Working in a grocery store, and especially on an express lane, you can see a lot of different types of people who come through the store. There are the really selfish kind, who are extremely impatient and act like everything in the world is only happening to them, and every other person ahead of them is an inconvenience, and the really selfless kind who will see someone with a smaller amount of groceries than they have, and let that person go before them.
There are the ones who play by the rules, who won't go through the express lane if they have 13 items, and the ones who could care less about the rules, and come through the express lane even though they have a cartload of 57 items, because the lines for the other checkout lanes are too long.
There are ones who understand that the sign that says 12 items or less, is not so much an absolute rule, as it is a guideline for how much stuff you can fit on the checkout counter, and there are ones who have a whole cartload of giant bulky items, that count how many things they have in their cart, and if it's around twelve, they'll pile them up there even though someone with the IQ of a cantaloupe can see that there is no way all that stuff will fit there.
This post was inspired by two people who came through my line right in a row tonight. The first was a woman I saw waiting in a long line in a regular checkout lane. She had a small, half-sized cart that was not nearly full. I had no customers at the moment and I called out to her and told her I could check her out at my counter. She looked at me hesitantly and looked up at the sign that said 12 items or less. "But I have at least 20 cups of yogurt!" I just laughed and told her that as long as I had room on my counter for her groceries she could come through with however much she had. So she came over and put her stuff on the counter and I checked her out with no problem.
The woman directly behind her was a different story. She may not have had more than 12 items, but she had many cases of pop, and when my counter can't hold too much more than a twenty four pack of bottled water, you can see why this might be a problem. She piled everything onto my counter except for one case and helpfully explained that I could scan the Cherry Cola twice since she had two of them. Wow. I mean, she was so thoughtful! She saved me so much trouble by only piling up my counter with eleven items. That twelfth one would have just been WAY too much. Anyway, sarcasm aside, I checked her out, and sent her on her way with a smile, but inside I commented to myself about her intelligence level. I guess I'm just a terrible person. Shame on me. :p