The V.I.S. – Very Important Shopper

So what’s the deal with those express check-outs at a supermarket? They are now everywhere, and they even get their own lane system. Wait – lane system? I thought the good thing about express check-out was the express part? The lose-no-time part.

They put up big signs to tell you what the maximum amount of items is, and you see people stop and count the items in their shopping carts. Phew, I was lucky today, I had under 10, so off to the express check-out.

Shopping carts in ABC Tikkula.

Shopping carts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People heading towards this privileged lane normally wear this smirky expression, and they look at the others with their full carts as if to say: “Poor bastard. Large family, huh? Look at me, I will be out here in no time!” At least I do that. It feels like flying business class. Or rather: first class. And you wonder, when they will roll out the red carpet. People using the express lanes get taller and sway their hips and look very pleased with themselves. But first I first had to do a little zigzagging through gum and sweets and magazines, which dampens the sway considerably. And then I was standing there waiting. Two people ahead of me, no big deal – so why all the waiting?


Well, the cashiers at the express check-out are always the least experienced (or thickest) ones. They are the ones who don’t know any vegetables, so they have to shout over to their colleagues which code to type in only to be completely ignored. When they push the little ring button for their manager, nobody shows up, they never have enough change in their cash register, and soon it all comes to a standstill. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? Hey, you are one of those customers who spend the LEAST amount of money in the store.

Cocktail by candle light 1: "With some of...

Did you really think you would get the BEST service? Maybe a frequent shopper lounge where they offer you some (fake) champagne?

Think again.


Today I came to the conclusion (and I admit it took me quite a while, I am not the smartest girl on the planet) that those express lanes are not for keeping the shopping minimalist satisfied, but for getting them out of the way of the big shoppers, the important shoppers. It’s like those kids’ playgrounds at IKEA – yeah, we will keep your offspring occupied while you spend your money.


Huuh! Now that I know the strategy, I will from now on queue up at the busiest cash register – only to piss off the shopping kings and queens. Finally, I will be running with the big dogs…or rather: the big shoppers!



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