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The Detroit Free Press has a story this morning saying that a number of supermarkets "are relaxing rules governing what had been that dictatorial 'X items or less' rule.. They are adding the word 'about' to the signs ... Two big chains, Kroger and Food Lion, say they now have express lanes that now say  'about 15 items' and  'about 12 items,' respectively in several hundred stores collectively."

The story says that "supermarkets aim to increase how much consumers buy per visit, so capping how many items shoppers can put in their baskets or carts means those who want an in-and-out trip to the supermarket might curtail what they buy to be eligible to use an express checkout lane." Plus, adding the modifier is seen as giving consumers some measure of control, which is a positive thing,
KC's View:
I am a little surprised by this story since it long has been my perception that customers on the express lane generally don't know how to count, or don't give a damn about the limit on items. (In the same way that they park Range Rovers in the parking spaces reserved for people with fuel efficient vehicles. This is why the fabric of society is breaking down. No respect for rules. Don't get me started...)

As for supermarkets adding modifiers, I'd be a lot more impressed if they actually used correct grammar. I was always taught that in this case, it should be "XX items or fewer," not "XX items or less." ("Fewer" is to be used when you are referring to countable things. Could we please get this right, people?