Friday, November 16, 2012

Grocery Shopping Etiquette

We all know that I don't function well without a good amount of coffee in the morning.

In fact, for the past... oh gosh longer than a year now probably, every single morning I have filled up this large, old green truck stop travel mug that used to belong to the Mister.  It's faded and almost entirely scratched off logo on the side says "Buddy's mini-marts," and it boasts that if I were to ever walk into a Buddy's, I could apparently get a refill in that mug for a mere 59 cents.  I say the mug used to be the Mister's, because I believe after using it literally every single day for a year plus, I'm pretty sure it's been reappropriated.  It's mine now.  It holds just the right amount of caffeinated wonder to keep me from being a massive hose-beast.  And I think he would agree with me that this makes the Buddy's mug a gift to both of us.

in the interest of journalistic integrity, this is exactly how I look when I start off each and every day.
and that is my buddy's mug.
and yes those are Christmas decorations in the background, I know it's pre-thanksgiving don't judge me I have my reasons.

Except this past Tuesday.  Tuesday I woke up and trudged downstairs to discover that the Mister had taken my mug to work with him.  Sure, we didn't have a set-in-stone rule that said "you can take any mug to work with you except the Buddy's mug," but I had assumed that was a given.  And while I hear you being all "surely you have more than one coffee mug, why not use one of them?"  If you saw me pre-coffee in the mornings, you would understand that this was not an appropriate answer.  

Don't worry, there's a clarified green Buddy's mug rule now.

Because the green Buddy's mug is magic.  I could use another mug, but the green mug is the biggest.  So at some point I'd have to refill my impostor mug instead of just sitting in a comatose state on the couch sipping coffee and checking Facebook, waiting for my usual good-nature to kick in for the day.  First world problems, I has them.  In any case, the absence of the green Buddy's mug immediately made Tuesday a bad day.

First, the Mister informed me via e-mail that we needed to get physicals to update his insurance stuff at work.  This includes getting blood drawn.  Assuming I don't pass out, this should make for a fairly amusing Monday post.  It should be noted that I've totally passed out the last three times I've been stuck with a needle though, so... if I don't post on Monday now you know what's up.

Then I went to lunch with friends.  Actually, lunch was fun, lunch doesn't count.

But THEN I went grocery shopping.  What I'm saying is that maybe it was because I was pre-disposed to be cranky about the whole thing after the morning coffee situation.  But here was my Facebook response upon returning from the seventh circle of hell:

lack of coffee brings out my potty mouth.  sorry mom.

Anyway, because the BFFJ is awesome, she turned my frown upside down and we promptly crafted today's post.  So without further ado, I bring you:

(just in time for your Thanksgiving stock-up!)

1.  Before you go on your shopping trip, prepare just a smidgen.  Ask yourself two very important questions:
  • What do I need at the grocery store?  (then write those things down)
  • What is the MINIMUM amount of people needed at the store to accomplish this shopping task? (then bring only that many people with you)
Without answers to these two questions properly worked out, your confused and mis-guided shopper-team will clump in the aisle like kitty litter.  You will waste your own time, and the time of everyone else in the grocery store who can't get around you to grab the box of Wheaties they came for.

2.  When checking your grocery list, it is advisable to stop pushing your cart so you do not run into other people because you're not looking at where you are going.  EYES ON THE ROAD.

3.  When you do stop your cart, the recommended procedure is to pull to the side of the aisle, preferably next to crap no one could possibly want to buy, so that other shoppers can pass you.

4.  Talking on your cell phone while shopping is appropriate in exactly three scenarios:
  • You are checking the brand name specifics of an item on your list.  This call lasts only long enough to say "what kind do you want? okay bye."
  • Someone is dying/ has died.
  • You are pregnant and your water just broke.
Does your phone call fit into one of those categories?  No?  Then put your phone back in your pocket, your call can wait I promise.  Besides, grocery stores aren't known for their excellent reception.

5.  Rule number 4 applies to texting as well.

6.  If you are capable of carrying your child into the store at a pace best described as "light jog" without losing your breath, you most certainly do not need one of the electric carts.  If you are a teenager who thinks this grocery store is your own personal theme park, you most certainly do not need two of the electric carts so you and your friends can play bumper cars.  

Bottom line:  If you are a physically capable person, YOU DO NOT NEED ONE OF THE ELECTRIC CARTS.  The carts are for people who need them to function, and when you drain the battery, that means poor Grandma Opal is going to get stuck in the middle of the cheese section, unable to go anywhere else while the "LOW BATTERY" beep confuses her and drives all those around her closer to their own tipping points.

