Right of Way in a Supermarket Queue at ALDI

I've put myself in a slightly embarrassing situation in the morning and hope to get some opinions on whether I did the wrong thing or not.

I was at Aldi earlier today doing my weekly shopping. It was announced that a new checkout was opening up as soon as I joined a queue, so I started pushing my trolly towards it. The lady who was in front of me in the old queue turned to me and demanded that I should let her go first since she had queued up earlier than me.

Opening up new checkouts is of course quite common at Aldi, and as far as I have observed whoever is closest to the checkout that is about to open would join the new checkout. I wasn't in a rush, and I've always made it a point to give way to the shopper behind me if they are paying for just a few items. However I don't have a high tolerance for self-entitled people as well, so I refused to give way, which caused a brief scene.

Was I being an a-hole?

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  • +112

    first come (physically to the open register), first served

    • +18

      Gentlemen, start your engines!

    • -6

      I don't believe this to be true.

      Aldi has unofficial rules and etiquette due to its different nature compared to other shops where there are limited to no situations like the OP has which are open to interpretation.

      • People behind an old lane when a new one is opening need to either wait or ask the people in front if they want to swap.
      • People loading their tonne of groceries onto the belt should let at least one person with a single item waiting behind them to go first.
      • you do not pack your bags neatly while their being scanned, holding up the line
      • you always take the Aldi catalogue when asked, regardless of how many of the current issue you currently have. Just out of politeness.. /s
      • +7

        agreed with all above except catalogue, why would I want to bring home something I don't need? I always say "No thank you" when offered the catalogue.

        • +7

          Note the /s at the end of that one..

          • -1

            @Herbse: i thought that meant your whole comment was sarcasm

      • +3

        Just because a retailer sets their offering as “different” doesn’t mean us as consumers need to change our shopping behaviours to meet the expectations of the retailer. They’re the ones profiting.

        • +1

          No-one forcing you to shop at Aldi right?

      • +7

        No such thing as “unofficial ALDI” rules.

      • +1

        re "People loading their tonne of groceries onto the belt should let at least one person with a single item waiting behind them to go first."

        I wasn't impressed when woman was loading up her bags at the belt a couple of weeks ago and went up to her and explained to her nicely, "At Aldi you take all the groceries into the trolley and pack your bags over there". She stopped packing her bags and put the rest from the belt into her trolley. She might have been an Aldi first timer?

        I was just wondering how most of us Aldi shoppers developed this understanding of the Aldi rules without being trained in it? Osmosis?

  • +74

    Nah, first in best dressed for newly opened checkouts. Maybe let someone in that has like 1 or 2 items if you have a trolley full though.

  • +13

    Was I being an a-hole?

    No? Not really. If you left first to go to the new checkout, you should be first in the line in that new checkout.

    If she started walking first, then she would have right of way I guess.

    • +12

      There was no race to get to the register :). I just started walking towards the new register as soon as I the green light started blinking, and she started her demands while still being the tail of the old queue.

      • +26

        ignore that Karen. She was not the only person in line, there are other people waiting at other registers. Why should she be given priority?? first come first serve.

        • +4

          Yeah. Should have asked everyone in front of the lady to move to the new register and stayed in the queue at the old register while silently chuckling to yourself staring at her…

        • -5

          Why should she be given priority??

          Because she was at the registers first and waiting longer.

          • +5

            @jv: False. She was not at the newly opened register first.

            • +2


              She was not at the newly opened register first.

              She was at the registers to pay before the OP.

              • +5

                @jv: Unless she was able to split her body into several portions, no human is capable of attending more than one register at a time. Therefore, she was at a singular register, not register(s).

                Her choosing the wrong one at the wrong time is not OP's problem.

          • @jv: Typical Jv, I hope you have a day full of missing new checkout lines being opened.

            • +3


              I hope you have a day full of missing new checkout lines being opened.

              There's only 1 line at Coles.

              • @jv: The self-serve registers have a single queue but the human operated registers have individual queues (at least at my local Coles)

                • @FireRunner:

                  but the human operated registers have individual queues

                  and when they open a new one, they tell which person in the next queue can come over.

                • @FireRunner: I’ve seen at Coles automated registers with each having individual queues. They are like normal manned checkouts with the longer belts.

      • It's not a race…

  • +7

    Last week this happened to me at Coles but it was the checkout operator who told me off.

    • +32

      I would have just left the trolley full there at the checkout and walked out.

