5 Rules of Convenience Store Etiquette (Everyone Breaks)

#2. Do Not Gamble With Your Fellow Shoppers' Time

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

There are only a precious few places on Earth where you can buy scratch-off lottery tickets. They are definitely an acquired taste, but there's no shame in buying them. We all like to unwind from time to time. If you choose to do it by carelessly throwing extra tax money at the government in return for a lightning strike's chance at turning a profit, by all means, have at it. There are probably underfunded schools that are depending on you doing just that.

And with the non-gambling community's approval now secured by way of the above paragraph, let's talk about where you can do your lottery playing. The short answer is "anywhere except while standing in line with increasingly agitated customers waiting behind you." That's also the long answer, in case you're curious. No matter how quickly you've learned to remove that unsettling layer of silver sludge to reveal the prizes (or lack thereof) underneath, it's not fast enough to keep the people behind you in line from flying into a quiet rage when they watch you do it as they wait to pay for the bag of ice that's currently leaving freezer-burn marks on their forearm.

Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Again, all your fault.

You've given your dollar, you've received your ticket; it's time to kick rocks, as the kids who aren't old enough to buy lottery tickets liked to say the last time I cared to pay attention to what the youth of America have to say, which was sometime around 2009, I believe. Whatever the case, the expression fits: If you've paid for your stuff, any stuff, you must get lost. People are trying to carry on with their lives. You're just ruining that by hanging around after you've completed your transaction.

That's especially true if you're hanging around to scratch a lottery ticket, because the implication is that you're going to purchase more lottery tickets should it come to pass that you win. And then what? Do you just stand there endlessly buying and cashing in tickets until your luck runs out like some kind of low-budget game show contestant? You'd better not, because that means multiple transactions, which, in the strictest of terms, amounts to cutting the line. I don't even need to tell you how important it is to not cut people in line. That's practically Ten Commandments-type material, right up there with "don't murder" and "don't drive under the speed limit in the left lane" on the list of offenses that should be punishable by eternal damnation to the unfortunate afterlife of your choosing.

Sure, the cashier should be the one to put a stop to this kind of thing, but misbehaving customers are a team responsibility. Sometimes that cashier is going to be a barely out of high school kid who doesn't know any better than to obey the terrifying older person in front of them demanding multiple transactions to see their big money scheme through to either fruition or failure (almost definitely failure). If that happens, you, the public, must intervene. Take a stand against those who waste our time in line.

Oh, and stop writing checks. Everyone. Right now. Hey, speaking of that ...

#1. Do Learn Your Way Around the Credit Card Machine


Listen, it's 2013, you don't have to hand your credit or debit card to the cashier anymore. You don't have to hand it to anyone. You barely have to carry those things at all these days. You can just wave your phone at stuff you want to pay for. Checks and cash are for people who can't adapt to change, and I mean "change" in the "try new things" way, not in the "worst possible way to be paid a large sum of money" way. Obviously those people can adapt to having coins in their pocket -- they probably even enjoy it, which is terrifying when you consider how many hands the average coin comes into contact with before it reaches you.

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Pictured: The common cold.

Normal people don't enjoy change, though, and I mean "change" in the ... never mind. You get it. Logical people dislike coins, so they use credit or debit cards. If you're going to be one of these "forward thinking" types who eschew apocalyptic concerns for the relative ease of paying for stuff by swiping a card, however, you're also responsible for keeping up-to-date on how to properly execute the hardware half of a bank card transaction. It used to be enough to just hand your card to the cashier, at which point he would swipe the card through a machine he operated or, depending on your age or the Third Worldness of the country you live in, run it under one of those huge plastic contraptions that use carbon paper and are a fairly decent indicator that you're somewhere you should not be whipping out your credit card.

We've moved on from that, though. And a lot of you people don't seem to realize it. Just as self-checkout lanes at grocery stores and self-service kiosks at the post office continue to baffle countless shoppers each day, so too do the intricacies of using a credit card machine.

It should be simple. In fact, it is simple. You just swipe your card, enter a pin number if you still haven't realized you can simply hit "credit" to bypass that, and then sign your name. Sometimes you don't even need to do that if the purchase is small enough. You can just grab your stuff and go.

So why do we constantly find ourselves sighing passive-aggressively at that one idiot who somehow manages to make swiping a credit card seem like a Mensa quiz? It happens all the time, usually in steps:

1. The customers realize that they haven't even removed their card from their wallet or purse. This is an early warning sign that trouble is afoot.

2. They try to hand the card to the cashier. That card reader could not possibly be more prominently placed in front of them, but they're going to give it a try. It's instinct.

This picture might as well be the 1970s.

3. They will express momentary surprise over this machine's existence. It's the same as saying "ouch" when you bump your foot on something without really hurting it. You expected it was going to hurt, and your body naturally expressed that. Except in this case, you were apparently expecting to see a flux capacitor or something instead of the same credit card machine we've all been using forever now.

4. They will swipe the card with the magnetic strip facing the wrong way, but only after thinking about it for 34 seconds.

5. They will enter the wrong pin or wrong zip code, because at this point the pressure of having to adapt to our ever-changing world has broken them, even if just temporarily.

If this sounds like you, I don't know, maybe see if your local convenience store will let you log some training hours on their credit card machine when business is slow. Maybe you should go make hundreds of $1 purchases to get your technique down. Again, I don't know, I just want you to learn how to swipe a credit card. And if you're holding up the line at a convenience store because that's something you haven't bothered to learn yet, everyone else wants you to figure it out, too. Right there on the spot, preferably.

Learn to properly use the credit card machine at a convenience store and you'll quickly learn how to make temporary friends out of the people in line behind you. But mess it up and you might as well be the dumbest person in the building. The choice is yours.

Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

For some convenient knowledge, visit Cracked's Food for Thought, where you can grab these fresh bites of funny: When Lobster Was Spam: 5 Gourmet Foods That Used to be Cheap, 4 Foods Renamed So That You Might Actually Eat Them, and 5 Awful Life Lessons Learned During a Spicy Food Challenge.

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