Sunday, May 14, 2017

Supermarket Chutzpa

Israelis are known for their chuztpa - loosely translated as blatant cheek.

One very irritating habit that happens here in the supermarket, is parking trolleys at the checkout, albeit at the end of a long queue, and then going back and forth filling them so that by the time they have all they need, they are at the front of the queue to check out. We all forget things as we're queuing and no one minds of you leave your trolley to run back and get that one forgotten item, but I'm talking about almost the whole shop done from the checkout queue.

Another ploy is when two people are shopping together and they stand in two different lines in order to take the position that comes up first. The queues in the supermarket are always a bit of a gamble, like at the airport check-in, you never know if someone ahead of you is going to have a problem and hold everyone up for half an hour. I don't mind that couples stand in two queues as in the end they can only take up one place, I'm just a bit jealous that this is something I can never do.

From archives. I had nowhere near this amount of shopping
Anyway, last week when we didn't have a working fridge at home, I was buying just enough to see us through the weekend before our new fridge arrived on Sunday afternoon. Thus I didn't do the shop while DD was in school on Friday morning, but we went together after school. The place was packed with long queues at all the checkouts except for the express line. There is a clearly visible sign up that says, '10 items or less'. We had about 15 items but some of them were multiples. However compared to the full trolleys in the other queues it was practically nothing.

At that point the express queue was completely empty so I went to it. The cashier looked at my trolley and said, "sorry, only 10 items." I replied, "I'm only buying ten the rest are hers," indicating DD. The woman gave me a stern look. I ignored it. I put 10 things on the conveyor belt. Then I put the remaining things in another pile behind them and gave DD a 100 shekel note (about 20 pounds). I told her, "This is your shopping and you pay for it with this,"

DD was embarrassed but by this time the cashier was laughing. When she'd swiped my club card I handed it to DD for her shopping. The cashier, told me to put it away and she did our whole shop in one transaction.

Sometimes I feel very Israeli.


  1. Hahaha love this and you taught DD a great lesson, don't break rules but always manipulate them to your advantage!

    1. I taught her a similar lesson at her parent-teacher meeting last year. The appointments were running late but after waiting almost an hour after our scheduled time, at last we were next. DD's friend was after us and the friend's big sister said, "would you mind if we went before you as we have to go somewhere afterwards." I replied, "Sorry, we also have to go somewhere afterwards." DD whispered in my ear, "where do we have to go afterwards?" I whispered back, "home."

  2. Replies
    1. I have to admit that I was rather proud of myself.

  3. I don't mind if it's a couple of items over when folks are in the express line but the ones with the full carts who like to pretend they didn't notice drive me crazy! The Express desk is always the exact same checkout at my local supermarket and believe me - everyone knows! I have no qualms about telling them to move!
    And yes, the whole park your trolley in line while you do your shopping is ridiculous - on more than one occasion I have moved a trolley - and I am prepared to argue! As you said, I have no problem if someone has forgotten an item and runs to get it but do your shopping before you get in line. (I pretend that I thought it was an abandoned buggy or the one that the shop clerks load up to return items to the shelves).
    Love your response at the school meeting.
    Another thing that annoys me is when I've waited patiently in a long line and just as I get to the cashier someone walks up to ask a question or two or three - I now interrupt (politely) explaining that I have waited my turn and that it's now time for them to do the same - and I insist that the cashier deals with me first! And yes, men are especially guilty of this!

    1. I've just thought of another one - at the bank when you've waited ages to see a clerk and then they answer the phone while dealing with you so effectively, someone calling from home gets to go first.