Greg Duncan


The odds are stacked against you at checkout

Go ahead and call me an impatient shopper. I don’t mind.

I do not expect to always get in and out of a store quickly, but increasingly I find myself waiting in line at local grocery stores and pharmacy checkouts as people buy lottery tickets.

It is one thing to have this happen at our local dépanneurs whose income may be hinged in large part on lottery sales, and I’ve grown accustomed to it. What I am now taking issue with is that our larger grocery stores and pharmacies often give priority to ticket buyers.

For example, have you ever arrived in line to witness a cashier leave the register only to wander over to a lottery terminal and proceed to hand-feed and check the results of an entire booklet of tickets for a customer?

Worse yet is when the customer then decides to choose and purchase subsequent numbers and tickets. Don’t get me started about the ones that ponder endlessly over the scratch tickets displayed under plastic. Two large grocers and at least one pharmacy in Ile Perrot do provide for what appears to be an intention to avoid congestion with a separate counter but, and here’s a hint for the owners: Do not direct or allow your cashiers to leave the express checkout station for the lottery terminal. You’ve taken the express out of the express!

I say a checkout lane designated for 8 to 12 items or less should expedite and not constrain and delay customers. At some stores I’ve also become expectant of an inevitable question too. Un 6/49 pour ce soir? Avec Extra?

According to 2009 Quebec research results posted at the Loto‑Québec website, the sale of lottery tickets accounted for 65 per cent of all gambling activities in this province. Is it any wonder? The same study states that Quebecers spend $483 per year on games of “skill and chance” on average. The website also states that every year more than 450 million transactions are processed on Loto-Québec game terminals. It’s no wonder then that our grocery stores are on the bandwagon. Are there higher profit margins on lottery tickets than on food items maybe?

I do buy an occasional ticket like most, but am acutely aware that the odds of winning are stacked against me. What I don’t like is that the odds of being delayed at a checkout these days are much higher. Meanwhile, our provincial lottery agency is promoting more lottery sales and encouraging more retail locations while according to their own records there are already 8,700 in place.

Have our local stores become casinos? You bet.


  1. “What I am now taking issue with is that our larger grocery stores and pharmacies often give priority to ticket buyers.”

    That’s the point where your logic failed.
    They’re not given priority because they’re ticket buyers.
    They’re given priority because they were in the line before you.

  2. I COULD NOT AGREE MORE WITH YOU!!! Sometimes, I have just 1 or 2 articles, and instead of passing through the Express cash, I go to ordinary cash because, with time, I noticed IT WAS FASTER!! I don’t mind them selling tickets, but they should have a cashier JUST FOR THAT! So annoying when you’re In a hurry, think you’re gonna be in and out in no time with your bread, but have to wait for tickets…and bottles, and this and that!

  3. I’ve been saying that for ages about making lottery terminals just like any other ATM machine or any of the other self-serve machines they have out there. They do have check-it-yourself loto ticket scanners in depanneurs and super markets which are incredibly easy to use, but when I’m at my local depanneur 7 jours i still see people standing in line to check mutitudes of tickets like no one else exists when the have the scanner right beside them. I’ve lso gotten so fed up because there are those who go in there with 2 weeks of Banko, quotidien, 6/49 and so on tickets and the idiot person behind the counter doesn’t seem to have the brains to tell the customer that he can simply check his or her own tickets on the scanner right beside them while he serves other people.

    I’ve even seen customers so ignorant that they buy 2 or 3 scratch tickets and proceed scratching them one square at a time for excitment purposes right there at the cash instead of either at home or just moving the hell over while 6 other customers who are waiting in line can be served. Well I am one of those who will ask them if they could move out of the way and do that somewhere else while the rest of us who have other things to attend to in our lives and would like to pay for or stuff and leave. Large super markets and phamacies should have lotto booths, especially because lotto quebec thinks up a new way every day to separate us from our money, which of course means we wait longer. We were told that computers would make things quicker… that was the biggest line of BS ever told. When banks put in ATM’s in their entryways now you have lineups in two places when you go banking… Medical experts say there are more stress related illnesses today than ever before… Can it be that PROGRESS is the biggest killer?!

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