Thursday, 12 April 2012
The sexual issues of choosing a supermarket cashier
In my previous life before I was working from home I was a scientist and one of the topics I studied was sexual selection – why animals or humans choose a particular mate. As a result I often see the world through the eyes of a nosy scientist, otherwise known as being a nosy git.
The act of paying for your food at a supermarket is an interesting interaction to observe. Especially for male shoppers as the majority of supermarket cashiers are female. It breaks down like this:
It’s no secret that men are drawn to attractive women so a foxy cashier will always have more men in her queue in proportion to less appealing female cashiers around her. If faced with a choice of two roughly equal queues the vast majority of men would pick the foxy cashier.
If this sounds pathetic to women it’s worth bearing in mind a study where men had to press a button a number of times just to keep pictures of attractive women on a computer screen. They button-pressed so quickly they outperformed cocaine-addicted rats who were having to button-press for their cocaine fix. In a supermarket men can talk to the babe as well – and, even better – she is obliged to talk back.
The other main factor in choosing on the basis of attractiveness is how much help they get with the packing. A babe is much less likely to give a man extra help, unless she does actually fancy him. A more mumsie or mature cashier may sort the items and help with packing as they may not trust the male shopper to do this himself. This is very different from a bored offer to pack which involves shoving random items into carrier bags.
These rules are no secret to the cashiers and a man can earn distain from the babe and evil looks from her female colleagues if he chooses the babe’s checkout when a less enticing cashier has a much shorter queue. Just try doing this when this conveyor is empty for extra effect. It is even better when you have loads of kiddies food and perhaps some female sanitary products in your trolley.
Yes, I admit it. I am talking from experience, but I do have an excuse and I’d like to explain myself to cashiers across the land – or in my local area anyway.
There is another factor involved and it’s mathematical. If the load in my trolley exceeds the space on the empty conveyor I will always choose a cashier who is serving a customer over one with an empty conveyor. This gives me time to get my shopping loaded before the cashier starts to process it so I can pack my shopping at leisure and not have to run from one end to the other like a blue-arsed fly.
It has nothing to do with the attractiveness of the cashier. Well, not usually. Honest!