wikiHow to Practice Supermarket Checkout Etiquette

You've gotten everything that you need on your shopping list, but see long lines in the checkout area. This may tip your patience level, especially if you're in a rush. This article will show you how to practice checkout etiquette at the supermarket.


  1. Image titled Practice Supermarket Checkout Etiquette Step 1
    Obey the express lane item limit. Express lanes are created for people who have a certain amount of items, such as a little snack or a little handful of groceries. This limit may be set between 6 to 15 (on average), depending on the store. Cashiers will probably look down at customers who have more than the limit and try to use the express lane to get out quicker.
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    Avoid standing in the walkway. Between the conveyor belt and the store aisles, people need to get through. Leave about a shopping cart length of space between the last person at the conveyor belt and yourself. Like traffic intersections, you may move forward if there's sufficient room for you and your cart on the checkout side.
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    Double check on your groceries. While waiting in line, please be sure that you have everything you need and anything that you do not want. Avoid giving cashiers food, especially perishable items, because you have changed your mind at the last minute.
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    Have membership cards and coupons ready. Coupons that need to be subtracted manually with the specific item can set things back a little if the cashier is unaware of it. Be prepared to give any membership or store club cards to the cashier in advance. It saves time and the savings can be subtracted as the items gets swiped.
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    Bag your own groceries. If there is no bagger at the check-out station that you're on, it's in good faith to bag your groceries instead of waiting for the cashier to ring up everything and then have to sort and bag themselves.
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    Relax and have patience. Huffing and getting impatient will make it feel like a longer line. Read a magazine or distract yourself in another positive way. Don't scan other lines to see how fast they're moving or how many people there is in a line. These thoughts will probably cause you to move into another line; a position that may or may not be better than the previous line you were in.
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    Respond to the cashier in a positive manner. A polite greeting followed by a short conversation will make the transaction pass faster for the both of you.
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    Be sure to allow ample room between your cart and the person standing in front of you. There is nothing worse than taking a step back and hitting someone's cart because they are too close. Think of when you are driving, do you like people to tailgate? Its the same with shopping carts.
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    If you are in line at the checkout and the adjacent register appears to be opening, ask it the cashier is opening a new line. If the cashier says "Yes", move into that line. This is not line cutting.
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    If you believe someone cut in front of you in line, relax and don't be a jerk. Take a deep breath and go to your happy place and enjoy an extra minute of meditation.


  • Be nice to the cashier when he/she asks "Did you find everything you need?" Don't launch into a lengthy rant if you were unable to find something. A polite "yes, thank you" will be much appreciated.
  • Give cashier trainees a little more time. Memorizing produce codes, manual punch-in codes, and other things can be frustrating. It's also intimidating that they know they're keeping a line waiting. Giving them negative feedback and attitude doesn't help them and frustrates them even more.
  • Thank the cashier as you may come into contact with them again next time you visit the supermarket!
  • Double-check the expiration date on your coupons, to avoid the embarrassment of having them returned to you. Make sure you have bought the correct product size; don't try to sneak in a small bottle of detergent when the coupon is for the large size.


  • Do not attempt to tell the cashier how to do his/her job! They have been sufficiently trained to do their job and claiming to have superior knowledge about this can be seen as rude. Making comments about their bagging skills, speed, or ability is unacceptable. When an item rings up wrong or is tagged wrong, DO NOT BLAME THE CASHIER. It is never their fault, and it makes them go into their office and talk about you for being rude.

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Categories: Etiquette