Should Busy Shoppers Let a Person Cut Into the Grocery Store Line?

Letting a person with only one item cut in line seems okay, right?

But it affects everyone behind you as well. Is it ever okay to NOT let the person with only one item cut in line ahead of you at the grocery store?

A shopper with a full cart wants to know.

The Grocery Store Was Busy

Busy Grocery Store Line
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

A shopper shared his story about about a time when the grocery store checkout lanes were busy.

This shopper choose to check out with a cashier, leaving the self-checkout lines for other shoppers with fewer items.

“There were three checkout lanes with cashiers open and six self-checkouts that were not busy (maybe 2 people total).”

The Request to Cut is Rejected

Arms Crossed to Say No
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

After waiting in line for 5 minutes, someone with only one item asked to cut in line.

“No, sorry, but the person in front of me also has a cart full. You could go to the self check out if you’re in a rush, there’s no one there.”

In response, she tried to protest and had an extremely shocked look up on her face, to which I responded: “No, sorry.” Then the cashier chimed in and said, “Ma’am, you can go to the self-checkout, nobody is ever there.”

The Guilt

Guilty Look
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The shopper felt guilty for saying no because of how others in the line and the person reacted.

“The other people in line and the “cutting person” had such sour grapes looks when I said no.”

Saying No Was Okay

Thumbs Up
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Many users of the online forum supported the shopper.

“You handled it well. Letting someone go in front of you is optional and shouldn’t be expected.”

And another said, “You were clear and polite. That person was wildly entitled.”

The Self Checkout Option Ignored

Self Checkout
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Self-checkouts can be convenient, especially when you only have one item.

In this case, for whatever reason, the person asking to cut in line preferred to go through a line with a cashier.

“It’s also really weird to ask to go in front of people instead of scanning one item at the self checkout. I know some items need approval or whatever, but I feel like that’s unlikely here, and even so, that would be faster at most self checkouts.”

The Only Way To Make It Fair

Cashier at Grocery
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

In this situation, there were other people in line behind the shopper.

A good suggestion was given for a way to let the person cut. However, it could add considerable time to your shopping trip.

“It’s only fair if they’ve already asked everyone else behind you, or if you trade places with them and take their spot at the back of the line.”

My Conclusion

Cashier at Grocery Scanning Item
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

It’s only a random act of kindness to let someone jump in line ahead when two criteria are met:

  1. There is no one else in line behind you. This means no one else is impacted by the person skipping the queue (unless you are willing to move to the back of the line).
  2. You offer to let the person cut ahead of you as it’s your choice to extend kindness.

When the first rule is met, you could let someone cut when they ask if you are feeling nice, but it’s also okay to say no!

Source: Reddit.

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Author: Heidi Bender

Title: Writer

Expertise: Thank You Notes


Heidi Bender is a writer and author who founded Tons of Thanks. She aims to help people write thank-you notes by providing examples and tips. She is the author of She is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.