It May Be Bad Etiquette To Take Produce To Self-Checkout

We've all experienced that shopper who goes to the self-checkout area at the grocery store with a full cart, items that need ID verification, or electronics with security tags, all of which requires extra intervention and ultimately defeats the purpose of the so-called "fast lane." That being said, there are some times that we may be adding to the delays without even realizing it.

Something as simple as buying produce could very well be breaking grocery self-checkout etiquette. Because most produce doesn't have a barcode, we're left little choice but to search them by either the code on the sticker or their name. Of course, this process also entails weighing and/or counting individual items, with each step tacking on more time and preventing other shoppers from gaining access to the checkout stall.

Even worse, we might've forgotten what exact apple varieties we grabbed, or somehow managed to pick out the one peach that didn't have a sticker, and calling over an employee to help only slows everyone down further. Here's what to do instead.

How to properly buy produce at the self-checkout

Although you'll almost always be better off taking your fruit and veggie purchases to a regular checkout lane, the desire to use self-checkout is understandable — especially if you're in a hurry and the other lanes are packed. As such, there are a few ways to make your shopping trip more efficient for both you and fellow shoppers.

First, if possible, use the scales in the produce department. At some grocery stores, these scales double as a label printer, meaning you can print a barcode that's customized to your item. And that results in no need to struggle looking up info for exotic fruits at self-checkout; simply scan as you would any other grocery item.

If your grocery store does not have scales with label printers, try to get in the habit of making a note of what produce you're adding to your cart. For instance, if you pick out a couple of Cosmic Crisp apples, jot down the name, code, and perhaps even price per pound on your shopping list. Again, this will save you from having to click through dozens of different apple varieties when you get to self-checkout. The people in line behind you will very much appreciate your proactive measures.

Don't leave unwanted items at self-checkout

It happens: Sometimes at self-checkout, you simply decide you don't want an item anymore. While the simplest action might seem to be setting the product aside and forgetting about it, this could be considered poor etiquette. For one thing, it can lead to confusion for the next shopper. For another, it could take up limited available space. Worse yet, some products, like a tub of ice cream, need to stay cold; if left out, they spoil. The ice cream you left behind at the last minute is now melting and will likely end up in the trash.

Rather than leave an unwanted item for someone else to handle, it's better etiquette to politely flag down an employee. Explain that you've changed your mind or spotted a defect. The employee can then deal with the product properly, keeping the self-checkout area tidy for the next customer and reducing waste.