Friday, January 13, 2017

We Are In This Together

We all must make that dreaded trip to the grocery store/supermarket at some point or another.  I do declare that there are times, I would rather just make a meal out of what is already in the refrigerator/freezer or pantry; however strange of a concoction it may be.  Honey Nut Bunches of O's with some canned pineapple? Melt some shredded cheese over Pillsbury pie crust?  Something from within me will not let that happen.  I think I hear my Grandmother's voice in my head telling me that I must do the right thing and put together an elegant, even if it is a rather simple meal. As if that is not enough, her words of being courteous and polite while out at the grocery store also come in loud and clear.  I have been accused of being the forever optimist.  And in thinking on that for a moment, what is so bad about that?  Make what you have to do more of a pleasant experience, instead of joining in with all of the frowny faces, plus it saves a lot of aggravation.  Who isn't for that?  (Plenty of people, just look around you.)  

There should be a pamphlet given out to customers who go through the doors of the store.  How many of you have had the pleasure of dealing with some of these people even before you get in the store? Just let me give you some examples.  You find a great parking space, yet some ya-hoo left a grocery cart smack dab in the middle. They were too lazy to walk 20 more feet to the cart drop off stand. (So skip my idea of handing out pamphlets on etiquette.  Do you really believe they would take the time to read them?) You now have a choice to stop and park your car in order to get out to move the cart, all the while worrying that someone will hit the tail end of your car or you drive on to look for another spot. I always choose the latter and am never disappointed that once I find another spot, someone will come barreling through at breakneck speed to zoom off in front of me to grab that spot. Well, okay then. They must be more stressed than I am so just let them go for it.  I will get more steps in for my FitBit if I move on. It saves my sanity to just put on my walking shoes and park toward the back. Mind you, these are the same people who would run over the minimum wage teenager trying to bring in to the store 50 or so carts at one time with a rope. There is no regard to being nice.  

Let's say, as most of us finally do, that you made it in to the store. Here is a whole new set of etiquette rules that I know you have witnessed not being followed.  Really, instead of the horrible empty cart that has used tissues and trash in it, just take a cart and it is okay to be a germophobic and wipe the handle down with a sanitizer.  Many stores  actually have a roll of these at their doors.

Ladies, when you place your handbag in the front compartment, be sure that the handle is on your wrist and that it is zipped.  You are asking for a would-be thief to grab it and run if you turn your back on it.  Once you walk in, have your list ready to rock and roll. Plenty of people probably think that I am texting or reading my IPhone while shopping, however, this is where my list is.  I am lucky enough to have the Amazon Echo where I simply say to 'Alexa' of what to add to my list, which then goes straight to my phone.  I am well aware of my memory and I know that I want as few trips to the grocery as possible, so I swear by this list.  In fairness, I do not stop and block places where people are shopping as I am reading off my phone list, even if it means backtracking at times to pick up something I forgot.  When I hand write my list, I tend to put in the order of where they are at the grocery.  I do not have that luxury with Amazon Alexa.  So it is scrolling up and down to check out what I missed and deleting the items off.

Now for the etiquette part.  As I make my way through the store and a freebie is offered to test taste as a marketing strategy, the lines are like people have not eaten in days.  Come on, really? These taste testers don't seem to want to take their toothpick sample and move on.  Oh no!  They think that the person who gave it to them wants to hear their "ohh's and ahh's."  That person is just hired to put the samples out and to make sure that some one does not come up and grab handfuls or that a child does not touch each and every one.  Take one.  Move on.  Throw away your trash.  Period. End of it.  Really not that difficult.

You are shopping and all of a sudden at the intersection between the canned goods and the baking items, why do people not treat this intersection (and others) as a four way stop or at least a four way slow down?  Most come breezing through as if they were the only ones in the store.  When this really concerns me is when there is a child on board their cart.  We all know that children are unpredictable.  If not belted in the front of the cart, they will pop out at any given time, whether the cart is moving or not.  Now, I ask, how would you feel if you barreled head first into a cart with a child?  Of course, it would be your fault.  So just slow down and stop, look and listen.  There is no race and champagne for the winner.  The winner will be the one that caused no injuries.

Next, I have always come up against two people who know each other and each are going in opposite directions.  They stop side by side and carry on a conversation, even if they are neighbors and see each other daily.  Totally oblivious to those trying to get around them or to get to an item that they are blocking.  A few "Pardon me's" usually does the trick.  If you are lucky, they will move along with a smile, if not, just take their grimace and be thankful that they moved enough for you to get by.  

There are plenty more examples of what can happen while traveling the aisles of the grocery.  For now, I would like to move on to the checkout area, where any grocery worker and shopper knows could be described at times as a war zone when people aren't considerate.  We need to remember that we are all in this together. Rule one here is ONLY use the express lane when your items match the stated number of items (usually fifteen or less).  This does not mean fifteen bottles of soda and then fifteen other various items.  Rule two is to have your payment ready.  Have your cash, wallet, debit card, or oh Lawdy above, your check book ready and in hand.  You will have to pay.  It is not a novelty concept, yet so totally amazing to me that when the cashier is finished scanning, she states the amount and the customer stares at her and then looks at the display of the amount.  Finally, reaching in a deep pocket handbag to find her method of payment.  It still blows my mind that there are people who write checks.  This could even be made easier if they had the check made out to the store, with the date and then all they would have to do is put the amount and sign it.  Oh NO! First of all, most of the check writers are little blue haired ladies who do not know how a debit card works.  Then, to make matters  a little more taxing, they write in perfect cursive penmanship, making each loop and letter as if they were being graded on it back in fourth grade.  Once you pay, move on.  

Long gone are the days of baggers taking out groceries for you to your car and loading them.  However, I will say, when some person looks very feeble, I have noticed an offer of help by some of the workers.  Once, a young man offered to help me.  I did not know if I should have been offended or not.  Did I look that old and feeble? Hopefully, he was just being nice.  I did have a very full cart that day. Speaking of bags, (take that any way you wish) if you buy too many groceries at one time to bring in your own bags, then at least recycle the plastic bags that the grocery provides.   

If there was an employee who went out of their way to help you, mention it to the manager.  They are used to hearing complaints and it will make their day to hear good things going on in their store. Also, on my last note, after you unpack your groceries in you car, please be sure to take your cart, cleaned out, back to a cart station. It is the right thing to do.  We are all in this together so let's try to help one another out by following etiquette rules and just plain being nice to one another.  

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