Express Lane Sign

Rumor: Photograph shows a store's express lane sign that illustrates the item limit with 'this many' fingers.

Claim:   Photograph shows a store’s express lane sign that illustrates the item limit with ‘this many’ fingers.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2011]

THIS is the Most Profound Sign ever produced by the advertising industry of America!!!!

New sign at Wal-Mart

Our society is doomed!


Origins:   Most of us have, at one time or another, ended up in a grocery or retail store express lane behind customers who don’t check their item totals or ignore the posted item limits, thereby holding up everyone in line with extended checkout processes

those express lanes are intended to avoid. At those times, one is often tempted to confront such customers and provide remedial lessons in counting.

The sign displayed in the above photograph plays on that frustration with express lane jumpers, providing a graphic and sarcastic illustration of a simple method (i.e., counting on one’s fingers) for determining how many items may be appropriately taken through the line. Alas, however, it’s not a real sign displayed at a Walmart (or any other location) — it’s the third-place finisher in an April 2010 contest challenging readers to create “Instructional Diagrams for People Who Suck at Everyday Life.”

Last updated:   9 March 2015
Since 1994
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