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Tricks To Shorten Your Time Spent in the Supermarket Queues

Tricks To Shorten Your Time Spent in the Supermarket Queues
Tricks To Shorten Your Time Spent in the Supermarket Queues
Photo Credit: style-photographs / Bigstockphoto

Sukhdeep Singh

Write Something To Right Something

Passionate about playing with words. Sukhdeep is a Post Graduate in Finance. Besides penning down ideas, he is an expert online marketing consultant and a speaker.


  1. Sit behind someone who has full trolley.
  2. The houses are located on the left.
  3. Women move faster.
  4. Never Choose A Straight Queue.

“How can you shorten your time spent in queues?” People hate to wait standing like a jerk in the long queues. Ask anyone, what he hates most about shopping. It is not about spending money, but about standing hours like a ‘jerk’ in the queues.

It is common problem. As a supermarket shift manager, I had to deal with both sad and happy customers everyday. I have seen people losing their cool whenever they go to do their groceries.

Here I would like to share a chat with you that I had with one of my regular customer – Sam.

Me: How are you, Sam?

Sam: Not so good mate.

Can you see these queues in your store? Seems like counter guys are sleeping. I feel like the whole world is buying bread, no matter which date or a day or the month you go. And, on top of that – it frustrates me the most when the counter moves like a lazy cow. It really pisses me off when I see these cashiers struggling with bar-codes.

God! It is really frustrating. I know we can buy things online, but I don’t think buying tomatoes, potatoes, milk, bread or in other words, buying perishable good online is a good idea. Whether you want it or not, you have to take your ass to the shopping center.

After struggling with the parking spaces and an empty cart, the next challenge is locating the goods that are on your list. Yes! Of course, you can ask someone to help you, provided that helper is free for you. Anyhow, the biggest hurdle is still to come – the cash counters, where you supposed to pay for the things that you want to take home. The challenge is – how to cut short the time that those lengthy queues at the supermarket are going to eat.

He was really out of his control.

Well, I invited him for a cup of coffee. I shared a few tips with him.

Not everyone is patient, Sam. And, not everyone is ready to spend approximately half an hour standing in line. Here are some tips that can shorten your spent in supermarket queues.

Sit Behind Someone Who Has Full Trolley

While it may seem counterproductive, the researchers show that is quite true. Each person on the queue takes the time to greet, arrange products purchased back in the stroller or purse, pay and free place for the next buyer.

Typically, the scanning takes 3 seconds each individual product, and the rest courtesy requires about 41 seconds. So if you sit behind a person who has 100 products in the cart, you will spend around six minutes standing in line.

If you sit at the front of the queue and 4 people with 20 products in the basket, it will take about 7 minutes. That means that a queue formed by a few people with full trolley moves faster. Amazing. Isn’t it?

The Houses Are Located on The Left

Have you ever noticed that most people are right-handed and tend to move towards the houses on the right. Pick against the tide and save valuable time.

Women Move Faster

No offense, but women move faster. During my tenure as a shift manager, I have trained many cashiers and night fillers from various ethnic backgrounds.

With my experience, I can tell you that women are faster at cash counters and men are faster at filling shelves. Choose a female cashier because studies show that women are quicker and more efficient at cash counters.

Check The products in The Basket Next To You

Not out of curiosity, but because some products are scanned harder than others. If it only solid packaging or more items of the same kind, time spent in the queue will be shorter.

Instead, plastic bags or frozen products with the messed up bar-codes, where cashier would have to introduce each barcode manually. Now, I don’t need to tell you that manual entering of bar codes is going to take a long time. And, is going to piss you off.

Never Choose A Straight Queue

Seems funny! Huh? This is again from my books of experience and you won’t be finding it anywhere. A cashier who does not see exactly how many customers are queuing, tend to move more slowly. For him, there is no motivation. The only motivation for cash counter guys is – reducing a number of customers in queue.

So, next time whenever you go for shopping, try these tips. I am sure you will going to save a lot of time and energy for the rest of the day.