Cheque-ing out at the supermarket

This is in no way meant to sound sexist.

Oh dear as soon as you write that sort of "apology" you know you're just inviting trouble.

And it will (perhaps deservedly) undoubtedly get me into hot water.

But what exactly is it with supermarket checkouts, (some) women and cheque books in France?

It doesn't matter what time of day you pop into the nearest Carrefour, Leclerc, Auchan, intermarché or wherever, you'll still have the chance to catch a glimpse of that not-so-rare phenomenon, the woman with the cheque book.

Stroll around the aisles, fill your basket or trolley as the case may be, and then make your way to the checkout.

Once there, the chances are there'll be a queue.

They move. Perhaps not as quickly as in the United States or in a more consumer-oriented country than France, but they move.

Until, that is, it comes to the turn of the woman with the cheque book (henceforth referred to as TWWTCB)

You can always spot her because as each of her items passes in front of the bar code reader, she pauses a moment before deciding to pack it.


Is this her first time?

Or is she just winding up those of us stuck behind her knowing we're collectively willing her to hurry up.

TWWTCB has all the time in the world - and more - and is, it seems, completely oblivious to everything and anyone.

There's none of that "chuck-and-dump-them-in" speed approach that might quicken the whole process along.

Instead there's a backlog of goods waiting to be placed - oh-so-slowly and carefully - in the shopping bag or trolley.

When the cashier has finished and all she (or sometimes he) has left to do is wait thumb twiddingly while TWWTCB goes about her business - very slowly.

The queue too waits, silently urging TWWTCB to finish but knowing what's coming next.

The last item packed, TWWTCB then starts rummaging in a bucket-sized bag for her cheque book, and once it has been found dives right back in again for a pen.

Even when the cheque has been written and handed over for completion TWWTCB still has to spend a few moments looking for a piece of identity.

The process is long drawn-out one and perhaps just a teensy bit Luddite in a country in which there has for so many years a more than viable and quicker alternative brandished by the "we'll use whip out the Carte Bleu for just about anything" brigade (me included).

But for one reason or another TWWTCB prefers the comfort of pen and paper - which is entirely her prerogative, aaaarrrrrgh!

Now just before any of you jump all over me, here's another question.

When paying for an item with - yikes - money, how come so many men seem unable to come up with the correct change?

I have a wallet full of coins but will happily and lazily hand over a note unless asked.

Yes it’s me, or rather no it isn’t, it’s the old lady who watches everything being scanned and stacking up her side of the till without putting anything into the trolley or her bag, then she looks for her loyalty card, then her cheque book, finally signs and only then does she start organising her shopping, after having spent 5 minutes putting the cheque book and loyalty card back into her bag.

result… the whole queue gets very annoyed as the whole system stops for her to clear the backlog of shopping before the checkout girl can start scanning your shopping… haven’t we all been there! Thursday morning is the worst when it’s double loyalty points, or friday morning when it’s market day - “pensioner” bees to a honey pot :open_mouth:

Exactly. Not only do you pay for the debit card but most country people are still very wary of the whole card system and are paranoid that they will forget their code. (If you ever want to make quick cash rob an old person, 9 times out of 10 their PIN code will be written on a slip of paper next to their debit card).

Not only that but those who want a cheaper card have very limited amounts they can put through on their card and given the price of groceries these days that can go quickly.

I also think it is very handy that the machine prints it all out and you sign it - at least you are not waiting for the person to fill it out.

In all honesty as far as complaints go behind someone writing a check (cheque whatever) is hardly at the top of my list.

I’ve obviously been here too long… I never use anything but a cheque book.

when you see how much you have to pay for a credit card (another thread and no I don’t pay, mine’s free!) you can see why so many people still use them - they’re free and the old codgers don’t have to remember a code! + you hardly ever have to fill it in - the machine does tha for you and it’s often just as quick as the credit card machine :wink: (when you’ve got your cheque book ready that is!)

Only ever get asked for ID when I’m out of the aveyron.

when in Rome…

We must shop in the same place! BUT more and more the establishments are refusing checks.