I seem to be on a food theme lately so I might as well round it off by talking about manners. I don’t mean table manners, although I have a lot to say about that too, but the actions you could take to be a perfectly charming grocery shopping member of society. You might find that some of this advice comes with a slight sarcastic tone, but it’s given with love and free of charge.
Share The Aisle & Parking Lot
I have given some serious thought to contacting my Congressman and asking him to introduce legislation that would require a cart driving license, or at least yield or right of way signs…….. and maybe a pull over or pedestrian lanes. But until that miracle happens, manners dictate that shoppers acknowledge that they are not the only person in the store and that they acknowledge that fact by carefully operating their cart. If you’ve ever been rammed in the shinbone with one of those things, you get it!
Please keep your carts on your side of the aisle so everyone can conduct their business, and approach the end of the aisles with caution! Many tragic cartcidents (I love making up new terminology!) occur when someone barrels out of an aisle or from the store into the parking lot without looking. And please don’t text and cart! Proper cart operation is important! Because someday the ankle, shinbone, knee or public reciting of an entire repertoire of cuss words you might save, could be my own!
And then there’s carts and parking lots! Keep them behind your vehicles while unloading, please don’t take up the empty parking space next to you. Don’t squeeze your cart between your vehicle and someone else’s and return the carts to the designated area when you have finished with it. I think that covers it…..doesn’t it?
Mind Your Peas & Q’s
The grocery stores that I most frequent have bulk bins. While some of them provide a scoop, others do not. The Scoop is not only there for your convenience, it is a hint NOT to just shove your hands into the bins and grab what you want by the handful. I’m sorry, I’m positive that you are a perfectly hygienic human being….but EWWWWW! If I wanted to get up close and personal with your particular brand of cooties, I would have worn a white dress and attended the ceremony. If a scoop isn’t provided, turn the provided plastic bag inside out and place your hand inside the bag, take what you need and bring the bag up over your hand to contain your bounty. Do the same with fresh produce. Most people wash their produce when they get home, but it becomes less than appealing choosing their own apples after watching someone wipe their nose, then pick up 10 before they settle on the 3 they want.
Respect Personal Space
I have to say this is a biggie for me. Not only do I get the willies when an arm comes out of nowhere to grab a can of beans 3 inches from my face, you might get the honor of experiencing my impromptu horror movie audition. And let me tell you, my girly scream can shatter glass. Imagine each shopper is perfectly situated in the middle of an electrified hula hoop and don’t enter their space! Don’t come from their blind side to get something their cart is blocking. Dig deep and find the patience to wait until they move to get what you need, you could ask politely if they would mind handing it to you. And by finding the patience, I don’t mean continuously emanating aggravated deep dramatic sighs……
Channel Your Inner Kindergartner
You’re in a hurry, you have other things to do and you really don’t want to be there. I get it! But so is nearly everyone else in the store. There are some exceptions, people you genuinely like shopping for their food, but we have a secret hairdo that allows us to recognize each other, so I know you’re not a due paying member.
The Express Lane is expressly for people who have 15 items or less. It says so on that great BIG sign. Make sure that you have the required number of items for the Express Lanes, a quick count will do it. Your fellow shoppers will have nothing but total respect for you if you take your 25 items and move to the next lane and wait in line like the rest of the rule abiding shoppers. Why, you’d be star and I wouldn’t be surprised if a picture of you doing it didn’t go viral on Facebook! You could become famous!
Round ‘Em Up & Head ‘Em Out
I don’t know about you, but I often feel like cattle in a shoot at a busy grocery store. That didn’t have anything to do with the focus of this post, I just thought I’d throw it out there.
Living in small towns has spoiled me, and I don’t get the warm fuzzies when feeling someone’s breath on the back of my neck, it goes back to that personal space thing. So please give each shopper a little space between themselves and you or your cart. Make sure that they can take at least one step back without ending up in the ER.
While you are practicing your personal space skills, you will notice that a successful cart to belt transaction is indicated with the spacer bar. Wait until the spacer bar appears at the end of their grocery selections before you start to unload yours. And if they didn’t use the bar, politely request that they place it within your reach. More than likely it will come whizzing towards you at the speed of light in it’s track, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Time To Pay Up
Again, being from small towns I’m used to total strangers chatting each other up. It’s one of the things I like most about Oklahoma. But, if your friendly chit chat with the check out chick lasts longer than 5 minutes, would you consider sending them a friend request and moving on? Just a thought! You can tell when you have spent more time than necessary when the restless natives behind you start to massively fidget. Being friendly is awesome! But trying to change your status with the check out chick to BFF is pushing it……just a little.
It Boils Down To Two Words
Consideration & Patience…… those are the words. While leading our busy lives we often don’t think about giving each other the gifts of patience and consideration. Sometimes these are qualities that are left to get weak and flabby. Exercise them daily! Actually don’t all manners basically boil down to those two words? Give yourself and your fellow shopper a break and be patient with them. Be patient in the aisle, be patient in lines and especially when a problem occurs at check out. Be patient and considerate, consider it a Random Act of Kindness towards your fellow shopper. If everybody practiced Grocery Store Etiquette who knows what could happen next!
Now I know you really didn’t need me to share these tips with you because you are already doing them. But I wanted to share them so you’d recognize those moments that YOU have to chase and tackle your impatience before it reaches the meltdown goal post. We cannot control the actions of others, but we often notice and compare them to our own. We may not agree with what they consider acceptable public behavior, but we can be polite enough not to respond negatively. Again, sometimes you have to dig deep! We can control our own behavior and practice the manners that our Mamas almost drove themselves insane teaching us, or we spend our entire grocery store trip in a bad mood. Your choice.
What do you think? Did I get them all? Did I forget anything? If you have an etiquette tip to add, leave a comment!