No checks, please


Can you tell me why people get into the 10-item-or-less line in the grocery store, right under the big sign, the one that says "No Checks," then put their 15 items on the counter and start writing a check? How can they not know it's an express lane? We cash people are beside ourselves with angst!

-- B., San Diego

And if we are beside ourselves, does that mean we can go through that express line with 20 items? Is angst one item or several? Suppose we're buying a dozen cans of chateaubriand cat food; is that one item because they're all the same price? And if the large lady with the four tubby children in front of us is buying Twinkies, rocky road ice cream, Spaghetti-Os, and Lucky Charms, do we have the right to feel superior as we carefully arrange our broccoli, turkeyburger, and bottled water? No; strike that. The real question is, exactly how superior can we feel-- Slightly? Extremely? On the other hand, is there any way we can stack our Cheerios and canned corn to hide that box of Depends? Do the people in line behind us really need to know that much about our personal lives? Will the checker make some kind of wisecrack? I think, B., that a supermarket line raises so many important life questions that nobody pays much attention to little things like "No Checks, Please."

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