In a viral clip shared on TikTok, the woman questioned the practice of unpacking groceries at the register, rather than leaving them in the basket for a sales assistant to handle. "Why do people take things out of the basket at checkout?" the shopper asked. "Isn't it easier to leave it like this?"
As she poses this question, the camera pans to another customer who's placing items on the conveyor belt, then zooms into the woman's own basket, from which a cashier removes items one by one to scan.
The woman's refusal to perform the seemingly basic task sparked outrage, with many supermarket shoppers saying it's "faster and easier" to empty the basket, and suggesting it boils down to a simple matter of manners.
One disapproving viewer answered the TikToker's question by saying, "because people have manners, and it makes it easier for staff." Another commented, "You literally filmed the cashier struggling."
Supermarket cashiers split over basket act
Retail workers also chimed in, with several former cashiers calling out customers who don't unpack their own baskets. "I've worked in a supermarket, it's the most frustrating thing ever. It's lazy and more work for the cashier," one responded.
"It makes our jobs a lot harder, especially at big stores where they keep track of our scan speed and if it doesn't reach the criteria, we get written up," responded another.
However, opinions among cashiers themselves were divided, with some defending the practice of leaving groceries in a basket.
Mark, a former checkout operator with a decade of experience managing an IGA supermarket in Victoria, told Yahoo News Australia about the countless hours he'd spent at the register, saying, "It didn't bother me when people did this. In fact, with so many elderly customers, we often tried to help out. If I had to lean over and unpack their trolley for them, that would be a different story."
Sharing a similar sentiment, Chelsea, a cashier who works at Aldi explained to Yahoo, "We ask customers to unload it. It can be annoying, but, truth be told, it's not the most frustrating thing that happens in the store."
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