Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grocery Store Rules According to Jean

Being a peace loving sort of person, I don't have that many altercations but 99.9 per cent of the ones I do have, happen at the grocery store. Is it because I spend more time there than anywhere else, excepting home? No. I put in plenty of time at bookstores, restaurants, church, movie theaters, coffee shops, and discount stores of the upscale variety. I don't have much trouble at those places.

So—it's not me; it's you and I think I know the reason. It's because people do not follow the rules. Today, in anticipation of the impending snow, I had to join the masses on the required run for milk and bread—and in my case, cheese, vegetables, eggs, and a big fat chicken that I intend to roast with garlic and herbs. Anyway, I am happy to report that I did not have an altercation but I came close, so so close, and on more than on occasion.

Then it hit me. Maybe the reason these people are not following the rules is because they don't know the Grocery Store Rules, According to Jean. As a gift to humanity, I will now supply them.

1. Do not park your cart in the middle of the aisle. Keep right and cross the aisle on foot to get your Thousand Island salad dressing. It's like driving.

2. Hang up your cell phone and stop steering with your forearm. You are NOT calling your husband to ask if he needs beer and, if so, what kind. You are talking to your BFF about how somebody did you wrong at work. Save it.

3. Do not let your kid sit on your hip while you talk on your cell phone and steer with your elbow. I know it's hard to shop with a toddler. Precious Angel was once a toddler and I kept him quite a bit—partly because his mother was finishing her degree and partly because I wanted him with me. We did some shopping. We also had some Come to Jesus Meetings in the dead space between dairy and meat cases where he learned what our jobs were: mine was to push and his was to sit. I'm not saying there weren't days it didn't cost me an Oreo but I am saying he sat in the kid seat.

4. Do not let your kids spread out across the aisle like participants in a mini Hands Across America.

5. You have the right to have that giant notebook of coupons. I even respect you for it a little. But due to laziness and bad character, I don't have one. I don't mind how long you study the individual boxes of Craisins, or whatever other thing you are about to buy for half of nothing and not eat. Just please let me by.

6. Don't shop on the buddy system. Please. Just don't, unless your buddy is recovering from surgery and you need to lift her milk and flour. Even then, don't shop side by side.

7. Don't have reunions—class, family, church, or any other type—in the aisle. There a big old parking lot right outside.

8. Do I even have to go into what's appropriate for the Express Lane?

9. Do not sit in your car and wait for me to get my groceries loaded and leave. If you glare at me, I will move slower. I will take my cart all the way back in the store. I might even stop to pass the time of day with all the drivers of the cars that are lined up behind you because you are trying to score my parking spot.

I could go on. And on. And on. I'm known for it. You got a dead horse you want beaten? Bring it to me. But I'll stop. Besides, if I put another rule, it will be number ten and then my margins won't line up right and I'll have to fix them to keep Stephanie and Kathy from having a bad day. Cheryl wouldn't care.

Would you like to make a rule for the world at large? Here's your chance. Share.


  1. I am wounded...Hard to accept the truth. You're right, I wouldn't care about the margins - as long as the point is made. LOL

    So I shall supply number 10 - don't look at me as if I work there and ask me where something is, then stand there expecting me to show you. There is something about my face that makes people think I care. I don't want to help you find anything. I am having a hard enough time trying to remember what I wrote on the list that I left on the kitchen table.

    I also have another one, which applies to the check-out clerks. QUIT THROWING MY GROCERIES!!!! I have just spent more than you make in a week and you are slamming them down like they are bricks. Not so good when it comes to eggs!!!!!! I can never resist saying something about it like "Having a Bad day? My bread didn't do anything..."

  2. Cheryl,

    I don't care about the margins either.

    I have one of those faces too. It's usually an older person who wants me to read a label or get something off the bottom shelf. I once spent 10 minutes crawling around on the the floor to get 20 cans of the right cat food. It had to be sliced in gravy and not minced. I was just thankful I could get down there and up again. I don't know how much longer that will hold out.

