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to feel frustrated at the supermarket check-out!

(72 Posts)
lill72 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:04:06

I know this may seem silly, but it gets on my nerves every time I go to the supermarket. I cannot bear the way the people at the check-out sit and do nothing whilst someone is packing their bags? Could they not help you pack your bags to speed up the process?

It also frustrated me the other day that the lady waited until I had unpacked everything to start putting things through??? Why could she not start and then help me pack at the end?

In Australia, it works so differently and much more efficiently, I believe. The check-out staff are all standing up and they are trained in how to pack bags properly (yes there is an art ha ha!) and they will put everything through very quickly and have it all packed for you. They are never standing around twiddling their thumbs if a customer is there.

I guess as this is what I have seen growing up, I find the British approach of sitting down, let's slowly put things through the till and then wait and do nothing whilst watching the customer flail about trying to pack and pay and juggle children etc very ineffficent!

I sometimes ask them to help me pack when I have my baby with me, as it is tricky trying to do all these things whilst looking after a demanding baby!

So I guess there is no reason why they can't pack - or am I missing something!??

Is anyone with me??!!

fredfredgeorgejnrsnr Thu 14-Jan-16 16:06:44

If you ask them for help packing they will.

Most people don't want help packing.

SecretSpy Thu 14-Jan-16 16:07:26

IME they always offer to help you pack and I sometimes ask them to start me off if the children are with me but mostly I decline.
After going to Aldi a lot lately I do get a bit frustrated at how slowly the main supermarkets do the checkout bit though smile I like the whizzy race at Aldi.

OurBlanche Thu 14-Jan-16 16:10:47

I don't need or want help. But if I do I have always been helped, no glares, no stares or anything.

But I may be in the minority as I plan when to shop, leave enough time so that I do not need to be out of the supermarket in less than 30 seconds.

In fact, I am one of those irritating bitches that talks to the staff at the check out.

I might move to Australia and demand they sit down and slow down smile

lill72 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:10:59

It must all work slightly differently here then if people don't like help packing - no one iin Oz would ever pack ANYTHING unless at the self check-out. Interesting...

Only rarely does someone ask me if I would like help here and even then it feels like they are doing some mammoth favour to you!

goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:11:27

They used to pack by default, not sure why they stopped. I'm usually asked "Do you need help packing?" - although I've never said yes so I don't know if they would help or call someone to come and help.

I do hate the "sit there and watch you get flustered, throw things through the till as quickly as possible, then immediately bark out your total while you're obviously still packing" approach. But if I find myself getting flustered, I usually think "They're enjoying this" so make myself slow down. When they give me the total and I'm still packing, I say "Alright." and carry on packing and putting my shopping into the trolley. I don't go slow but I don't rush, either.

I think they wait until it's all on the belt so you don't have a buildup of stuff paid for and can pack it all at your leisure as it's scanned - I actually think cashiers who do that are trying to be helpful.

My favourite cashiers are the ones who watch you and wait for you to catch up packing before throwing more groceries at you. I always make a point to say "Thanks for waiting smile " when they do that.

Janeymoo50 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:11:46

Asda today, I was offered help, I declined (hate others packing my shopping). Also, I hate it when they start scanning it through before I'm done unloading the trolley as it piles up at the other end. It's all subjective really.

bornwithaplasticspoon Thu 14-Jan-16 16:13:26

Yanbu although I guess you should ask for help. Packing bags in walmart is amazingly fast with their whirly gig bag packing system, and the checkout operator does it all for you. No good if you take your own bags though.

OurBlanche Thu 14-Jan-16 16:13:49

You might act differently, honestly no offence meant.

DHs Aunt has lived in Oz forever and she sort of breezes through everything. When she visits she doesn't have the same manner about her, she is always focussed on the next thing. Maybe you miss the 'can I help you?' cues and ask just before or just after that 'moment' has passed.

FunkyPeacock Thu 14-Jan-16 16:15:46

Agree with you SecretSpy - now that I'm used to Aldi it seems painfully slow when you go to Tesco/Sainsburys etc!

I am pretty fast at packing though

MrsLeighHalfpenny Thu 14-Jan-16 16:16:34

I've done charity bag packing at a couple of supermarkets. You'd be amazed at how many people decline the offer, because they have a "system". It's not because they don't want to donate, because they usually give us money anyway.

shoeaddict83 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:18:53

I love aldi!! I'm now a super efficient bag packing machine due to the checkout race there!!