      • +7


        • +19

          Who needs a cape when you can spit the dummy?

      • +3

        I would have just left the trolley full there at the checkout and walked out.

        Savas only had a packet of Pringles in the trolley.

      • +1

        What a mad lad

  • +9

    Need an obligatory MS paint diagram thanks.

    Karen is in the wrong

    • +1

      I like chalk outlines. lol

    • +2
      • +1

        Why post your hairy cock?

    • +3

      Karen is in the wrong

      Her name was Sandra and she had been waiting longer in the queue.

  • +29

    Usually when a new checkout is about to open at either Coles or Woolies, the cashier would actually come to the existing queue and ask me to go to the new register. Solves the problem you encountered.

    • +6

      That's exactly what I thought as well. Most other stores manage this situation well, avoiding the customers having to fight it out. Never seen at Aldi though. A cashier did side with the lady briefly today before resuming her manic scanning activities.

      • Well some karens do feel extremally self-entitled dude. that's all i would say.

    • +10

      Worked at Woolies for a long time and we'd always do this. Stops this exact issue from occurring, and makes both customers happy.

    • +4

      That's because at Aldi they turn the annoucement/light on a good 2-3 minutes before the checkout operator is even remotely near the till or ready to serve.
      Gives people time to queue up I suppose.

      • +5

        This is true, I'm constantly impressed at just how few staff Aldi can run a supermarket on. The staff themselves have to be a pretty adaptable bouncing from once task to the next without hardly a moment to breath in between

        Next checkout light goes on > customers load up conveyor > Aldi staff lob in and scan like their life depends on it > checkout closing light goes off > staff member zooms off to pack shelves

    • +1

      I work at woolies, and this is exactly what we do, saves arguments and fighting, although you do get people who try to muscle their way in front which is very rude.

  • +18

    Regardless of right or wrong theres no need for a self entitled rant from Karen.

    I generally just casually meander over when a new checkout opens and let runners/panicking people in.
    But… I would have done the same thing as you did purely for coping a mouthful about getting there first.

    If it had been a polite request i would have just let them in front, but being rude doesn’t get you rewards with me.
    No need for self entitlement.

  • +6

    For me it more depends if they had there trolley unloaded. I will always let them go first if they havent yet hit the belt.

    • +2

      Yeah, there's right of way and there's decency. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    • Well yeah, if they are in the process of unloading what's the point of them going to another queue…

  • +1

    The Aldi's near me are ghost towns . Once upon a time in the good old days they had monster queues.

    • +3

      I have 3 within a 5 minute drive and all of them are always packed so I guess it’s just busy where there are still a lot of people who are… not so well off. Go figures considering houses here are $1mil+ these days

      • -6

        Always packed huh? You just drive around all day checking the queues at the 3 Aldi's?

        Did you know it is OK if Aldi's are not always busy?

        • take a moment and think again… you will get it.

    • +3

      If you do that in the western of suburbs of Sydney, like Penrith or Campbelltown, you might end up waiting forever! lol

      • +2

        Yes. Because the entitled suburb you live in doesn't have mums shopping with their kids.

  • +6

    I have an ALDI question instead if I make a new forum thread. Is it me, or does anyone else dislike it when you have a small quantity of checkout items onto the grocery conveyor belt and you’ve placed your stuff too close to the front customers groceries, then ALDI checkout staff drag your checkout divider thingy of your items on the dirty conveyor belt all the way to the next persons groceries. It’s probably just me bothered about it. Like why drag all my items with the unclean unhygienic belt.

    • +1

      Yeah I don't get it as well, it takes the exact same amount of time whether they do it before they scan my stuff or after.

      But it is a minor annoyance, so I usually let it slide.

    • +2

      That has never happened to me at my nearest Aldi. As you said, it's a never ending belt so things move when they need too. Squashing everything up isn't just pointless, things like bread and other bakery items could get caught on the edges of the belt.

    • +5

      Yes I hate that and they love doing it for some reason. They run the belt and squeeze everyone's groceries together as tightly as possible. And it makes no sense because most of us are still trying to physically distance ourselves in the queue so the person at the end of the queue is now about 3m away from their groceries.

      • They are rated based on the time taken to scan items. Too slow a scan rate, you can get the sack.

    • +1

      Just compulsive behaviour of some ALDI checkout staff? Yeah I don’t see any benefits for doing so when the human queue is longer than the item queue.