    The baggers at my preferred store seemed to have attended an extended bagging seminar because they do a good job. Not so much the smaller neighborhood store where I go for odds and ends. They love to throw a bag of cornmeal on top of a bag of butter lettuce.

  3. I confess that sometimes I have my cell phone at my ear because I am trying to finish up a conversation with a long distance friend/CP. But 99% of the time I am not on the phone. I am also guilty of having a conversation at the store. Sorry! But I am a talker/social person. I'd talk outside, but it is too cold to stand there. I try to be polite and courteous. And I have a great relationship with the people who work at my local Publix. Oh, and the coupon thing? DON'T GET ME STARTED. There is an underground group of couponers who clip and online to get coupons every Wed. and they do the BOGO free with the coupons. By the time I get to the store, the sale items and BOGO are gone. I've heard that this movement also buys way more product than they need so they can hoard it for some upcoming disaster or invasion of aliens. I tried to fight them... I did. I even signed onto the blog where you can get the coupons and everything. But I am ashamed to admit that I just fail at this coupon thing. OH, and being stuck behind them in a line while they cart out their 102 coupons and unload box after box of sugar laden cereal is not fun.

    I have names for them. And the names are not nice.

  4. If you have more than 15 items, do not go through the express lane. That is so annoying.

  5. I'm going to try this again--I've tried twice, hit the wrong button and all sorts of things went wonky. :-)

    First--thank you all for making me laugh. This makes my day, but I do have to add a few.

    One addendum, about express lanes...LOL-I agree with you Pat, you should not use the express lane with more than 15 items BUT--when the clerk litrally waves you over (and no one is there) and says "Sure I'll check you out full buggy or not" I think its ok. But I still squirm.

    My rules (Because I'm a very uptight person in public and believe in the law of courtesy,granted, they don't let me tazer anyone, which I so totally don't understand..lol)

    1. Do not eat/drink anything while shopping that you have not bought then hand the empty wrapper to the clerk. I find this tacky.
    2. I am glad you have a big family. Love it. But they don't have to use the store the place to run laps. (Very similar to the hands across America, you mentioned Jean).
    3. When I bring a complaint to the clerk..(such as dairy products expired for over a month--a whole shelf) don't just say "You have to go to customer service." Seriously? You work here too. Where I work, I may not do that particular job you are complaining about, but I sure let the right person know!

    I won't go on. But you know, if someone is discourteous and apologizes (and means it, not that off hand, sarcastic "excuse me") I can forgive a lot.

    And true smiles...that helps...

  6. Can we get these reprinted in every newspaper across America and splashed on the Yahoo home page for good measure?

    I'll add one too. It's a mix of things already said.

    ~Do not talk the cell phone while checking out. Checking out requires two hands to unload your cart and then make your payment. Talk once you make your purchase and are out of store.

    There is a TV show about those coupon people -- Extreme Couponing. It's rather like Hoarders. You will be shocked and amazed at what they go through to buy $1000 in groceries for less than $5. And in doing so, they have enough toilet paper to last longer than all the members of their family combined will live.


  7. This made me laugh this morning, but possibly because I had this experience yesterday. Also, I must admit having trouble getting beyond "roast chicken ... yum."

    My rules to add:

    1. Please teach your children not to walk as slowly as possible down the center of the aisles, playing with toys. People are lining up trying to get their carts past.

    2. Please return your cart to - ta da! - the cart return. Do not leave it sitting in the middle of the parking lot where it will ding my or someone else's bumper.

    3. Unless it's raining or beyond freezing, instead of pausing in the parking lot to make sure you get the very closest parking spot, leading to an endless line of cars, be willing to walk the extra 50 feet and take the spot four places down from the front. Pushing your cart a few extra feet will not kill you, and it makes for a smoother experience for everyone.

    4. I do my shopping every couple of days, so I use the express lane a lot. Generally, this is really intended for people with 15 items or less. Try to remember that 15 of one thing does not equal "1 thing" and that you really have 30 items in your cart.

