They're everywhere! Everywhere I tells ya!
Jobsworths, that's who!
Now I'm happy enough with rules in general, they do keep things rubbing along well enough, but when people just accept them at face value without attempting to understand the purpose of said rule...then I start to go a bit shouty-crackers.
Let me illustrate.
The other day, a friend and I were in Marks and Sparks. We each purchased a few items and proceeded to the express tills, it being lunch-break and all.
As it turned out, a till became free for my friend first and off he went. As he was getting his items scanned, he suggested I add my items to his and have all of them processed in one transaction. So I stepped up to the counter and added my few bits and the cashier started to scan them. He then turned to my friend and I and said quite sternly "I should point out that this till is for five items or less, but I'll let it go this time."
Now, fair enough, he had us bang to rights, but....
Let's do some maths.
I had four items and my friend had four. Four plus four equals eight. There were two of us. Eight divided by two equals four. So it would seem that we each had less than the stipulated five items.
My friend paid by credit card, a transaction which took about half a minute. Had I been paying for my own purchases separately, I too would have paid by card, adding another half minute to the proceedings.
Also, if credit card companies charge per transaction, by combining our purchases, we had just saved the shop the cost of a transaction.
Now, I know perfectly well why they have an item limit on the express checkouts: to stop people rocking up with great big trolley loads of stuff and gumming up the well-oiled machinery of commerce.
But, by my calculations, we had actually made things more efficient and cheaper for the shop.
Too much analysis?