    • I have never seen that done at the Sunshine Coast, QLD ALDI ones I go to. I do get annoyed when someone behind me pushes my divider and groceries up a bit though (happens at all places at times).

  • It was announced that a new checkout was opening up as soon as I joined a queue, so I started pushing my trolly towards it. The lady who was in front of me in the old queue turned to me and demanded that I should let her go first since she had queued up earlier than me.

    Nope…. These things are whoever gets there first.

    Sure it pisses you off if someone behind you gets to go before you, but thats life!

    • It sounds like the woman in front was going to get there first.

      • Not to me. OP said

        It was announced that a new checkout was opening up as soon as I joined a queue, so I started pushing my trolly towards it.

        So the OP reversed up from the current queue and headed to the newly opened check out

        The lady who was in front of me in the old queue turned to me and demanded that I should let her go first since she had queued up earlier than me.

        So she would have been in front of the OP, so the OP would be the one who could get to the newly opened queue as she was blocked in by the OP. Hence her 'demand' as she queued up before the OP.

  • +5

    No, it's the quick and the dead, I'm in my 70's and if I am quick witted and fast I have no problem in sprinting to the latest lane thats about to open!. I agree and do the nice thing by waving through 1 or 2 other shoppers with limited items.

  • -2

    Why are so many forum posts on this site so lame and pointless

    • +3

      Well dont make one then!!!! Jeebus

    • Pot kettle


    • Be the change you want to see in the world @ringhole

  • +3

    Where are the guys saying there's no 'RigHt of WaY' ?

  • Depends if she was in front or behind your B pillar?

  • -1

    👎no live stream

  • Depends on how the new register was opened. If the ‘entitled person’ was told there was a new register opening and you just saw the light and queued there, then you are the AH. This happened to me once, I was told to queue up on the next register over, then the bell dinged and light turned on. The guy behind me tried to jump over before I could manoeuvre so I told him not to push in.
    If you were coming up ti the registers from a different direction other than from behind the EP, the it is up to your conscience whether you allow someone already queued to start the new register or if you go first.

  • +3

    I can't see any issues. If someone wants to push in front of me when a new checkout is opening I let them. If it makes some feral feel happy and proud of themself, good on them.

    The speed Aldi check-out chicks process the queues compared with Colesworth means it isn't that long to wait to be served.

    • +1

      Aldi checkouts can be quite the spectacle sport. It's amusing when you see shoppers constantly survey the checkouts, ready to switch lanes if they think there is a chance of getting served 0.0000001 of a second quicker than if they maintained their current position.

      During lockdown, there was one occasion where I had just joined the checkout queue and was waiting for the queue to progress in order to place my items on the conveyor belt when all of a sudden, the 2 shoppers in front of me swept up their groceries off the belt and bolted for another checkout that had just opened up on the far side. Their sudden exit meant I was served next whilst they were still arguing between themselves at the far checkout as to who should be served first.

  • +1

    Some stores do this better - the operator will come out and invite the person who is next in line at the long queue to move across.

    This not only avoids your scenario but improves overall customer service.

    Foodland are good for it.

  • +6

    It's polite and appropriate to let the person already in the line who has been waiting longer to transfer into the newly openened checkout before you… Seeing as you just rocked up.. but a person shouldn't really be causing a scene about it.

  • +4

    I've made enough trips to Aldi to conclude that once I've committed to a lane I stick to it no matter what. It's just my luck when I change that the person in front wants to pay in 5c pieces or process a return.

  • +1

    Were you wrong? No
    Were you being an a-hole and rushing towards that open lane? No
    Do customers feel entitled to go to an open lane if they queue before you in the current lane? Yes

    I shop at Aldi myself and I always have less than 10 items, if a lane opens up there are a few scenarios I play out:
    1 - If the person in front of me doesn't have many items and if their items are not on the belt already, I tell the person infront of me to go to the new open lane
    2 - If the person in front of me has a lot of items, I walk to the open lane and don't say anything
    3 - If I am not lining up and a queue opens and I am ready to check out, I walk to the open lane: First come first serve. I don't care who is in the other lane.

    Also, I think when a lane opens up, a rep should be there to scan and ready to go. There are many times when a lane opens up and people wait so long for a rep to log in, put their cash box in and start, when that happens, I could have already checked out in the current lane.

  • She didnt use her indicators. Her fault not yours :P

    • you didn't see the Karen light flashing ?

  • +1

    Uh yes. I remember you.

    You seem to be at it again.

  • +1

    come to ozbargain for self validity, you go queen slay

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