    5. Why doesn't the Costco have an express lane, anyway?

    6. A visit to the grocery store always reminds me why I love the farmers' market.

  8. The cart thing, with carts on the righthand side is a pet peeve of mine. I don't understand how they can't see it is like driving! I have two rules to add to this list, well, maybe two, and an addendum to the talking rule:

    This particularly goes for men: They act like they are a deer in headlights when they are at the grocery store! Pretend you are driving a car, and keep the cart to the right. Pay attention to the people coming toward you, and those behind you - they may want to pass because you are parked too long, and stay to the right. Yes, there are a lot of salad dressing choices.

    If you want to talk, and this does happen a great deal at our Publix, since it seems that we know everyone there, pull over to the side and do not block the aisle. Be aware that people may want the Craisins that you are standing in front of.

    Writing a check: please fill it out while the clerk is scanning your groceries. Or get your debit card out and scan it while the clerk is scanning your groceries. I don't understand why people wait til after it is totaled, and THEN pull out their checkbook and start writing it in. Come on already!

    The food stamp people buying sirloins and Boost annoy me more than the coupon people, but I won't go there.....it shows my uncharitable side!

  9. WOW! Y'all shop with some really rude people!

    I usually shop at our local Winn Dixie and have very few of these problems. Perhaps it is because there are fewer folks here and most of them go to Wally-World.

  10. I love my local Publix. Same one as Christine, and no, I've never seen her blocking an aisle while chatting. *g*

    I so agree with this whole list, and a big AMEN to Gwen's addition about returning carts to the corral or the store. I can't get over the sheer laziness of people who leave their carts haphazardly in the parking lot. Doesn't really happen much at Publix, though, because they take your groceries out for you (and collect stray carts while there).

    I don't understand extreme couponers. I've tried to use coupons, but it usually seems as if they are meant for products I don't buy. I forget any coupons I may have clipped most of the time anyway.

  11. I'm pretty mellow when I'm grocery shopping, and if the person delaying the entire line is a Very Seasoned Citizen, I don't let it get to me no matter how long it takes. If they're still out there running their own errands, then good for them. If they drop something, I'll pick it up. If they have trouble filling out a check, I'll help them. One day, I could be in their position.

    HOWEVER -- leaving your shopping cart parked willy-nilly in the parking lot is a beheading offense. One of the few times I have completely lost my cool was when someone left a cart in the middle of a parking space in front of my brand new car, and this dumb a** woman just had to park in that particular space, even though there were empty spaces on either side of it. Did she get out and move the cart before parking there? She did not. She simply pulled in and knocked the cart into the front of my car. Maybe she wouldn't have done it if she'd noticed that I was still sitting in my car. When I rocketed out of the drivers' seat, she also got out and said, "Oh, it didn't hurt it!" Without looking, mind you, she somehow could divine that crashing a metal cart into the front of my car hadn't scratched it at all.

    I lost it. I completely lost it. I grabbed the cart and began ramming into the side of her car, starting at the front bumper and going all the way down to the back bumper, while saying, "Oh, it didn't hurt it!" in exact imitation of her tone.

    She got in her car and left. Imagine that.

  12. Lynn: I think we may have bumped into each other at the local Publix *grin*. I love that store cause I love the people who work there.

    Maven Linda: If you ran off a rabid coupon clipper with 100s of coupons in her back trunk, I say GOOD for you!

    And now, back to my regularly scheduled day.


  13. Woe! Jean, this is quite a list and everybody has contributed a great deal.

    Me? I park far away if need be and walk. Hey, it's good exercise.

    If someone asks for help, I will go out of my way to give it.

    If someone is counting out their coupons, I think "Wow! Great job there citizen. I left mine at home or in the car, or didn't bother to look for any."

    Kids in the store? I think it's so cute that they have those car carts and find myself wishing they'd had them when my kids were little. I wave at the kiddies and smile. (Wait! I'm a guber.)

