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To think a little bit of pleasant chit chat at the checkout is okay

(45 Posts)
user1485342611 Sat 10-Feb-18 13:56:22

I was at the supermarket earlier and an elderly woman was having a bit of chat with the checkout operator. Nothing major, she wasn't just standing there for ten minutes gabbing away. But she was talking as she packed her bags and a couple of times leant over to hear better what the checkout operator was saying to her.

A youngish woman in front of me with a little boy in tow was muttering and glaring and even turned around to me on one occasion and rolled her eyes.

AIBU in thinking there's a happy medium between causing unreasonable delays at the checkout, and expecting everyone to rush through at top speed without exchanging the slightest bit of conversation with the staff?

maddiemookins16mum Sat 10-Feb-18 13:59:16

Nothing wrong with it. I always exchange a bit of smalltalk (and once the cashier gave me a great marinade idea for duck breasts).

Shockers Sat 10-Feb-18 14:01:19

The checkout operator might have been the only person that lady spoke to that day.

People need to slow down and see the bigger picture.

EmpressOfJurisfiction Sat 10-Feb-18 14:01:46

Absolutely fine. The lady in front of me this morning was chatting with the cashier about the weather & I joined in. Nobody got held up & it was all nice & friendly. Why not?

Corblimeyguv Sat 10-Feb-18 14:04:27

You are right, OP. Self service checkouts are there for people in a rush or not wanting to chat. I would be so sad to lose the bit time f friendly chitchat at checkouts.

I love this idea too

VelvetSpoon Sat 10-Feb-18 14:04:52

Talking whilst packing or paying is one thing.

Shopper or cashier stopping what they're doing to chat is not on imo. It's a shop not a social club.

Ditto groups of 5-6 people yapping away, blocking the aisles with their trolleys. Go and sit in the supermarket cafe if you've got that much time to chat.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 10-Feb-18 14:06:17

I always chat to the checkout operator (if I don't do scan and shop). It doesn't slow me down.

I don't do it because I'm lonely and want to chat. I do it because the person behind the checkout is human and I want to acknowledge that. I think it could be a pretty boring job if people didn't chat a bit as they went though.

AethelflaedofMercia Sat 10-Feb-18 14:06:46

A bit of chat while the assistant is scanning, or you're packing, is fine, imo. I do it myself, it's polite to acknowledge the assistant as a person rather than an automaton. I do get a bit impatient when everything else stops while the chitchat is going on, especially if I'm on my way to catch a bus or train.

Isadora2007 Sat 10-Feb-18 14:08:51

I’d far rather the checkout operator was chatting to the customer than their colleagues whilst serving! I think that’s so rude.

However if they introduce relaxed checkouts here, my husband would never come home as he can chat away to anyway forever!!!!

Isadora2007 Sat 10-Feb-18 14:09:09

*anyone. Not anyway

Sparklingbrook Sat 10-Feb-18 14:11:25

I think that if the chat is happening as the shopping is being scanned and paid for that's fine. It's the standing there still having a conversation after the transaction is complete that is a bit much, especially if there's a queue.

But there's always Scan and Shop or the self checkout if you want to avoid the cashiers altogether. Or Home Delivery/Click and Collect.

user1485342611 Sat 10-Feb-18 14:17:09

Yes, I agree that some shoppers take things a bit far and hold people up to an unfair degree -including the ones that don't have their purse ready, and have to spend ages rooting around for it.

But I've noticed with my mother, as she's getting older, that she really is a lot slower at the checkout - gets her purse out and pays before she packs, tries to tap her card when she's gone beyond the maximum amount allowed for that, things like that. It's really made me realise how awful it is when younger shoppers get really impatient around older shoppers. Many of them are just not as nimble as they used to be, or find paying with cards a bit confusing. So I really hate seeing people tutting and rolling their eyes because they're being delayed by a few seconds in their important busy lives.

