The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Express service? Think again …

The hypermarket was crowded, and as I headed towards the checkouts, my eye caught a sign that announced the presence of an Express Checkout counter. The sign said that this was for customers with ten items or less, and who would pay cash.

My shopping consisted of a bottle of milk, a jar of yoghurt and a loaf of bread, and heading towards that particular counter appeared to be the most logical thing to do.

All the counters were crowded, and I expected that my exit from the store would be a lark. Till I discovered an aspect of human behavior that makes you wonder about how people think.

Ahead of me was a respectable looking gent with a shopping basket that was stuffed to the gills with groceries. There must have been at least 25 items in there, if not more. With a nonchalance that reeked of arrogance and indifference to common mores of decency, he proceeded to pile his stuff on the belt. The checkout clerk watched this with a look of agitated disapproval, but it cut no ice with this shopper. And, to add insult to injury, and to the utter disgust and annoyance of people behind him in the queue, he produced a credit card. The clerk finally put her foot down and refused. He then produced a currency note that was way to large and demanded change, and, finally, with a practiced air, strolled away.

I was livid, and was tempted to stop that guy and reproach him for his boorish behavior. Better sense prevailed when it struck me that it was going to make no earthly difference to him, that it would unnecessarily delay me, and that I was not an enforcer of morality.

So, I let it be.

I asked the checkout clerk about this. She resignedly replied that this happened all the time, and that it was quicker to punch such guys through rather than get into an argument. I gave her high marks for her sensible approach to such customers, but inwardly wondered about what makes people behave in this loutish manner.

I came across an interesting bit of research that said that over 50% of customers who use an Express Checkout have more items than what the sign says. Hence, this seems to be a universal phenomenon.

Outwardly veneer and good manners don’t always go together, it would appear, and it was one more lesson learnt that day.


September 1, 2011 - Posted by | About this and that, Human Behavior

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