Grocery Grace

Posted on November 4, 2013

At many grocery stores in America, there are a multitude of lines in which you can check out and pay for your items. A few of those lines are the “speedy lanes”. You may only use those lanes if you are buying less than the prescribed amount of items. The sign above the lane usually says “15 item limit” or “10 items or fewer” or “20 items or less”.

Have you ever gotten in one of those lines before actually counting your items and thought, I hope I don’t have too many. I hope no one notices.

OR – Have you ever silently counted the items in your neighbor’s cart and irritably thought, She has too many! She should go to the other line. People like her are the reason this line is so slow.

I’ve been on both sides. Either way, it seems like the rule makes almost everyone uptight. Where is the grace in the grocery line?

This weekend I found the grace. Standing in the express lane of a Kroger I had never been to before, my husband and I noticed this sign:

photo (22)


About 15 items

That tickled us. Wow, I thought, People here are really nice. They won’t bite your head off if you have 16 items in your cart.

It’s a generalization. The manager – or whoever – at Kroger decided that the line indeed is for people with fewer groceries but that there was no need for a steadfast rule. When we asked, our cashier said the signs used to say “15 items or less” but it was changed. And anyway, she told us, most of their customers at this particular neighborhood Kroger have small orders.

I’m curious as to what exactly brought this on. I may never know. What I do know is that I want to keep shopping there. It’s such a small thing, but I appreciate the way the store is creating an atmosphere for people to be gracious to each other. Leaders can do that. In our respective areas of influence we can make statements defining who we are and who we hope others will be when they are with us. We can set the pace, stop drawing such tight boundaries around unnecessary rules, and encourage kindness.

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