Chivalry, female independence, and checkout girls

With the exception of lunches at the office, I do all of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. I generally shop their once a week and buy exactly 1 week's worth of groceries. I have this perfect system where in I will only ever grab a hand basket and once I've filled the basket I know I've got enough. Unfortunately, the one basket being filled so full turns out to be pretty heavy. Additionally, the checkout lines at the Trader Joe's I go to don't have the little conveyer belts or really any sort of table top to place your goods before the checker begins to rung you up. Instead there is a cart path behind the register and I tiny hook off the side that allows you to hang a hand basket. So here is my question, what is the most appropriate way to facilitate getting my hand basket on the hook when I'm dealing with a female checker? To most of you (who am I kidding, to all of you), this is probably a stupid question. It's probably something that only I, being the over-analytical guy that I am, would even worry about. The truth is, that I don't really "worry about it", but it is something I ponder every time I walk into Trader Joe's (which is at least once a week). Anyways, the way I see it I really only have three choices of how to handle the situation:

Let her deal with it: I could just set my basket down in the queue of other baskets and carts and let her deal with hit, but then that wouldn't be very chivalrous of me. I mean as men, aren't we supposed to open doors, carry heavy things, and open pickle jars for women? Wouldn't letting her do it herself be breaking my responsibilities as a man? (yes, that was supposed to be read semi-sarcastically)

Awkwardly help her take the basket: I could also just do the awkward "who's got it" dance. You know, the move where she grabs for the basket so she can put it on the hook, but you decide you're going to do it, but she is already holding it, and you still refuse to let go yourself? Besides being awkward, isn't that the equivalent of me saying "excuse me fragile girl, let me get that for you so you don't hurt yourself"?

Throw the basket on the hook before she's ready: Really, the only other option I have is to invade her space and place the basket on the hook long before she's ready to start ringing me up. The checkout stands are designed so that the basket can hang inside the stand. For me to just walk into her space to hang my basket would be sort of obtrusive. It would also probably come off a bit pushy, like I was in a hurry or something.

So the way I see it, there is no perfect way to handle the checkout process at this Trader Joe's. Maybe I should just start using a shopping cart. Or maybe only get in checkout lines where a guy is working the register.

posted by Christopher Schnese