July 14, 2014


I hate waiting in lines, don’t you?

I have waited in so many lines that I’ve used the time studying the types of folks who wait.  Here they are: 

The Last Minute Lagger
This is the person who waits until everything is rung up and bagged before beginning the payment process.  If they are paying in cash, they will laboriously count it out, placing one bill at a time, carefully, before the cashier.  If they are paying with a card, they will have to thumb through a stack of 23 of them to find the perfect card, and as they touch each card, they spend a moment trying to remember how much they’ve charged on each. 

The Heavy Sigher/Eye Roller
This person is usually found immediately behind the Last Minute Lagger. 

The Exact Changer
This idiot has some sort of psychological disorder that compels him/her to always pay with the correct change.  This involves searching in every single pocket of both pants and handbag, and then running out to the car because “I know I have a pile of change in my ashtray.” 

The Kind Donor
This is the person immediately behind The Exact Changer, who will give him or her the pennies they require to get them the hell out of there.  You always know when there is a Kind Donor around by the round of applause from the rest of the folks in line.

The Oops, I Forgot
This is the moron whose purchase had been rung up before remembering that he or she forgot the milk, and so holds everyone else up while running back to get it.  Unfortunately, on the way, The Oops, I Forgot meets an old friend, and spends ten minutes catching up before remembering the milk. The Oops, I Forgot will not even apologize for the dripping ice cream and frozen food in the rest of the line.  If he or she even notices it, the common comment is, “Gee there’s a lot of water on the floor back there.  You should clean that up—somebody could slip.” 

The Check Writer
Nobody in this day and age pays by check anymore—except this jerk.  Once the check has been filled out, the cashier discovers that it has been made payable to Costco…and this is a Sam’s Club.  The check is also from out of state, is a brand new account with no printed address or phone number on the checks, and therefore is not an acceptable form of payment.  The Check Writer beats a hasty retreat, leaving a full cart at the check stand. 

The Oh, Come On, Give Me A Break Here
This is the guy or girl who practically buys out the booze section, and upon arrival at the register, can’t find his/her ID and will become verbally abusive to the cashier, because, somehow, it seems to be all her fault that The Oh, Come On, Give Me A Break Here isn’t going to be able to restock his/her bar.  After spewing venom that a cobra would respect at the cashier, he/she leaves, vowing never to return, but will be back again next week, trying the same thing. The cashier is convinced that there is not enough Preparation H in the world to make the The Oh, Come On, Give Me A Break Here disappear. 

The Comedian
This is the asshole who thinks the cashier is deaf or without feelings altogether.  In a long line, he will make loud comments like this:
“Well, she must be getting paid by the hour.”
“I would have brought food if I’d known it was going to take this long.”
“This is what you get when you hire unskilled labor.”
“I was young when I got here.”
“There are people setting up tents at the end of this line.” 

The Silence is Golden Guy
This is the guy who tells The Comedian to shut the fuck up.
The Offense Taker
This is the older person who refuses to accept the fact.  The offer of a Senior Citizen discount is met with a snarl of indignation, and God forbid the poor cashier, who is told to ask everyone if they need help out to their cars with their groceries, asks this lunatic.  It will result in a demand to see the manager, followed by a harangue about age profiling that will take the paint off the walls.  Want to get on The Offense Taker’s good side?  Card him/her for alcohol purchases…even if they’re 112 years old. 
The Haggler
This is the person who wants to bargain with the cashier, who has nothing whatsoever to do with setting store prices. The Haggler will claim that the store flyer quoted a different price than is ringing up, and it will take fifteen minutes to get her to understand that she was looking at last week's flyer, not this week's. The Haggler will examine the tomatoes that the cashier has rung up and say, "Y'know, these don't look so fresh.  If I take them, will you knock off twenty-five cents per pound?"  The cashier summons the manager, manager says, "No," and The Haggler leaves, after throwing the bag of tomatoes at the cashier. 

So after reading this column, and on a more serious note, folks, please, whenever you’re in checkout lines, be kind to the cashiers.  They have a tough job, they make very little money, and they take a lot of abuse.  Believe me, they’re trying their hardest, and they’re doing their best to get you on your way just as fast as they can. A warm smile and a “thank you” can really make their day.HHere



  1. Good job of classifying those who stand in the check out line. Most guests in my store are great. The biggest issue I have is the person who has crammed his money in his/her pocket a dollar at a time. They count out the wads until they have what seems to be enough. I then have to smooth out each bill so I can count them then try to fit them into the dollar bins.

    1. I forgot all about The Crumpler! Thanks for reading, Sharon! :-)

  2. Spot on. And I'd add one more, The copious coupon clipper…ahhhhhhhhh

    1. Forgot that one, too! Thanks for reading, ATL!