Do you have good checkout etiquette?

Good manners can mean allowing somebody else to go first.
Good manners can mean allowing somebody else to go first.

Aimie Cronin talks to Pak'n Save Mill St owner/ operator Glenn Miller about checkout etiquette.

Take that moment at the end of the supermarket shop when you visualise eating everything on the shelves because it's 5.30pm and you've come straight from work. As soon as you leave, you're going to crack open a bag of chips.

But you have to survive the checkout first. Surveying the queues, you opt for the shortest one, of course, but something is going on up the front.

There's a man who's forgotten something and has to run back. Or a woman counting out change, coin by coin by coin. Or, there's someone who looks young and needs to be checked by a supervisor.

And you watch as the other queues move through, and you juggle whether to stay committed to the queue or jump ship to another. It's an agonising decision.

Pak'n Save owner-operator Glenn Miller says it happens to all of us, but there are ways to pick a good queue.

"Some operators are definitely a lot faster than others. [Checkout operators at Pak'n Save, Mill St] do 21 items a minute on average - some are doing 26 and some might be doing 15, so you've gotta watch what's going on before you get there."

Best practice is to be considerate to other shoppers and have everything sorted by the time you reach the checkout. It's no good deciding at handover that you don't want beer-battered chips and would rather have wedges.

And check your list before lining up, so you know there won't be any mad dashes at the last minute.

Other etiquette rules when queuing are to keep your distance from the person in front of you ("New Zealanders don't like people in their space, " says Miller), and if someone behind you only has a few items, let them in front (and silently hate them if they take an age ordering cigarettes or a pre-pay phone card).

And if you're under 35 and get asked for ID while buying alcohol, take it as a compliment and have identification handy - don't make the queue behind you wait as you run to the car for it.