To scan your groceries or not, that is the question

Hello everyone:

While you are in the grocery store, do you go to the self-scan or the line with a cashier? If you are efficient, you may find it faster to scan the grocery items yourself (the register people are lovely individuals, but they are paid by the hour to be there). If you are interested in socializing, see a cashier.

A huge waste of time in the self-scanning line is those folks who do not bag their groceries as they scan. In some grocery stores, you have to place your purchases on a weighted platform as you scan. There are bags there; go ahead and put your items in a bag. Some people put their items on the platform, scan their entire shopping cart full of food, pay, and then bag the groceries. Not only are you placing your stuff on a possibly-germ-infected platform, but you are wasting your own time!

You have to put each item in the bag with enough force that the system picks up the fact that you put your item in the bag (it doesn’t take much pressure to do this), but you can get through the register in half the time if you bag as you go. Some platforms have poor sensors on the outside edge of the platform, so try to stick to placing your newly-bagged groceries in the center of the platform so that you won’t need to wait for customer assistance (voice of experience here!).

Other stores do not have platforms at all; they just have belts that take the purchases to the end of the checkout. Bag some of the items as you go, if there are no baggers to help you. Waiting till the end sometimes means that the next customer in line will begin scanning while you are still bagging and your things can be trampled by their things (there is a large divider available in some stores, but they don’t always get used by people who are in a hurry).

If possible with that type of setup in the store, scan some items, bag some items, scan some more, bag some more, and finish up pretty quickly. If you have too big a backup, the computerized register will tell you to bag some items before you continue scanning. I try to beat her to the punch and bag before she asks.

As you bag items, keep similar items together. If something requires refrigeration when you get home, put it with something else that also needs to go into the freezer or frig quickly. Don’t over-bag- if your items are too heavy, they will break through the plastic or paper bag, usually at a very inconvenient time. This happened to me! Once I had a small cart absolutely filled with groceries. One of the bags burst and the items went rolling away as I walked down the slopped parking lot. As I reached for the fallen items, the cart took off. I seized my fallen purchases and raced after the cart, grabbing it right before it crashed into someone’s vehicle. A nearby customer (he was too far away to do anything but laugh) yelled at me “nice catch, lady!” Lesson learned: don’t overstuff the bags or you will be sorry! I keep the empty plastic bags to use as garbage can liners in my bathrooms.

Another reason it is a good idea to keep similar items together is because you might get distracted when you get home and forget to put something away. Later, it may come to you that something is missing from your shopping order and you can go look for it.

My dearly beloved deceased aunt had a loaf of bread in her shopping one week, but she brought it in with the mail and forgot about it. When we found the loaf of bread years later; it was as hard as stone. She apparently thought she had forgotten to buy it; she never went into the room where she had stashed it, except that day when she came home from the store. You don’t want your heirs to find the bread (or anything else that is perishable) years after the fact.

Want to have a bit of fun at the register? Push the Spanish language button on the machine and then scan the membership card from a different store. The polite lady in the computer gets really testy really fast when you do that! (Well, maybe it’s just that I am easily entertained, but her blood really gets boiling!) My Spanish is not fluent enough to understand what she’s saying but it sure sounds like she’s mad!

Have a great day!


Dr. Sheri

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