From that title, you probably think I’m going to write about rising food prices caused by political instability, exploding fuel prices and catastrophic weather events. Nope, maybe another time, but not today.
Today I’m concentrating on the wrangling for power that goes on within the walls of our local supermarkets and how people use the unlikely vehicle of a supermarket cart to establish their dominance over other shoppers.
Now before you think I’m completely bonkers, I have to tell you that I’ve thought about writing this post MANY times...in fact almost every time I come back from the supermarket, which is quite often. But I didn’t want you to think I was…how to put this?…a crackpot. A surly know-it-all. Or a crazy (shopping) bag lady.
I'll admit I have very strong views about supermarket behavior (and mostly everything). I don’t want to call this an issue of etiquette, because some people think etiquette is only for fancy people and can be dispensed with if you’re just regular folk. THIS is more than etiquette. It’s common sense. It’s obvious. It’s about treating people as we would ourselves like to be treated.
What in the world am I talking about? There is one particular thing that happens in a supermarket which is so wrong, so unnecessary and so insensitive that I can’t hold my tongue anymore.
And, NO, I’m not even thinking about the insanity in the parking lot. My rule for THAT is to park as far away from everyone as possible and to always pull straight through, so you don’t have all the ancillary problems that come with backing out.
So what is so egregious? WELL! I’m talking about that passive-aggressive thing that people do with their supermarket carts in check-out lines.
They put the cart between themselves and you. They stand at the END of the cart, instead of at the handled end, thereby blocking access to the conveyor belt and making it impossible for you to unload your cart fully without having to lob the items onto the front of the belt. It also makes the line twice as long, because their cart is hogging so much space!
Why do they do this? Because they’re thinking, “I’M FIRST! It’s MY turn in line and YOU CAN GO FLIP OFF if you think I’m going to give you an inch.”
They also use their carts as battering rams if they think you’re getting too close. It’s really annoying.
PLUS these are the same people who NEVER bag themselves and just stand idly by while the kid checks them out AND puts all their crappy frozen waffles, Lean Cuisines, squeezable cheese and diet soda in millions of plastic bags.
AND...(it gets better) these are often the folks who hold up the line by writing a check…letter by letter, number by number, until everyone in line is stark raving mad.
The funny thing is, contrary to how I know I must be coming off, I LIKE long lines. I like to read junky magazines and I like to have lots of time to unpack my cart in an orderly fashion. Milk and bulky things in the front…vegetables and bread type stuff at the end. (I know there are shows on fringe cable networks about people like me.) But, really, all of this is not me being impatient on supermarket lines. It’s me being impatient with selfish nitwits!
While I’m on the subject, I have one more supermarket mantra. It goes without saying that I bring my own bags, but I NEVER go on the lines with the clueless 15 year old baggers. I actually tell them to go take a break if they threaten to pack my groceries. One kid was offended and begged me to give him a chance. I let him and he was right, he was awesome! He packed the bag like a geometric puzzle, just like I do! Oh there’s one more thing too. I like REALLY heavy bags. It’s good for the biceps and the fewer I have to carry into the house the better.
So according to my insane world view, what’s the right way to proceed when paying for your groceries? You should push your cart ALL THE WAY THROUGH until your cart is perpendicular to the end of the conveyor belt. If there’s a pesky bagger in the way, tell him or her to go, because they’re in the way and mostly they don’t know how to bag anyway.
Then you quickly bag everything yourself, pay and immediately move your cart out of the way, so you’re not holding up the person behind you. Also put your money away, AWAY from the end of the line. Is that really so hard?
Oh, I do have one more…suggestion. The ONLY excuse for leaving your cart in the middle of a parking lot is when you have children or babies with you. Obviously, you can’t put the kids in the car and leave them, so I give you dispensation to leave your cart wherever is convenient. BUT would it really kill EVERYONE ELSE to walk his or her cart over to the cart station? Is there ANYONE who couldn’t use an extra 40 steps of exercise?!!
Please help me to feel a little less unhinged and leave me a comment about what drives YOU crazy in supermarkets…or anywhere, actually, just so I don’t feel quite so deranged.