Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Grocery Store Etiquette 101

Welcome to Grocery Store Etiquette 101. Today we're going to learn about how to properly behave while food shopping.

One of the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom is the fact that I can food shop during weekdays. I'm one of those rare people who enjoy food shopping. Walking down the aisles whilst sipping my morning java - it's a nice, calm time for me.

It's calm and relaxing unless I make the mistake and go food shopping after 5pm on a weeknight or, heaven forbid, on a weekend. If you're not properly attired in full battle gear you're in for a nasty surprise. The gloves come off during weekend food shopping. It's not the tranquil place that I frequent but a war zone where it's each person for herself!

Normally intelligent people can walk into a food store on a Saturday morning and as soon as they put their hands on the cart they turn into total idiots who have the IQ of a box of Wheetabix! Honestly! The food store is the Bermuda Triangle of common sense!

During these, thankfully rare and trying, times of weekend food shopping I have come to realize that there are certain kinds of food shoppers that tick me off. Personally, I think I'm a respectful shopper. I get my food without getting in other people's way and I usually have a smile on my face (in a friendly way, not the creepy 'perma grin') and a kind word to all.

Here's a list of some of the types of shoppers that get on my last frayed nerve.

  1. Aisle Blocker -- "Let me park my cart here and look at the other side of the aisle. Those other people will be more than happy to wait for me!" I have the biggest issue with these people. They keep their cart on one side of the aisle while blocking the other side with their own fine selves. They need to treat a food store aisle like a road. Two single lanes going opposite directions. If you're going to pull over - get right over and stay with your cart. I'm surprised there haven't been incidents of 'shopping aisle rage' reported more frequently.
  2. The Friend Finder -- "Oh my GOSH! I can't believe we're food shopping at the same time! What are the odds?! How are the kids? How's Ted? Who does your hair? ...." These people are so overjoyed that they see a friend in the food store that they both proceed to giggle and chit chat right in the middle of the aisle. For the love of all that is good and holy, get out of my way! As a polite Canadian 'sorry, excuse me' is my first method of defense to get through The Friends. After that I resort to snotty remarks made under my breath and will then gripe to Brad when I get home. It's how it's done here in Canada. I don't make the rules. Anyway, in our local store these Friend Finders are either those super bubbly uber moms or, more often than not, university and college students who are stocking up on their supply of Ramen noodles and Diet Coke. Socialize at the bar people, not the food store. Move it!
  3. Overly Detailed Shopper -- "I'd like 5 slices of Black Forest Ham 1/10" thick, 3 slices of Swiss cheese, 5/8lb of summer sausage put in three separate but equally distributed bags ....". You know this kind of shopper. The woman who stands at the deli counter asking to inspect each and every piece of ham that is sliced to ensure that each of her slices are the same thickness. If the thickness varies even slightly her Granny panties will indeed knot up! And this is a beef coming from an anal person like myself! I love order but there's a time and place and the deli counter is not that place. Just let the girl cut your cold cuts and move on, sister! I've got grapes that have turned into raisins I've been waiting so long!
  4. The Slow Shopper -- "I'm in no hurry. I'm going to walk slow and take in the wonder that is the food store." I realize that sometimes I like to meander through the aisles and look at things (especially in the Super Centres' clothing and house wares aisles) but when I'm ready to food shop I'm on a mission! I don't peruse the pasta (nothing's changed in pasta for how many decades?). I don't scrutinize squash or thoroughly examine the evaporated milk. Some things you can just pick up and walk on, my friend!
  5. Cell Phone Addict -- "Hi Jill! Can you believe what happened on 'Jersey Shore' last night?!? I know!! Tell me all your favourite parts!" The Cell Phone Addict is closely related to the Slow Shopper. This is the kind of person who answers their cell and proceeds to ramble down the aisles not caring who is behind them. Can the call wait 15 minutes? Is 'The Situation's antics that important at this particular time in the day? Probably not ... ever.
  6. Old Mother Hubbard and her gang -- "Jimmy don't take the can on the bottom of the stack!" "Abby stop running down the aisle!" "No you can NOT have a cookie!!" Food shopping with kids is a whole other ball of wax. I have three kids and I always prided myself on the fact that I could take three young kids food shopping, get my groceries and out the automatic doors before a meltdown (well, most of the time anyway). It's all about the planning! If at all possible food shop ALONE! If you can't and have to bring your offspring make sure to bring snacks and cheap toys (because you know they'll get lost) to keep them busy. It's not rocket science! Don't have your kids running down the aisle playing tag or squishing the bakery items! C'mon!
  7. Shadow Guy -- "Oh good. I'm next in line!!" When I'm at the cashier with my order and I'm watching him/her ring it through I always have my cart out in front of me so the bagger can have access. What I don't like is when the next person in line doesn't give me the personal space that I require. Does standing right beside me with our arms almost touching make the cashier go faster? No! So back up off me! I need to enter my PIN for my debit card and I don't want his eyes (or any other part of him) near me when I do it.
  8. The Crappy Bagger -- As a self-proclaimed anal person I realize that it is pure gold when you can find a food bagger who does his/her job well. I'm not talking about the guy who throws whatever the cashier hands him into a bag. I'm talking about the pros who know that I don't want a can of spaghetti sauce thrown on my bananas. That I don't want my ice cream beside my roasted chicken from the deli. At the food store I frequent I've come to distinguish the awesome baggers from those who just don't have their heart in it. I'd rather bag my own than let them touch my zucchini! In all honestly I often do start to bag my own or use Self Check out which can be kinda fun.
  9. Chronic Plastic Bag User -- C'mon people! We're all trying to live greener, aren't we? I have 5 bins and oodles of cloth bags that I bring to food shop. Do I occasionally arrive at the food store only to find that Brad has removed my bins and not replaced them (pet peeve)? Yes, but very rarely. I'm talking about the people who buy 10+ bags regularly. Money's just flying out of their pockets to buy the bags. Bring a bin and save a tree.