ParkheadParadise Sat 10-Feb-18 14:17:14

I agree with Shockers

When out with Dd I always get stopped by elderly people who love to chat. Doesn't bother me. I remember sitting in a cafe when she was a new born,an elderly woman next to us started to chat. I asked if she wanted to hold her,she was thrilled and so grateful and emotional. It was lovely to see.

thetallesttree Sat 10-Feb-18 14:17:30

I totally agree with you OP. I was a bit disgusted at a friend who complained about the old woman in the queue ahead of her chatting briefly to the post office clerk. My friend has every privilege imaginable, wealthy, two sets of parents who help out with the kids, two properties, all the time saving devices and opportunities money buys, such as a cleaner, online shopping etc. Yet she begrudged being held up by a minute or two by what may have been the only conversation that lady has in days.
I have recently moved and know no-one where I live. I say three cheers for check out staff who chat. They can make the difference between crying with loneliness in a day and not. Unless you have been truly lonely you can't imagine what it is like. its worse than I could have ever imagined.

demirose87 Sat 10-Feb-18 14:23:10

As long as they are not stopping what they are doing to chat, then I don't see a problem. It's when it's time to serve the next person and the conversation carries on. I haven't got time to wait all day.

AwkwardSquad Sat 10-Feb-18 14:36:06

I completely agree with you, OP. A bit of patience and kindness shouldn’t be too much to ask; we’ll be there ourselves one day. For those who are super busy and rushed, I do understand that any little thing can make your stress levels rise, but maybe try to use the self-checkout?

KalaLaka Sat 10-Feb-18 14:38:33

That might be the only conversation an isolated, elderly person has all day. I would never begrudge anyone that.

OP do you live in the south of England, by any chance?!

Squeegle Sat 10-Feb-18 14:41:31

Crikey, a lot of people in a hurry on here today! Agree that actually if we don’t all have time for a quick chat, what are our lives becoming?

steff13 Sat 10-Feb-18 14:42:19

I don't do it because I'm lonely and want to chat. I do it because the person behind the checkout is human and I want to acknowledge that.

This exactly.

Fluffyears Sat 10-Feb-18 14:53:57

I don’t mind chatting whilst the transaction going on but standing finishing the chat for 5 minutes makes me angry. Finish your transaction and go!!!

user1485342611 Sat 10-Feb-18 15:04:57

Hi Kalalak

No, I actually live in Dublin. A lot of people in a tearing hurry here, because they're so busy and stressed and important!!

demirose87 Sat 10-Feb-18 15:12:09

No one wants to stand in a queue for longer than they have to! I've got a baby, two toddlers and an older child and school and nursery runs to do so I just want to do my shopping, pay and leave.

CuriousaboutSamphire Sat 10-Feb-18 15:16:25

Chatting during the transaction is fine... I also just experienced a short wait whilst a customer carried on chatting after she had pad. The check out woman apologised, explained she was explaining where to get an application form for jobs in store. I smiled and said it was no problem and the woman behind me yelped "For God's sake" and stomped off.

The woman behind her gave me an amused look, shuffled forward and said "Some people!"

I can only assume Yelping Woman was someone important... sad really, as she was still in a queue as I left!

OfaFrenchmind2 Sat 10-Feb-18 15:21:22

Cashiers are human, sometimes unbelievably pleasant even through they have constant face time contact with customers. I like bantering with the cashiers of my local waitrose and corner shop, because they are lovely, quite witty, and in the case of the corner shop, very helpful and amusing.

I will not hold up the queue, but I will not behave as if they are faceless thoughtless machines. Speaking with them makes shopping in an actual shop worth not ordering on Ocado.

milliemolliemou Sat 10-Feb-18 15:24:18

Agree with everyone who says chatting as the stuff gets processed is fine, and that we should all have patience with an elderly person who wants a bit of company and for those of us who want to recognise the person behind the check out (unless it's Aldi or Lidl who just want us out of there with a smile) wants to be seen as a person not a machine.

However I would dearly like everyone to make sure as they queue that they have their card and shop card ready as they queue. Men as well as women!

Or learn to use the self service check out if you can bear the "have you got an item in the bagging area" .....

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