OK full disclosure before this post:
- The Swede claims I made this whole thing up
- I worked briefly as a cashier at a grocery store while in high school, so I am speaking from experience
- This is one of those little 'Swedish' things that drives me insane
It took me years to figure out why it is that the Swedish little sticks you use to separate your groceries from the next-person-in-line's all have text that reads 'Please place the barcode so that it faces you.' But after a rude comment from a Systembolaget cashier I figured it out, and my life has never been the same.
Basically what Swedish grocery stores and Systembolaget would like you to do is to place all of your items so that the barcode is facing outwards towards you, so that the machine can scan it. The idea behind this is a kind one – it can be tiring to a cashier to lift and rotate all of the goods to scan the bar code. But the result is one that sometimes makes my blood boil.
Here is a typical scenario for me (note: The Swede claims never to have experienced such a happening): I choose the grocery line which appears it might be the fastest. But then the person in front of me, with a cart half full of groceries, turns out to be the considerate type. By this I mean they pull out every item from their cart, examine it, find the barcode and place it in a row one item wide, on the belt. Needless to say, this takes FOREVER. The cashier has usually caught up to them by the time they are one-third of the way through their cart. And the customer places and the cashier scans, as slow as molasses, one item at a time.
When I worked as a cashier, from experience, you know where the bar codes are. You just twist and zoom and it's over. You are on to the next customer. It is quick and efficient because you don't have to study each object.
I know I am being selfish in demanding speedy service over the health consequences for my cashier. But I don't really understand why I need to do their job for them? I mean isn't that why they are there? If you don't want to become obsolete with all the new technology, don't you have to do something? I mean here in Sweden no one bags your groceries, and if no one even scans your groceries, what is the point?
So, no I don't line up my groceries, not even at Systembologet (but there it is more passive-agressive principles). And I really wish more people took a stand with me (and maybe the cashiers could have a monthly massage like they do at other companies or something?)