Saturday, March 1, 2008

Grocery Store Etiquette

WH and I are just back from our big grocery store run of the month - usually we do one or two big shops a month at Gigantic Chain Grocery Store, and then a couple of runs to the local (also chain) store every week or so, and we always seem to eat, so the system must work.

Anyhow, Saturday afternoon is not the most desirable time to be at GCGS, but if we didn't go today it would be another three or four days, and we were short on a few key staples, so we ventured into the mass of carts and kids and whatever else.

So it's crowded, right? And people's carts aren't rolling easily (they never do), and there aren't enough cashiers open and there isn't enough space in the aisles. And people look tired, and worn-down and defeated and ANGRY. So I got to thinking about what the "rules" should be to keeping a grocery run on a Saturday afternoon from being so distressing. By the time I was finished waiting in line I had come up with three different ways that the grocery experience could be made better.

1.Things the store could do: Two things I can come up with here - first, more space, especially between the aisles and the cashiers. This is the space where I witness the most traffic jams, temper tantrums, shin-ramming, etc. Second, it would be easier to negotiate the produce section if staff were not re-stocking huge carts of apples, bananas and onions at peak hours.

But even without the store making these improvements, I think there are things that we can do as consumers to make the experience less unpleasant.

2. Things you can do to make things easier for other people:
-Please don't park your cart on one side of the aisle and browse on the other side, thereby taking up the whole aisle. Same goes for parking your cart crossways in the aisle.
-If you bring your children to the grocery store, that's great. I think that children should be a part of the grocery/cooking etc. part of the household management, but if you bring your kids to the grocery store, you have to figure out a way to keep them involved that doesn't involve throwing things, running, pushing people etc. By the time I was seven or eight years old, I was tracking groceries down for my mom while she pushed the cart around. It was a great way to keep me busy.

3. Things you can do (or think or chant) to make things easier for YOU!
-Just be patient. There will always be jams and blockages, and I have found that if one just giving folks a minute to work it out, they always do. Take that moment to look at the people around you and enjoy the diversity and range of the human experience taking on life.
-People of every age have a right to shop for their groceries. Getting impatient or angry because elderly people are moving slowly in front of you is a waste of energy and strength.
-Approach the experience with good humour. Smile at every person you see, and make pleasant conversation with the people next to whom you find yourself in line. You have a whole cart full of conversation topics; you should be able to find something to talk about!

Wow - I must have been in line for a long time, because I sure gave that a lot of detailed thought.

Anybody have anything to add?


Sue said...

These are all great suggestions. I find grocery shopping very stressful and avoid the Huge Grocery Chain store for just that reason. I need a slightly smaller and usually less crowded place to shop. I also need windows. I need to be able to look out at the sky at some point during my shopping adventure - it reminds me that I will not be stuck the Shopping Cave forever.

When I get frustrated with it all, I remind myself of how fortunate I am to be able to shop in the first place. Sometimes that is the only reason I don't abandon my cart and run out of the store screaming. Did I mention that I don't care for grocery shopping?? :)

Chorus said...

Trust me, I know the feeling!! I don't think I would have given it so much thought if I hadn't had my own fair share of "run screaming from the store" moments.

I think the worst was the time, in the midst of the long line-ups and pushy people etc., that the gentleman in front of me in line took on the cashier on the subject of the grammar on his coupon for discounted fish. That may have been the closest I ever came to ramming someone with my cart on purpose.

ccw said...

These are all great suggestions.

My chain now provides free helium balloons and fruit which occupy the kids until we get to the free cookie samples.

A fave of mine: when you only have a few things and someone lets you go in front of them. I always do this.

Stealthy Dachshund said...

And every once in a while, just STOP.

somwhere where there's some space (usually around the meat counter) and not move, or hurry or push.