Personal Finance

10 Tips to a Smooth Checkout (with 2 Restless Kids)

By Shannen Bayless

It’s Wednesday afternoon (because your local supermarket ads come out on Wednesday), and you pick up your kids from school and head to the supermarkets (which is my case are 30 minutes away) to do some quick coupon shopping before your husband gets home from work. You manage to make it through the store and get everything on your list (thanks to 2 very cooperative boys who got to ride in the fire truck shopping cart and are now sharing some fruit snacks to keep them happy). You see a happy cashier eager to help you through the checkout with your cart full of groceries. She greets you and says “I’m new here, so be patient with me.” Great.

Now nothing against new cashiers or cashiers in general (I’ve been the “new” girl enough times, too.). But after I’ve managed to get to the store, keep my kids occupied for at least 45 minutes, and make it to the checkout line, I just want to pay for my groceries and get out as quickly as possible.

grocery shopping

Here are 10 things I’ve come up with to help keep your supermarket cashier on your side and make checkout go smoothly:

Say Hello

It’s simply polite to greet someone you will be interacting with. Say hello, good morning, good afternoon, or some other friendly greeting. This is just a way to be friendly and start your conversation about the items you are about to purchase (especially important if you have a cart full of groceries!)

Empty Your Grocery Basket

If you were fortunate enough to get all your items into a basket, empty it! This will save you time at the checkout.

Arrange Your Items

Take the time to arrange like items together on the belt. Heavy items like cases of water, soda, milk, and dog food should be placed on the belt first or if extra large, left in the grocery cart. Place cold/frozen items, can goods, etc. together. More fragile items like eggs and bread should be last so that they can be placed on top of the other groceries so they don’t get crushed.

Announce Price Match Items

Tell the cashier if you have any items to price match first. At my local Wal-mart store, I put these items on the belt first to make the checkout process smoother. Leaving price matches to the end of the transaction is likely to cause problems and prolong the checkout process.

Separate Multiple Transactions

Tell the cashier if you are making the purchase with multiple transactions. make sure to separate the items for each transaction with the dividers instead of mixing all the items together. This will just makes things a lot easier on your cashier and get you more quickly out the door.

Hand Over Reusable Bags

Be sure to let the cashier know if you have reusable bags of your own to use. Not only will this help get your groceries packed more quickly, some stores will give you a discount for using your own bags.

Hand Them Your Loyalty Card

If your store offers one, be sure to hand over your loyalty card. I usually try to have this ready for them when they greet me.

Present Coupons / Rain Checks

If you are using coupons or have a rain check, make sure that you have them ready to scan. Sometimes it’s easier to process a rain check as they are ringing the item rather than at the end of your transaction. Some cashiers like to check your coupons first before they start ringing your groceries.

Be Ready To Pay

Have your cash or credit card ready before your transaction is complete. If you write checks, start writing it out while the cashier is ringing your items. This will again save you time at the checkout.

Be Friendly

This can’t be over emphasized enough. make sure to be friendly while the cashier is ringing your order and make the extra effort to THANK THEM when you are finished checking out. This is simply common courtesy!

So now you’ve made it through the checkout and gotten everything into your van, including your two boys who are now fighting over who gets to hold the box of fruit snacks for the car ride home, and you still have 30 minutes to spare. Enough time to get home, and maybe get everything unloaded from your van before your husband gets home from work asking what’s for supper? Sound familiar?

So the next time when you’re out coupon shopping, try just one or two of these tips (or maybe you have a few more you’d like to share with me) It can be the difference between having a few minutes to spare as you rush home to pick up your son from football practice or being the last parent to pick up your kid from preschool (been that parent a few times, too).

Shannen Bayless works hard to maintain her bustling household and in her spare time writes for Fatwallet.com, a coupon and deals site.

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