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More Polish supermarket griping...this time about customers


BLS 65 | 188  
14 Aug 2009 /  #1
I love living in Poland - it is so much more pleasurable for me than in the good ol' US of A. I have been in Kraków just over a year and have NEVER considered a return to Chicago - not for one minute! However, there are definitely negatives about life in Poland...for me, most involve the Polish markets and supermarkets.

I have seen other ex-pats on this forum complain about the many 'customer service' issues in Poland, but I have never read discussions about the customers themselves. Here are three of my favorite supermarket scenarios:

1) the person in line with a cartful of items who decides to bag everything (while the cashier and customers wait) before finally handing over his credit card! Then, we must wait for the card to clear, papers to be printed, signed, etc... Isn't enough time wasted in these lines without waiting for these multitask-challenged bozos to consider the others behind them??? Give her the card while you are bagging, głupi...

2) the person in line with a cartful of items who does not invite the customer behind him with 3 items to check out ahead of him. I can count on one hand how many times this has happened during my 13+ months in Poland (I seem to remember it happening at least 5-6 times a month in America). This one is easier for me to understand - perhaps the concept is foreign to Poland? Does this courtesy occur in the rest of Europe or is it primarily an American thing?

3) The person with 17 items in the 10-items-or-less aisle. I realize this one is universal, but why don't the otherwise-bellicose cashiers unload on these people? They seem to live for such occasions to belittle us poor customers!

Thanks for letting me vent - does any other customer behavior annoy you?
moonlight 6 | 103  
14 Aug 2009 /  #2
Does this courtesy occur in the rest of Europe

I think it has happened to me once.

Number one also an issue here too.

I dont know about Poland (yet) but it really annoys me when you are waiting in line and the person behind you is almost lying on top of you. Back off!!!!! it does not mean the line will move any faster!!!
Cardno85 31 | 976  
14 Aug 2009 /  #3
Does this courtesy occur in the rest of Europe or is it primarily an American thing?

I think it must be an american thing. I would never even imagine giving up my place in the queue no matter how much I had in my trolley. It defeats the whole queuing process, you take your position and that is how queues work.
Floripa 3 | 39  
14 Aug 2009 /  #4
Here in Spain it's usual to let people in before you if they only have a few items. I seen it and done it hundreds of times.

I also hate the fact that a lot of people leave their empty baskets on the floor, spread out in any old fashion, so that when I get there I have to pile them up in a neat block.

It's all about education..........shopping like many other things in life is about self conduct, consideration to others, or you know how to conduct yourself with a view to those around you or you couldn't give a toss.
OP BLS 65 | 188  
14 Aug 2009 /  #5
It defeats the whole queuing process, you take your position and that is how queues work.

I wholeheartedly agree with allowing someone with a few items in ahead of me - even if I don't have a full cart. It's about simple math: My 30 items could take five minutes to process, whereas a the next person's 3 items could be finished in under a minute. I am more than willing to give up an extra minute of my time to allow someone else to save 5 minutes.

In an otherwise-goofy-ass country like America, this courtesy stands out as one of the niceties I genuinely miss...

it really annoys me when you are waiting in line and the person behind you is almost lying on top of you.

I actually had a guy cough phlegm on the back of my neck while waiting behind me at Carrefour! Definitely too close, IMO...

consideration to others

Well said!
Harry  
14 Aug 2009 /  #6
I dont know about Poland (yet) but it really annoys me when you are waiting in line and the person behind you is almost lying on top of you. Back off!!!!! it does not mean the line will move any faster!!!

Just put your hands in your jacket pockets (make sure to have you elbows pointing out) and then turn 90 degrees very fast. An elbow in the ribs tends to make people back off a bit. Similar results can come from scratching the back of your neck and then turning round fast.
moonlight 6 | 103  
15 Aug 2009 /  #7
lol.... Im going to try this one :)

It really annoys my friend if someone sits beside her on the bus where there are plenty of vacant seats. She starts talking to herself and twitching or scratching - it usually works - but I'm not going to try that one when I'm waiting in Tesco.
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431  
16 Aug 2009 /  #8
I would never even imagine giving up my place in the queue no matter how much I had in my trolley

I am not an American but I am also surprised that people in Poland never offer to give up their place in a queue even if you have 1 item in a shop.

Also in airports, one day I had a 1 year old baby asleep in my arms + all my luggage , there was a big queue and I asked out loud if people wouldn't mind allowing me to check in 1st with the kid and they looked at me like cows but no one answered or even reacted so I had to ask the person at the check in to do me this 5mns favour.

