Supermarket EtiquetteWelcome to my first off topic rant blog post.  In the modern world, there seems to be an overwhelming lack of etiquette, and today, I’m going to discuss one area that bothers me quite a bit.  As a professional musician who makes the majority of his money performing (almost always at night), I get the honor of doing most of the housework and shopping in my household.  I don’t mind one damn bit, but what I do mind is a tremendous lack of courtesy in public, especially the grocery store.

I am fortunate to shop at a well-known chain called Publix.  For those who don’t live in the south, Publix is considered to be one of the best (if a little spendy) places to shop.  The customer service is excellent and the staff are friendly and courteous almost to a fault.  I do not mind one bit spending a few extra dollars to receive the exceptional service I usually get at Publix.  If only the customers were as pleasant as the staff.

Keep Right

My number one pet peeve is aisle hogging.  There is no reason to park your cart in the middle of the aisle while you read every soup can label.  Always keep your cart to the side so others can get by.  And, while we’re talking about that, treat the aisles and walkways through the store like you would if you are driving; stay to the right.  Too many people walk right down the middle with their oversized race car kiddie-mobiles and leave no room for opposite traffic.  Stay to the side, and everyone can shop in peace without having to beg for enough room to get to their Chef Boyardee.

Rudeness in a Cellular World

It can be even more infuriating to try to get through traffic jams because even though you may say “excuse me,” the person you’re trying to engage with is on their f@#$! @#$!~ cell phone.  Personally, I tend to go easy on cell phone talkers while they are shopping, but once they are in line to check out, there is nothing more rude than staying on your F@$#%^ing phone while the underpaid cashier is trying to scan and bag your items and then scan your 50 coupons.  Have some common decency, not to mention any sense of etiquette and stop talking about whatever in your life is more important than showing your cashier some freaking courtesy.

Check-Out Smartlyshopping cart

While we’re on the subject of the check-out line, let’s hit the main points here:

  1. If it says 10 items or fewer, have 10 items or fewer.  Eleven is too many.  Ten cans of soup plus 3 more items is too many.  It’s not rocket science.  It’s common bloody courtesy.
  2. Good etiquette requires you to say “please” and “thank you” to anyone who helps you in any way.  That means the cashier, the person who places the little divider thingy, or the person who lets you in front of them because you only have a couple items and they have 3 carts full.
  3. Adding any impulse buys to your already ten items means you are an a@#$hole.  See number 1.
  4. Why are you writing a check?  There are no banks that fail to give every checking account customer a debit card.  Use it.  Check writing is obsolete.  Check writing because you’re trying to float a deposit or hang on until you get paid is also obsolete.  Stores authorize checks just like debit/credit transactions.  No money, no grocery.
  5. Some stores (like Publix) will offer to help you out to your car with your purchases.  If you bought 3 things, DO NOT oblige yourself of this courtesy.  Let the single mother with 5 kids enjoy that perk.
  6. Have your payment ready.  You can scan your card and have all the info entered while the cashier is scanning your order.  There is no reason I can think of to wait until your items are bagged to begin to pay.
  7. Lastly – please try to remember that other people are in a hurry too.  Other people have the same needs as you.  You don’t know that your cashier’s mother didn’t die yesterday.  You don’t know that the people in front of you are buying food for a wake.  Practice some kindness and patience and you will feel better for it.

TL;DR Version – Supermarket Etiquette.

The main theme here is, be kind and courteous to other people.  Treat them how you would like to be treated.  There is no reason to be rude to anyone.  Good etiquette makes you look like a good person, even if you’re really not.  Getting angry at the store just carries over into the rest of your day.  Who wants the aggravation of remembering the perceived rudeness you experienced at the supermarket?  If you are a believer, being nice can lead to otherworldly pleasures the likes of which most people only dream about.  Or something.  Etiquette is not overrated at all.  Look into it.


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