First of all, you have the fact that nobody shows any basic human courtesy to each other. I almost never see someone with a ton of items let ahead the person with one item. But of course when I let the person with one item go ahead of me, they invariably do something fucked up like ask for a pack of cigarettes (which always takes forever in US grocery stores) or pay with food stamps or some shit. (aside : why is it always such a clusterfuck to pay with food stamps in some groceries? they must have done it a million times, but the checker always acts like someone handed them monopoly money, and the manager has to get called, and forms are filled out, wtf). Of course the people who are paying with coupons and civil war scrip never warn the person lining up behind them that maybe they should pick a different line.
But when the lines get long you really start to see people's souls.
There's the people who stand around and chat right in the middle of the lines. I watch people over and over asking "are you in line? oh, no? okay". Hmm, maybe you should get the fuck out of the line area to have your chit chat!
Then there's the people who can't seem to run a line in a reasonable direction and wind up blocking all the aisles or running it into another line. Invariably it takes a manager to come over and tell people to "please line up over here" since god knows they aren't going to sort themselves out.
Then you get the people who start stamping around and huffing and quickly looking from one side to another like this is the greatest injustice since slavery. You can just see wheels spinning in their heads about how "ridiculous this is" and so on.
There are the people who think that being really pushy in the back of the line is going to speed things up. We're eight people away from the register and they keep jamming their cart into my feet because the person three ahead of us moved. I get out of line to grab a magazine (leaving my cart) and they push into the gap where my body was. Whoah, slow down dick-face, we're still twenty feet from the register, you can chill a little now.
On the flip side then is the people who are absurdly slow about getting their checkout done with. (and of course to double-down on dickishness, it's often the same people who were impatient and pushy when they were way back in line (*)).
There are two general classes of people who fail to check out quickly :
1. The epically incompetent. These people pay with a check, either because they are ancient geezers (excusable) or because they think cards are somehow inferior or checks are more convenient (inexecusable). They might go digging around in their purse for half an hour trying to find exact change, or somehow still don't know they can scan their card before the checker is done.
2. The intentionally slow. These people think everyone needs to chill and slow down; what's the rush? They might chat with the checker a bit. They think everyone else is rotten for being in such a hurry. OMG you epic douchebag; it's fine if you want to live a slow, relaxed, life, but it's not okay to impose that on everyone behind you in line. You probably drive slowly too and think that everyone behind you is in the wrong for wanting to go faster. You probably have a "keep your laws off my body" bumper sticker, and fail to see that your own behavior is the same kind of selfish forcing of your values on others.
(* = the double-dick seems to be the norm for airplane passengers; who are reliably annoying and pushy and do a lot of huffing when they are way back in line, but when they actually get up to the TSA guy they still have their shoes on, don't have their ID in hand, are drinking a gallon of liquid, and act like it's some big surprise. Same thing with the overhead bin stowage of course).