How important are cigarettes to supermarkets?

If you are a smoker you may be happy with the situation but as a non smoker I am amazed how often I have been dropped in the supermarket queue as they rush to serve someone for cigarettes. My most recent experience was in my local Woolworths. As usual there was no-one serving at the fast lane (even though it showed open).

There was someone at the help desk waiting for smokes. The only store person was working at the self serve (which was empty because so many people like myself refuse to use it). She spotted the guy waiting for smokes and rushed over to serve him. He was first so that was fair but then on finishing walked past me (even though I called out to her) and went back to the self serve.

I find not getting served at the fast lane in Woolworths a common problem now and shop there less and less. Frustrated I walked out leaving my groceries to spill onto the floor. I had 6 items whereas he bought one packet of cigarettes. Do they make so much profit on fags that it overrides someone who actually entered their store and shopped? Apparently so.

Instead of increasing the price of cigarettes to stop people smoking why not decrease the profit that can be made on their sale. Lets try 10 cents per packet where the supermarket makes so little that they loathe to to sell them and return their attention to people who have actually entered the store and done their shopping. As well lets make a new rule that purchasing cigarettes require lining up with every other shopper that has to queue for their groceries. Even better start going to the help desk where they serve cigarettes and request a kilo of sausages and see how quick they rush to serve you in future.

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