I was not late , i was even earlier but Poles love to arrive hours in advance.
I think it is because of Communism for so long in Poland when People had to care about themselves only in order to survive.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387  
16 Aug 2009 /  #9
I am not an American but I am also surprised that people in Poland never offer to give up their place in a queue even if you have 1 item in a shop.

I find that it is only men who might let someone ahead of them.

Women seem to have a God given right. The supermarket is the only place in Poland where I will not give way to any female.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
16 Aug 2009 /  #10
Does this courtesy occur in the rest of Europe or is it primarily an American thing?

It's done often in Sweden. If you have 20-30 items and the person behind you has 1-2 items, you usually let him pay before you.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
16 Aug 2009 /  #11
BLS:
Does this courtesy occur in the rest of Europe or is it primarily an American thing?

weirdly did this myself only yesterday (UK)...would feel terrible arsing about with a million items while some old dear stands behind me with a bottle of washing up liquid....
Myszolow 3 | 157  
16 Aug 2009 /  #12
If you don't like people too close and you have a trolley, all you have to do is stand in front of the trolley. It'll get bumped a bit, but hey. You can also stand in front of it to unload your stuff and prevent those behind you having access to the conveyor belt until YOU are ready to let them, and you've put a "następny kretyn" marker down. ;)

I find that Tesco in Lódź is not too bad. But then I do try to go at off-peak times. I detest queues and crowds.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
16 Aug 2009 /  #13
I would never even imagine giving up my place in the queue no matter how much I had in my trolley. It defeats the whole queuing process, you take your position and that is how queues work.

Agreed. Its not something we do in the UK.

I am more than willing to give up an extra minute of my time to allow someone else to save 5 minutes.

I'm not, the less time I have to spending queuing in a supermarket the better, its an unpleasant enough experience without making it any longer.
BevK 11 | 248  
19 Aug 2009 /  #14
I let people in front of me if they have just one item regardless of whether it's a guy or another woman, especially if they are old people. I was brought up nicely! The only time I wouldn't is if they were being idiots/obnoxious.

I do hate it when people are almost literally "up your arse" as seems to happen in queues in Warsaw lol.
Trevek 26 | 1,702  
20 Aug 2009 /  #15
Does this courtesy occur in the rest of Europe or is it primarily an American thing?

It's a British thing too. I have had it happen to me a few times in Poland, particularly if the shop is quiet. However, this combined with number 3, makes a nightmare.

I was standing in a queue for the 10 items-or-less when a woman walked to the front of the queue, only to be reprimanded by the cashier and the others in the queue... "But I only have ONE item!" she said.

Another thing which annoys me is the Polish inability to make a straight queue combined with female contempt for men doing the shopping.

I was in one supermarket queue with my wife when she decided to go and fetch some extra items. The old women in the queue adopted the "blob" formation, where you can't tell where the queue actually is, and then did that amazing thing where they don't appear to move but somehow end up in-front of you. Eventually one old biddy sternly commented.. "PROSZE PANA!..." about ME queue jumping. I snapped and ranted on in my bad Polish about how I had been there first with my wife BUT, if they so insisted, they could have my place and I'd go to the back.

Then they started mumbling, a little shamefacedly, to each other about "Oh yes, there was a lady there, wasn't there?" and offering me a place in the queue.

The "up-your-arse" scenario happens a lot in post-offices, especially when the biddy rests against the serving counter, huffing and sighing.

you take your position and that is how queues work.

YOU CAN'T BE POLISH!
rich55 3 | 49  
20 Aug 2009 /  #16
Just step back and tread on their toes...you'll get your own space then!
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
20 Aug 2009 /  #17
It's a British thing too.

Not its not, Im English and cant remember doing it or having someone do it to me, I was brought up with good manners, but standing in line in the supermarket is another thing, you wait your turn regardless of the number of items you have...We have the 10 items only tills for a reason.
lexi 1 | 176  
20 Aug 2009 /  #18
Let's not forget the "Jubilat experience". It's like a game of chinese checkers. First the cashier scans all the items, and then, and not until then, when the bill comes to 100zl or more are you allowed a free white plastic bag, normally used for putting inside

foot bins.

You may then proceed to pack your things at a rate of 150 per minute, as the rest of the people are waiting to pack their things. It is only at the end of the transaction that you are 100% sure that you are entitled to a free bag, and only one.

