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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Ask Yadi: Should you let the person behind you in line go first if they only have a few items?”

CLEVELAND, Ohio — If you have a cart full of items, should you let the person behind you go if they only have 1 or 2 things?

I imagine it’s happened to all of us at least once, you run to the store, whether it is a big box store, grocery or retail store just to grab one or two items. There is only one register open with a live, breathing cashier. The line is very long, you look around, but there are no other cashiers available.

Sure, there are self-check outs at most places, but I like to go to an actual person. (My exception is Sam’s Club where I scan and go because it always seems to be packed regardless of when you go.) I like that interaction between customer and cashier. I want to see them employed. I don’t want all of the cashiers replaced by self-check out machines.

Besides, what if there is a problem with one of my items? I would have to stand around and wait for someone to come over anyway, so why not just get in the line where there is a real person?

If you have a shopping cart that is full of items and there is no express lane or self-checkout available, do you let the person behind you who only has a few items go ahead of you? We’ve all seen them, standing in line cradling one or two items. Sometimes they’re fidgeting, hoping that the line moves quickly. Sometimes they’re looking at you and your full cart with that thought that they are going to be there forever. Other times, they are just patiently waiting for their turn.

Why not let that person behind you go ahead. This is especially true if you are still unloading your cart onto the conveyor belt. Chances are they are going to be done before you even finish unloading your items.

What if there are multiple people behind you with just one or two items? How many do you let ahead of you?

I always base it on how many items I actually have. If they can get checked out before I unload my cart, I insist that they go first. Why should they wait when I am clearly not going anywhere?

If it was you, wouldn’t you want that person to let you jump in front of them? Small acts of kindness can go a long way to make someone’s day. I know I have appreciated it and have also returned the favor.

Past questions

Ask Yadi: Is it rude to wake up the person next to me on the plane if I need to use the bathroom?

Ask Yadi: Is it OK to vape around others without asking first?

Ask Yadi: Is it ever OK to leave your furbaby (AKA your pet) alone in the car?

Ask Yadi: Should a cellphone call continue when nature is calling?

Ask Yadi: If your adult child moves back home, should they contribute?

Ask Yadi: Are thank you’s a thing of the past?

Check out even more prior Ask Yadi columns here.

Do you have a question or an etiquette predicament that you want advice on? Send me an “Ask Yadi” email at [email protected]

Yadi Rodriguez

Yadi Rodriguez, columnist for Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer

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