You're in the checkout line at the grocery store. You need to put your stuff on the belt. How do you position the little divider stick?

This is probably one of those things you just kind of started doing without much thought as to why or how. On just about every checkout lane ever, right by the belt, there are the little plastic divider sticks that you use to separate your haul on the belt from that of the person in front of you. God forbid the checker think it was you buying the adult diapers.

It's this thing:


The Controversy

My hometown meteorologist (a great guy, for the record) started a viral debate recently about how to place the thing on the belt. He argues that you should put the divider vertically so it will trip the sensor. Not horizontally, as a "privacy fence".

According to Reddit, there is actually a light sensor at the end of the belt and when something like the divider breaks the light beam, it stops the belt from moving.


Now I loved working with Ryan back in the day, but on this topic, I definitely dissent. I'm on Team Sideways. The divider should lay horizontal, that's why it's made to fit the width of the belt. But I'm a self-checkout girlie 96% of the time so my opinion is borderline irrelevant here.

What The Supermarkets Say

Ryan's post has garnered such traction that supermarkets are weighing in on this topic. Australian supermarket Coles said:

Team Members at the checkout will always provide friendly customer service regardless of a customer’s preferred method of placing their divider.

(That doesn't give you permission to swing it around like a lasso, fam.)

Cashiers weighed in too. One cashier mentioned preferring a small diagonal on the divider, so it does block the sensor a bit. Another said they've never seen the vertical divider method in almost 20 years of working at a grocery store. I can get on board with the light diagonal method.

How do you lay the grocery store checkout divider? Let us know in the app chat!

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