I consider myself a pretty good guesser. But this is one I CANNOT figure out. Why is it, I can never pick the fastest line at the grocery store or restaurant?

No matter what I do, I always pick the line that moves the slowest. It’s become somewhat of an obsession. There are very few things I am bad at – golf, being patient in traffic - but picking the slowest line seems to be something I am REALLY GOOD at..

When in a grocery line type situation, I find myself studying the patrons in line to find the quickest line to get in and out. I study how fast the cashier is, if there are kids in line with their parents, I always add time because kids can be a time suck in these situations. I study who seems to be efficient and up to the task of being prepared as they prepare to pay for their goods.

In the checkout line at the grocery store.

I observe of they are on their devices constantly (a sure sign they are not fully paying attention), or if they are self-aware. That last part helps allot. Clueless folk tend to hold up lines and slow the process down.

But no matter how much I study, watch, observe, I ALWAYS end up in the slowest line.

A while back Lisa and I were in a store and ended up in two different lines. I took the opportunity to see if I could best her and beat her out of the store. I studied the people and then stood in what I hoped was to be my winning line. I choose a line where most had only a few items and seemed to have their act together. As I watched the line digress, I noticed my line was slower. That’s when it happened – the cashier grabbed the bendy mic thingy and yelled “Price check on aisle 5!” Ugh, I am gonna lose again. Those price checks take forever.

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We were now about 3 people deep in our respective lines. As I waited for the Price Check debacle to come to an end, I watched Lisa get closer to her checker. She was winning – and once again, I was losing. After the price check came back, we moved up. I am now two deep – Lisa is next to check out. Dang it. I am gonna lose this thing – AGAIN.

The customer in front of me was next up. He only has a pack of gum. Victory is within reach! That’s when it happened – he said he needed to rent a carpet shampooer. Ugh! I looked over at Lisa, she had her first of 10 items scanned. She looked at me and smiled. She knew she was gonna win this.

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Finally, carpet shampoo guy filled out his paper work and got his thing that was “steaming mad at dirt” and was on his way. My turn! My items were being scanned. As I looked up, Lisa was standing there smiling at me with her goods in the bag ready to go.

She won.

I am NOT giving up on this. I will eventually master picking the right line. As it is said, practice makes perfect – or in my case, more frustrated.

All My Best,

The JimShow

Shopping cart in the supermarket
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