No free bags are given out prior to the transaction taking place.
AmericanGirl - | 20  
21 Aug 2009 /  #19
Great topic!! I've had numerous encounters. Living in the USA my entire life I know where you're coming from 100%. My favorite ... I had a post office incident once where I took my number and waited patiently for my turn. Just as my number lit up on one of those screens and I made my way to the window an old lady cut in front and shouted at me that she's an elder and she will not wait (with everyone else) to send a letter. And us younger folks always disrespect them and we were brought up without any manners. blah blah... Thankfully the post office worker told her if she doesn't take a number she will not be helped. And.. most post offices in PL do provide a sitting area for waiting customers. The longer I am here, the less I understand it. LOL!
Trevek 26 | 1,702  
21 Aug 2009 /  #20
Not its not, Im English and cant remember doing it or having someone do it to me, I was brought up with good manners, but standing in line in the supermarket is another thing, you wait your turn regardless of the number of items you have...We have the 10 items only tills for a reason.

Ah, maybe it's an age thing. I've had it done several times. I do it too (maybe I've been infected by Americans). Probably cos I'm from an age before the 10 items tills existed.

It might be that the supermarkets I was in were just smaller and quieter.
AmericanGirl - | 20  
21 Aug 2009 /  #21
or how about when you're standing in the grocery store line with 2-3 items and an elder slyly cuts in front of you and shamelessly says "I only have a couple things so I'll go ahead of you" (YEAH so do I!) It would be a nice gesture if he/she would ASK if it's okay to cut then I wouldn't have such a problem.
Trevek 26 | 1,702  
21 Aug 2009 /  #22
Thankfully the post office worker told her if she doesn't take a number she will not be helped.

WHAT???? S/he must have worked abroad for a while.

Usually someone queue jumps with a "Oh, I just have to ask something!" and they stop serving the rightful person to deal with the jumper.

Ask the assistant if they'd like to come and work in Olsztyn.
rrusilowicz - | 3  
4 Nov 2009 /  #23
Cardno85

It's called being nice to other people and not thinking only of yourself... selfishness..
ChrisPoland 2 | 123  
4 Nov 2009 /  #24
Although I have adapted to the smaller personal space here in Poland, I still do not like actual physical contact with strangers in the supermarket check-out line (or anywhere else for that matter). I have a standard line - Prosze mnie nie dotykać - which I deliver to the offender the second time or third time they bump me. Next I move to -Nie dotykaj mnie- and I've never needed to say more. Of course, this draws a lot of comments from other people but for me that is better than being constantly bumped and breathed on.

I have also met with hostility when pregnant or with a small child in the disabled/pregnant line. Also on the tram when I was about 8 months pregnant an elderly lady asked me for my seat when the seats in front of me and behind me were free. I informed her of that and her daughter told her to leave me alone, that I was pregnant and sitting in the appropriate seat. The elderly lady looked at me and told me that I shouldn't have slept around!!! She was in her 80's and her daughter in her 60's. I had to laugh :)
lollap  
9 Nov 2009 /  #25
I love elbows trick. Must try it asap ! ! !
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
9 Nov 2009 /  #26
Well, I agree with BLS. I will almost always give up my place in the queue if sb has far fewer items than I have. If they have 3 or 4 things to be scanned then they will be let passed.

As for bumping, I take the Chris approach. I will reverse to create more space. There was a little girl right behind me in Tesco the other day and I just stared her down. Poor little kid ;) ;) I do the same with big guys and they back off.
nincompoop_not 2 | 192  
9 Nov 2009 /  #27
historic fact from Poland

back in the 'dark age' of communism we've had notices in shops that pregnant and women with small children will be served first.
Can't remember if elderly were included, but they were indeed served first always and everywhere.
Harry  
10 Nov 2009 /  #28
Pharmacies are the worst of the lot when it comes to shopping in Poland! Why can't they have express tills where you are only allowed to state the items you want by name and if you take more than ten seconds to order you have to go to the back of the queue?! All you need to say is "Can I have this prescription, a large pack of gripex, a large pack of gripex noc, a large pack of ibuprom, three packs of rutinoscorbin and some vitamin tablets please" but the average Pole takes at five minutes to buy that lot; unless they are old, in which case make it 15 minutes.
ShawnH 8 | 1,498  
10 Nov 2009 /  #29
Pharmacies are the worst

And better protected than many kantors / banks.

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