“Three’s a crowd” to the rescue

The Feeder Line at Peet's Coffee & Tea
The feeder line embraced
at Peet’s Coffee on 19th Street

A recent Associate Press poll found that most Americans are in a hurry and lose their cool in a hurry when waiting in line or on hold.

Almost one in four in the AP-Ipsos poll picked the grocery checkout as the line where their patience is most likely to melt like the ice cream turning to goo in their cart.

Hmmm, doesn’t that mean that almost three in four didn’t pick the grocery checkout? At any rate, I have to agree that a grocery store line does seem to irritate me faster than other lines around town.

“We walk in the door with the clock ticking with various degrees of loudness in our heads. And if I get to the checkout and if I have the perception it’s not working efficiently, often that clock gets even louder.”

A line not working efficiently you say? If only there was a way to make a line work more efficiently.

A free-for-all deli counter that doesn’t let people take numbered tickets is a flashpoint for frayed nerves. But if managers approach shoppers in a long line and help shepherd them to the right counter, they’ll have happier sheep

Read familiar? It is a great to have a cashier walk over and rescue you from behind a full cart or two of groceries. Especially while many checkout counters go unused around you.

…Emerging with a rejuvenated focus on food retailing, Lucky made efforts to improve its customers’ experiences in its store locations. For example, the company introduced its “Three’s a Crowd” service policy, which stated that every time there were three people waiting in a checkout line, the store would open another checkout counter until all counters were in use. Also introduced was EZ-Checkout, which allowed customers to use their bank ATM cards to purchase groceries by deducting directly from their own bank accounts. Lucky also arranged its stores with short aisles, bold and legible signage, and a logical order in the placement of its merchandise, so customers would find shopping at its stores easy and convenient.

Oh, Lucky Stores, where did things go wrong? You had it all figured out.

Author: RonTopofIt

RonTopofIt is a complex personality, as are most of the small breed of modern day renaissance millionaires. He wishes more people were like him and yet believes that it takes all kinds. You've met RonTopofIt many times, you just don't remember him.

11 thoughts on ““Three’s a crowd” to the rescue”

  1. I love the fact that Lucky (I know, Albertons) now has TVs at the checkout that blare useless commercials at you. They put money in the budget for this upgrade but still don’t have enough money to hire more checkers so you don’t have to wait in line forever. They also made the ‘Express aisle’ 20 items or less which for dishonest people means 50. Any line at Lucky is a long line.


  2. I haven’t been to an Albertson’s in years. They haven’t caught on to the “xx items or FEWER” thing yet, huh? Most places (yes, including Whole Foods Market) have figured this out by now.


  3. Whenever somoene in front of me writes a check I turn to the person behind me and say “Can you believe he/she is still writing checks?” just loud enough so I know they can hear me. It’s my subtle way of weeding them out of society.


  4. I simply refuse to get behind someone in line who appears ready to trade in bags of gold dust and pelts for his food. Talk about behind the times!

    And, shouldn’t these people from the “Check Republic” alert us unknowing souls behind them? Shouldn’t they be required to stand up and loudly say, “Attention shoppers! I am an asshole and insist on using a check at Safeway because I need the extra day for my alimony check to clear my bank account. Please do not, under any circumstances, get in line behind me unless you’re retired and/or on disability.” I think that would clear the whole thing up and we’d all be a lot less resentful.


  5. I don’t use cash. I’ve found that it’s easier for the government to keep track of my transactions if I use credit cards. Using cash (and marijuana) helps the terrorists!

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with my ex-girlfriend when she was taking sociology courses at UC Davis. She mentioned how people get “road rage” on the highway when waiting in all that car traffic, but they tend to be more civil when waiting in line at a grocery store in all that cart traffic. She said it had something to do with the idea that when you are waiting in line at a grocery store, people tend to aim their frustration at the establishment and recognize that they are all in the same boat. When you’re out on the road, there’s more of a feeling that it’s every person for themselves, there’s more anonymity and sometimes, running someone off the road (possibly through the soundwall and into someone’s living room) makes you feel better about life. “Death Race 3000” took place on the highway, and not in the supermarket, for a reason.

    People think nothing of cutting you off in traffic, but I can’t recall ever having been intentionally cut in front of at the check-out line. Maybe it’s because of the odd combinations of groceries I always have in my cart. Do you really want to cut in front of someone whose three items in his cart are a head of lettuce, a pound of butter and a plunger?


  6. Heading to the grocery line with the fewest people in line is sometimes faster than the quick-check. Even if eight people in line have only a handful of items each, the odds that a transaction will go awry (malfunctioning ATM card, dope who still writes checks, etc.) are higher.

    You may be better off getting in line behind two full cart loads vs. a dozen people with only a few items each.

    Here’s a question for all of you — whatever happened to using cash? Is it that hard?


  7. I guess Rontopofit knows that if there’s one thing raggers like, it’s a chance to bitch (sexism intended) about something. We’re an unapologetically whiny bunch around here.


    1. People who write checks are usually too stupid to figure out that they are in Raley’s until the checker tells them the total.

    2. People who write checks are usually too stupid to figure out the date until the checker tells them their total.

    3. Raley’s on walnut and fair oaks routinely puts their half-wit checkers in the express lane. Generally avoid the express lane unless it is empty.

    3.1 Exception to the rule if Token is checking in the express lane. He’s not one for conversation and that’s a good thing.

    4. There is at least 100 yds to merge when you are turning right onto Fair Oaks from Walnut. Use it!

    If you live HERE (the corner of Fair Oaks and Walnut) you’ll know


  8. While I was kicking Rontopofit’s ass on the running trail this morning, he informed me that Token isn’t surly as I’ve assumed for the past 2 years that he’s been ringing up my groceries. Token has been deaf since he was 8.

    I don’t know if that makes 3.1 tragically funny or just mean.


  9. I don’t think your comment was on the same level as a SquirtyTip one (where is he, anyway?), especially since you didn’t know of this checker’s condition. BTW, anytime you want to run on a REAL trail, let me know, and you’ll know what a true butt kicking is (not necessarily from me, but the trail itself.)


  10. Don’t flatter yourself. I’m married. I was just going to give you driving directions to a good trail. *blushing*


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