How to Pick the Fastest Grocery Store Checkout Line

…and it’s not the Express line.

You’re in a hurry at the grocery store, and the lines are long: The dilemma…  Do you jump in behind the person with a full cart or slide over to the line with four or five people holding baskets?

According to Dan Meyer, a chief academic officer at the math site Desmos who has studied grocery lines, get behind the shopper with a full cart of goods.

Here’s the deal: Every person requires a fixed amount of time to say hello, pay, say goodbye, and clear out of the lane. That process takes about 41 seconds; it also takes about three seconds to ring up each item. An express line with four customers carrying baskets with around ten items each will take about five minutes to clear.

That guy with 60 items in his cart will get through the register in less than four minutes, according to Meyer’s findings.

Additional tips…

Choosing a line with a clear line of sight to the cashier is another key to picking the correct line.

If cashiers can’t see the end of the line, they are less motivated to work quickly as they have no visual cue as to how many people are actually waiting to be rung up.

Other ways to get through the line as quickly as possible include:

Be on the lookout for either chatty cashiers or chatty customers. Those are not the lines to be on if you need to be somewhere in a hurry.

As you set items on the belt, turn the barcode toward the cashier to make their job easier.


Verne Hill
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I enjoy many things: Music. Family movie nights. My American flag flapping in the wind. Sunsets at the beach. Snow days. The Sweet Tea Party. Salvation through Grace… VERSE: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” Psalm 150 QUOTE: “A person who loves his job, will never work a day in his life.” MON-SAT 6A-10A (& Sunday@5 host)