Dear Crabby, Is it Inconsiderate to Take Your Groceries to the Coffee Line at the Grocery Store?

Dear Crabby, I was out at a grocery store at lunch the other day, to get some lunch stuff for the rest of the week. I decided I should get myself a coffee as a treat. I ordered my coffee and was rung up for the coffee and about 6 frozen lunch meals, and paid. After I was done, and I was standing by waiting for my coffee, the man behind me was trying to get my attention. In short, he was irritated that I had taken up the coffee line to pay for my groceries, and wanted to let me know that groceries should be paid for at the register lines. Is there a sign somewhere that says that? Have I been being inconsiderate for my entire coffee-drinking life?

Sincerely, Mary L.

Hello Mary,

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

What really gets my goat are the people who get in the express checkout lane with many more items than what the sign reads. Some signs say fewer than 15, some say fewer than 12 – either way, keep it to that number. Oh, and by the way, I don’t want to hear “I’m sorry, I didn’t see the sign.” And, I really don’t want to hear “that’s okay, I’ll ring you up anyway,” from the cashier.

So, in your case, if you had broken so sort of posted protocol, then yes, I’d call you “inconsiderate” and the cashier should tell you about the policy. But here’s the thing, you’re still getting the coffee – you would be in that line anyway and the person behind you would still have to wait. I feel those coffee lines are kind of like an express lane – if you have under a dozen items, go for it.

For me, when the lottery prize is way up there and I go to the grocery store to buy tickets, I’ll also take my few purchases to the service desk line. There is no posted sign, I wait my turn, and put my 2-3 items down and hand the cashier my betting slips – they always ring me up – never telling me otherwise. And I ask, “can you ring me up for these items too?” It’s quick and easy.

I also take my purchases to the service desk if they close the regular check-out lanes late at night – I refuse to use the “self-checkout lanes.” They’re dumb. But that’s another story.

Anyway, back to you. If you’re in doubt and want to play it safe next time, just ask the coffee cashier out loud so the people around you can hear. If they say yes, the other customers should give the cashier that irritated look, not you.

Happy Shopping!

Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

Speak Your Mind