7.  Conversely, and maybe this makes me sounds super mean, but I'ma type it anyway:  If you are so very large that you need one of the electric carts because you cannot walk from one end of the store to the other without passing out, then perhaps you should take a moment to reflect on that before stacking your cart full of soda, beer, hot dogs and cheesy-poofs.  
And even more so, when you've not only filled your electric-cart's basket, but ALSO THE REGULAR CART YOU ARE TOWING BEHIND YOUR CART VIA A BUNGEE CORD (I swear on all that is holy I saw it) with that same crap, god is not allowed to punish the other shoppers around you for thinking "This. This is the opening scene for the prequel to What's Eating Gilbert Grape happening right in front of me."

Also truly?  You should not be allowed to do the shopping for your family.  

8.  The bags of grapes in the fruit section are not meant for you to have free snackies while you shop.  Because I saw you checkout, and you did NOT pay for them.  If you are so very hungry that you can't wait the five to twenty minutes until your shopping trip is over to tuck into something, at least pick something to open with a price that is not determined at the register by weight.  And then man enough to admit that you ate it!  Stealing on any level just drives the prices up for everyone else.  (there's my soap box ethics for the day)

9.  If you have stopped your cart, someone else has pulled up near you, and is looking at the merchandise located behind your cart, do not ignore this person.  Have some common decency and move your cart. 

10.  On the flip side of rule number 9, the phrase "Excuse Me," is a much more socially acceptable manner to access the item you need over ramming into someone else's cart with your own.  Because EGGS, people.

11.  (This one is from BFFJ, who is a mother, and therefore is qualified to make such a request)  If you have a child who is of an age where you believe using a leash on them is an appropriate solution to keeping them close, leash them INTO the cart.  Short people (aka not at your eye-height) running around with a tether attached to them is just asking for you to get served with a lawsuit from the lady that littleTimmy tripped in the bagel aisle.  

12.  If you encounter a mother with a child having a melt-down in the store, it is not your duty to offer advice or to judge.  It is your duty to get out of her way so she can get in and out and make sure her kid learns that throwing a tantrum does not equal sympathy or a new bouncy ball.  
Kids melt-down sometimes.  You did when you were little, and if you have kids, it's going to happen to you one day.  Conversely, if you are that mother, it is your duty to make sure your child actually learns tantrums don't get you anywhere, not to ignore your child by talking on the phone while blocking the middle of the frozen foods section.

13.  At the check out line, using a "20 items or less" express lane when you actually have 22 items is permissible.  Using a "20 items or less" express lane when you are purchasing enough supplies to survive the impending zombie apocalypse for the next three years in your nuclear bunker is NOT OKAY.  SERIOUSLY WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

14.  Is the person in front of you buying chocolate, a US Weekly, midol and feminine hygiene products?  Maybe you don't need to comment on their purchases.  I promise they won't find it funny.  Generally?  Commenting on what someone else is buying just makes for awkward-sauce, regardless of what your comment is.

15.  If there's a little kid in a cart near you while you're checking out, and they say "Hi" or wave to you, it is your civic duty to wave back to them.  They have done nothing to you but extend a pleasant greeting.  Help society advance for the better by reinforcing that this is a nice thing to do.  Grumpy faces at a baby is just an the piéce de résistance asshole move.

Folks, I kid you not, I witnessed every single one of these infractions on Tuesday.  Except for number 11, which BFFJ encountered. But let's all just agree that these are law now, shall we?  Good call.
What's your grocery store horror-story?
Did I miss an etiquette rule?
Tell me in the comments!


AJ Hauser said...

This is glorious. I laughed my butt off.

Personally, I like to stand behind people who think it's OK to bust out 150 coupons - ones that they KNOW DAMN WELL HAVE EXPIRED, and then proceed to argue with the poor elderly register-lady because "I know how Jumbo-Mart works, you HAVE to honor this you coupon NAZI!!".

Queen Holly the Magnificent said...

One of the reasons I love my job is I can go shopping on weekdays when it is less crowded. Shopping on the weekend? Nightmare. I don't know how 9-5 poeple get anything else done on the weekend besides running errands. But on a Monday at 11am, the store is your oyster my friend.

Danielle said...

OOOOh I have one! I get SO MAD when a Mom of 1 kid grabs the last shopping cart that has the car on the front and then her kid doesn't even sit in it. Then I have to grab 2 carts because the car carts are the only ones with 2 seats in the front for my twins to sit. Then my 5 year old sits in the car. I hate bringing my kids to the store with me. In fact, my Mom is on her way here to watch my babies so I can grocery shop solo.

Love your drawings. Love.

Kp said...

Oh my gosh all of these are making me angry on y'alls behalf!

I had a lady in front of me a week or so ago that insisted on buying her entire cart full of groceries except for three items on one bill, and then buy the last thee things (tubes of toothpaste) on a second transaction because she had heard a coupon for toothpaste would print at checkout if she had already bought mouthwash. This would have been *almost* okay if she hadn't written checks to pay. Because we live in the 80's now. WHO STILL USES CHECKS?