    If someone is talking on the phone, I think it must be important.

    If someone calls me, usually while I'm checking out, I ask if I can call them back.

    When I take my groceries to the car, and I always insist that I am highly capable of doing it myself, I roll the cart back to the front of the store, take it back in the store, or wheel it into the storage bin made specifically for carts in the parking lot. Hey, more exercise for me!

    When a cashier is in a bad mood, I try to cheer him or her up because I've been a cashier and chances are a customer was just really mean to them.

    But here's where I draw the line. DO NOT crush my bread! I used to bag groceries and there is a process to be followed. If I arrive home with crushed bread, I'm extremely p*&&#@!

    Nuff said. ;) Very fun!

  14. I once had a meltdown at Wally World when the employees were all just hanging around and there were absolutely NO carts in the store anywhere! I have a full-time job and it isn't bringing carts back into the store. I put mine away where indicated; I shouldn't be doing their job for them.
    On the other hand, Kroger is wonderful! It still has self-checkout lanes where the attendant actually helps when needed, and if I go through the regular line, my buggy is unloaded, checked out, and reloaded for me, and they offer to carry it to the car as well. Now, I can do my own unloading, but it's refreshing to have someone offer to help out. And I always take my own groceries to the car. Again, I appreciate the offer.
    It's a shame 'common courtesy' has to be spelled out in a list of rules, but there you go!

  15. Gee, I guess I've been pretty lucky at the grocery store. We usually try to avoid busy days, although that wasn't possible with the recent snow. However, I cringe to think I might have broken some of these rules over the years, but let's not dwell on that.

  16. Wow! Glad you all stopped in today. I want y'all to know, I do have my good girl moments. I help elderly people, let people with just a few items go in front of me, and take my own groceries out if the person behind me seems less able to take theirs.

    Christine—Love my Publix too. They have been known to move the tahini but they know where they put it and they will walk me to it.

    Patricia—I'm with you, sister.

    Mary—Glad we made you laugh. I am very reluctant to blog about anything that is remotely negative but I figure if it's funny and not mean spirited, that buys a lot.

    PM—Go ahead and see if you can get the rules printed in newspapers. Try to get money for them. We'll split it.

    Gwen—Wish you were here with us. The big fat chicken is sitting in the fridge right now with out any wrappings so it will be crisp. Cooks Illustrated let me know about that. I am with you about the walking thing. I do not wait for a parking place. I try to be thankful I am able to walk from the back 40. Also, I'd rather park near a cart return spot than near the door.

    Michelle—Yeah, Publix is the Grand Gathering Ground for Our Kind, isn't it? And I recognize that it's especially hard to say, "We need to move," to casual acquaintance—especially if that person is older.

    Stephanie—People are just scared of you, that's all. They behave in front of you.\

    Lynn—Can't do the coupon thing. I am too competitive. I want to win. I will tell myself that I am only going clip coupons for things I use but I find myself with Fruit Rollups and frozen Salisbury steak. Better that I say away from them completely.

    Maven Linda—She had it coming.

    Kathy—You are so nice. I would hand my head in shame but I have no shame.

    Cathy—I just don't go to some stores. I realized when I was having to pray to behave myself that there are just certain places I just need to stay away from.

    Crystal—Never dwell. It's not productive

  17. Jean, I have my moments... ;)

    Oh, and I like to park by the cart corral too. And under a light, so I don't get mugged. LOL!

    Yeah, Publix is not the place to go without make-up around here. ;)

  18. Amen! I think these need to be passed into some sort of law. Then we could have grocery store police which would cut down on some of the unemployment.

  19. i love shopping for food in asda its mint i never have a bad time probably because i enjoy it it allways seems to go very well i spend absolutly ages in the suppermarket

  20. What my pet peeve is people who can't wait until I am not done unloading my cart before putting a bar down, and unloading all of their own stuff. (Usually not giving me enough room) I usually just look and say, excuse me I still have more stuff.