Local News Anchor Sparks Fiery Debate Over Grocery Store Checkout Dividers

A local news meteorologist has gone viral after sparking a debate about the dividers used on the conveyor belts at grocery stores.

Ryan Vaughan is the chief meteorologist at Region 8 News in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on the KAIT network which is affiliated with ABC, NBC, and The CW.

He took to his official Facebook page to educate his followers on "how to use the divider"—the steel or plastic rectangle tube which indicates where one person's shopping ends—at a supermarket checkout.

Grocery divider
A local news anchor sparked debate about the etiquette of grocery store checkout dividers. Vera Petrunina/Getty

Vaughan posted two photos showing the divider sitting longways at the end of a group of groceries saying it was "right" and the other photo showed it laying horizontally which he claimed was "wrong."

He captioned the Facebook post: "I'm at the store tonight and noticed some of you don't know how to use the divider. You need to put it long ways to trip the sensor and keep a distance. Some of y'all use it as a privacy fence.."

I’m at the store tonight and noticed some of you don’t know how to use the divider. You need to put it long ways to trip the sensor and keep a distance. Some of y’all use it as a privacy fence. 😆🤣

The post has since gone viral, receiving 19,600 likes and 11,000 comments. While many commenters saw the humor in the post, many people were fired up, causing a fierce debate online.

"I'm gonna need documentation that upholds your claim," commented one fan.

Another added: "Actually no, which is why it fits perfectly sideways not longways."

And a third wrote: "Interesting. As a cashier, the 'wrong' photo doesn't stop the belt... i prefer a small diagonal, doesn't need to be so 'right' pictured... but a little does block the sensor."

Newsweek contacted Vaughan for comment.

The checkout divider debate did not start with Vaughan and has long raged on social media, including who is responsible for placing the divider on the conveyor belt.

One TikToker from the U.K. went viral in 2022 when she asked, "Who's job is to put the divider between the shopping? Mine? Or the person behind me?"

The TikTok user who goes by the handle @specialk770 added: "I needed something to think about lol."

The video, which can be seen here, has been viewed over 100,000 times.

Again, the topic sparked a fierce debate with hundreds of people rushing to comment.

"Either but if I'm in front I do it out of courtesy," commented one person on the video.

But a second disagreed, writing: "Yours. Put the barrier after you're done so the person behind you knows you're finished loading."

And a third had a different opinion: "Behind but I always put it there to be polite ... if someone does it for me I always make a point to say thank you ..., 10 percent I've had people thank me."