Is there a special certification people need to work at a Duane Reade, Walgreens of CVS that expressly requires them to avoid checking people out speedily. There can be twenty people queuing up to checkout, and there can be five staff behind the counter, but four of those staff will be “off duty”, tapping away at touchscreens or stocking already packed shelves. They will find anything to do except open the next cash register and help to alleviate the delay the queuing public is feeling. And the one person checking out people has refined to an art the ability to avoid eye contact and to move at a speed, which is both consistent and incredibly slow.
The only time they will look up is when the octogenarian on the walking frame eight people ahead of you in the queue asks them to check the price of each of the forty seven items they have bought from the discount aisle to make sure they are getting the right price on each item and they have all the right discount vouchers in that little paper envelope they keep deep in the handbag.
The designers of the stores clearly had in mind the need to have multiple checkout stations, and one would assume that this was so that multiple checkout staff could checkout multiple people at the same time. But it seems that I am wrong, and that each checkout station is in fact the personal space of a designated checkout member of staff. And while Jenny from Checkout three may not be in this week, no one else could possibly use her space. Maybe it’s as personal as a toothbrush and in the etiquette they are taught at pharmacy checkout school it’s the height of rudeness to use another’s personal till.
Or maybe it’s a misguided attempt to make people spend longer in the store so they can consider purchasing additional items. I suggest that this is misguided because once you are in the queue there is absolutely no way you are giving up your spot to go and get additional items. You will be in this queue for (what seems like) an hour anyway, and there is no way you are going to risk your spot on the hope that the people behind you will keep a place holder for you, or even remember you when you get back from the aspirin aisle.
Actually I suspect that when you enter a pharmacy, you are actually entering a parallel universe, where the normal rules of shopping are replaced by sadism. I am starting to think that the staff gets a bonus from making you suffer.