I am polite to checkout people and always chat whilst packing if they want to, but it winds me up something chronic when people in front of me stand and chat about anything and everything once they have paid and a queue forms, it's not a social meeting some of us have places to be!!

wonkylegs Thu 14-Jan-16 16:19:38

I hate other people packing my shopping, I put everything out on the belt in groups so they go in bags together - fridge, freezer, cupboards, bathroom etc so it's easier to unpack at home. I'm quite quick after practice and it helps later on.

Knottyknitter Thu 14-Jan-16 16:21:03

mrs ime it's because a scout/brownie/teen hoping to go on expedition abroad etc squashed the bread and broke the eggs last time the offer of charity packing was accepted. Hard not to assume everyone will be just as bad.

mrsjskelton Thu 14-Jan-16 16:21:35

Wow, most shops I go to always offer to pack or ask if I need any help - I've never actually said yes before! If you really feel like you need some assistance, perhaps raise it with the supermarket manager and their staff might be readdressed about the matter. IME most chains will probably tell you it's their customer service policy for their staff to be as helpful as they can.

littlemermaid80 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:23:39

Former Asda girl here. We always had to ask if they needed help packing. They still do in all Asda stores.
If they're mystery-shopped and they fail to ask someone, they can be reprimanded.

99% of the time people would say no, they were fine on their own.

Janeymoo50 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:23:40

I always decline the scouts packing or purposely ask them to do just the household cleaning items etc in a certain bag (but always shove a couple of quid in the tin though).

SaucyJack Thu 14-Jan-16 16:24:58

Actually the reason they wait until you've completely unpacked is because each transaction is timed from the moment the first item is scanned until you pay, and if their scanning rates are deemed to be too slow for the amount of shopping you buy they can get a bollocking.

True story.

Leelu6 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:30:39

YABU for expecting supermarket staff to stand on their feet all day whilst on check-out. They would get exhausted.

Just ask for help next time, they will be fine about it.

I don't understand why packing is so difficult, especially now that most people have to use their own bags, so don't have to fiddle with plastic carrier bags. Unless you have small children, then I can see that would be difficult.

ExConstance Thu 14-Jan-16 16:31:08

Tesco used to have packers at the check outs and signs up saying they would pack for you and take it out to your car. That all ended about 7 years ago. If I'm on my own with a lot of shopping and no queue in front of me to give me time to get it all out of the trolley then I ask if they will start packing for me, otherwise they just sit there. I like my stuff packed.

goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:31:37

Actually the reason they wait until you've completely unpacked is because each transaction is timed from the moment the first item is scanned until you pay, and if their scanning rates are deemed to be too slow for the amount of shopping you buy they can get a bollocking.

Interesting, I wondered about that.

jorahmormont Thu 14-Jan-16 16:32:34

That's not how it works at Tescos Saucy. Only on the online department (hence why the people with the big green trollies are always racing around at breakneck speed grin )

A lot of people look very offended if you offer to help, and certainly don't want you to just assume they need help packing. The reason they wait until you've finished loading the conveyor is so that you can start packing without having a massive backlog of stuff to try and get into bags as the checkout person is scanning things through. Of course, if you ask the checkout person for help with your packing, they'll put them in the bags as they scan them, avoiding that problem smile

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Thu 14-Jan-16 16:32:35


I'm always asked if I want help packing (youngish able bodied adult without small people in tow), and usually decline. In the supermarket I do my own, in a local shop there's much less space and it's easier for the staff to scan and pack so I accept help if I have a lot of stuff. They're always sensible about the order of it.

originalmavis Thu 14-Jan-16 16:35:40

In my vast research on the subject, its mainly youngish foreign home delivery types who stand back and admire their shopping as it piles up until a shop assistant pops up to pack it up for them and put it into the trolley.

I stand there willing the tins to end up on top of the eggs.

baffledmummy Thu 14-Jan-16 16:36:02

What saucy said.

I worked on the checkout in a big supermarket for 6 years and our performance was measured on many items per minute you scanned. If it was below 20 you got a talking to. As such, starting to scan before you had fully unpacked your trolley would just mean your rate per minute would be low and increase likelihood of a bollocking!!!

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