Get More Time in Your Day with These 3 Grocery Shopping Hacks

Time is our biggest luxury. So why does grocery shopping always seem to take so much of it? Even if you’ve come prepared with a grocery list and swiftly found your items, the checkout line will somehow stop your glory. If being enclosed by chocolate bars and gossip magazines for several minutes makes you comfortable, this hack isn’t for you. But, if you’re looking for a quick checkout Dan Meyer, a former high school teacher and chief of academics at Desmos will be your hero.

Always choose the line with fewer people, even if there is a ton of items in their cart.

We are all guilty of skipping the line with the full carts and joining a seemingly shorter line. We usually go to the line with more people that have fewer items. This is where we begin to waste time. According to Meyer, it takes an average of 41 seconds per person, and 3 seconds per items to be checked out. The 41 seconds is including the, “How’s your day?”, “Paper or plastic?”, and “Do you have our rewards program?” Do those seconds really make a difference? The New York Times stated, “Think of it this way: One person with 100 items to be rung up will take an average of almost six minutes to process. If you get in a line with four people who each have 20 items, it will take an average of nearly seven minutes.”


Express Lanes are deceiving, avoid them.

Everybody wants a speedy checkout. If there is an express sign above a lane everyone will run to it. This line attracts the most people and is basically not an express line anymore. Don’t be fooled by these grocery stores tactics. They just want your time and money to be spent on the candy bars in line staring at you.

Choose another grocery store with a better checkout option.

This may not be an option for you. Your neighborhood grocery store might be the only one you have time to travel to. However other researchers have found that the serpentine line is faster than the normal parallel lines of most grocery stores. The serpentine line is one line that leads to multiple registers ahead. This line style is common in airports and some departments stores like TJ Maxx, and Marshalls. If you find a grocery store with a serpentine style line, make that store your favorite. Douglas Norton, a professor of mathematics at Villanova University, reported that normally three tellers, each serving his or her own line of customers wait time is three times longer on average than a single line leading to several of tellers.


Checkout lines at the grocery store will probably suck forever. Save some time and enjoy your life.

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