Is Checkout Line Worse Than I-66?

DC has the nation's slowest checkout lines

By Mike Tunison
|  Wednesday, Sep 2, 2009  |  Updated 3:04 PM EDT
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Is Checkout Line Worse Than I-66?

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Eight minutes and 23 seconds seems even longer when you're in line in one of D.C.'s cramped grocery stores.

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The D.C. area already has a well-earned reputation as one of the worst in the nation for delays on the roadways, but the snarls apparently extend to the grocery aisles as well.

The region has the longest average wait in grocery checkout lines in the nation, according to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.

The average wait time in a grocery line in D.C. is eight minutes and 23 seconds, which leads all 25 markets surveyed -- except Philadelphia's seven minutes and 46 seconds average -- by a wide margin.

The quickest average line is in St. Louis, where shoppers log an average 59 seconds in line. Either their stores are run with laser-like precision, are extremely overstaffed or people in the Midwest only buy one item at a time at the supermarket.

Naturally, we suspect this is actually an insidious conspiracy perpetrated by Washingtonian, in concert with Giant and Safeway, to give the magazine more exposure to customers. That or D.C. area shoppers need to stop talking the cashier's head off.

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