Should You Say Something to the Person with More than 15 Items in the Express Line?

man shopping at costco

Should I say anything to the person ahead of me in the express checkout if they have more than the 15 items in their cart?  Asked by Heather – 20 something – Arizona

Here is one of those social etiquette moments of uncertainty. Our panelists had some definite ideas.  Read on:

heidiJones1I say no.  Life is too short for me to be managing others in that way.  Heidi – 30 something




MarjorieI encounter this scenario a lot at the grocery store, and frankly, I am guilty myself of slipping through the line with a counted 15 items in my cart. Ssshhh. I wouldn’t mention anything to anyone who has a few extra items in their cart. But, if it’s obvious that they are checking out with a week’s worth of goods, I would say something like, “I don’t know if you were aware, but this is the express lane. There are regular lanes open as well.”  If it was an intentional move on his/her part, then you might get a comment or look thrown back at you….but so what. He/she might think twice the next time they try to abuse the system. Sometimes individuals need to be reminded that they aren’t the only one in this world who matters and to be courteous to other shoppers. And yes…I’ll try to practice what I preach the next time I have an extra yogurt or two in my cart. Marjorie – 30 something


Amy C.No one’s life is in danger, so I say live and let shop.  I think this is a karma-test.  Who knows when you will be the one trying to sneak an extra 5 minutes into a hectic day by going through the faster line?  Think of it as racking up positive points on the karma meter for the time in the future when you need someone to be patient with you.   Amy C. – 40 something




My answer: No.  Amy B. – 40 something



heleneTozierDepends on how “cranky” and how much of a hurry I am in. LOL.  I usually let it slide because it isn’t worth the negative gee and I figure one day that might be me.  Helene – 60 something




Marge G.No.  I know from experience that occasionally the checker in the express lane will signal to me to come over even though I have more than the item limit.  They are required to get people through in as little time as possible and customers get mad if they see a checker just standing there with nothing to do while lines form in the other lanes.  If you have kids in tow or are running late, there is nothing wrong with pleasantly asking if you can go ahead, although be prepared for icy stares.   On the reverse side, I have no problem with offering to let people who are hand carrying a few items go ahead of me.  It’s a friendly gesture and gives me more time to read the magazines.  Marge – 70 something