This blathering is not meant to get you down about food shopping during rush hour. No! There is a way to create harmony during rush hour food shopping. It can be done! We just need to work together so that no one gets beaten down with a can of Alphagetti for blocking an aisle. We're not animals, people! Here are some tips:

  • Get in, get out -- Make a list BEFORE you go food shopping. Personally, I keep a great app on my iPhone aptly (pun intended) named Groceries. I always have it with me to update. I embrace my inner geek freely and openly.
  • Share the road -- Don't be an aisle hog. We all have the same goal! Let me pass!
  • Respect -- it goes a long way. If we all respect each other no one has to get hurt during our weekly shopping trip.

So, what are your biggest pet peeves while food shopping? Any horror stories?


Victoria said...

You forgot the people who use the self-check and have a HUGE cart full of stuff, most of which is produce they don't know the codes for and can't find on that little sticker to save their life ;-)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

True, Victoria. True! If people aren't used to self check out experimenting with it at a peak time or with obscure produce is definitely not the time.

Janssen said...

Ah yes, grocery shopping is not a stress-free activity. I just got back from my own weekly three-store circuit.

Indie.Tea said...

Yes, I know EXACTLY what you mean. The aisle blockers and the obsessive people - or the ones that want to sample everything, every cheese in the deli, blah blah - are the WORST.

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

LOLOL! Great post! I think you covered all the big ones. I'll add another two:

The person who doesn't even open her purse to pay until the total is up on the screen. Then she has to dig around in her hand bag for her wallet and coupons. Then she has to pay with exact change, including counting out the 94 cents instead of just giving the dollar bill.

Also, the person who chats with the cashier about the family, kids, job, aches, pains, bowel movement, whatever... when I'm next in line. ACK!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Indie.Tea -- I'm glad I'm not the only one who has these pet peeves lol.

Mags -- Good additions to the list! It made me remember another peeve of mine. When the cashier totally ignores you but chats up the bagger about their awesome date last night, favourite TV show etc etc. I hate it when I'm ignored! I remember this happening twice within the last couple of months. She who holds the wallet should not be ignored!

cathy905 said...

I agree with everything on your list, but have another one to add... the person who can't count and goes to the express checkout line with more than 8 items. If there was a line for 50 or fewer items, I could see it, but really, who can't count to 8?

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Cathy905 -- I agree about the 'quick' checkout line. Not so quick when someone unloads a week's worth of groceries. You'd think that the cashier would say something but I've never seen it.
How about the person who opens a bag of chips and proceeds to eat them while they shop. Isn't that considered stealing? Hmmm.

Janet said...

What a great post. You had me laughing after the first line. I`m off to email this link to my son who is a cashier at Sobey`s. I wonder what his comments will

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Janet -- I'm glad you liked the post. The thoughts were just a-flowin' that day! I'd love to hear what your son says ... he must have loads of stories and gripes about shoppers!

Sandi said...

Oh Laurie...So funny and oh so true! Number 1 and 7 really tick me off too! As well as the cashier ignoring you...I always make sure to wish them a good day when I am leaving :)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks, Sandi. I re-read this post again and it still made me giggle. Although there were still quite a few people in the food store on Tuesday night who obviously didn't read this post. A lot of people wandering about and blocking aisles! Gah! ;)

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