel that they are mine, exclusively, and if someone dares be there when I’m ready with my basket of shit, I will stand behind them and huff loudly, roll my eyes and shuffle about. The self checkouts were made so that I may not be made to wait at one of the 3 out of 56 checkout lanes that happen to be manned by actual (and I use the term loosely) people, so get the fuck out.

    And on another note…kindly expound upon those who do want to write a check….after getting all their shit scanned, and the cash registress announces their total…only THEN do they get their checkbook out and begin writing. Way to get on with things, Speedy.

  20. 2009 August 17

    Our local Meijer (think upscale Walmart) has 6 of the 20 or fewer self-check outs and 6 no limit with a conveyor belt for your shit. I understand your point, but is they tell me no limit, that means no limit. If you only have 6 boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes get your ass in the 20 or less line and leave me the fuck alone. Just sayin’…

  21. 2009 August 18
    clintcurtis permalink

    Best mockable update EVER!

  22. 2011 July 14
    Sly permalink

    LOLOLOLOL….you are awesome! I couldn’t have…um….”blogged” it any better!

  23. 2016 May 26
    Dalen permalink

    Wrong to Dale, each self check out station should have it’s own line, just like a regular check out lane with a human being for a cashier has a dedicated line. It shouldn’t be one line for multiple check out lines, that’s illogical and doesn’t make sense, and causes arguments among other customers.

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