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Jewish Journal

Grocery Store Etiquette

by Ilana Angel

July 17, 2012 | 4:07 pm

I like grocery shopping.  I cook most everyday and I especially love the produce section of my local market.  I am big on fresh ingredients and tend to buy a lot of organic.  I don’t use recipes or cookbooks unless I’m making something I’ve not made before.  I cook a lot of my mother’s dishes, which I know by heart.  I’m big on flavor and creativity in the kitchen.  I am a pescatarian, but cook meat for my son, which can be a challenge.

It’s a challenge because it sometimes makes me sad to cook meat.  I go through phases where the smell of a roasted chicken is simply divine, and others where the smell of a grilled steak reminds me of burning flesh and I am disgusted by the sight of carcass.  I like to try new combinations, layer flavors, and think outside the box.  I am very talented in the kitchen and all my dishes and inspirations begin at my favorite market.

I went shopping this morning.  I took my time picking out all of my favorite things and was happy the market was not too busy.  I was relaxed and happy, until I got to the check out.  It was at that point that I experienced an episode of shopping cart road rage.  My peaceful shopping trip was abruptly brought to an end and I found myself aggravated.  By aggravated of course I mean I wanted to punch a stranger.

There were 4 cashier lanes open.  2 were express lines for people with less than 15 items, and two were regular lines with no restrictions.  The two express lines had 3 or 4 people waiting to check out, while the other two lines each had a large order in the process of going through.  I got in line behind one of the big orders and started to read about Katie and Tom in the gossips rags while I was waiting.

As I started to unpack my groceries, a woman from the express line came over and told me she was in a hurry and would I mind letting her go ahead of me because she only had one item.  I let people in front of me all the time but this chick had a bad attitude.  I told her there were not only express lines for people with only one item, but there was also a self-check out line where she could do it herself very quickly.

She gave a puzzled look and then proceeded to say it was selfish of me to not let her go.  Really?  She had 3 fast and viable options to get out of the market quickly and I was selfish?  Really?  I am the selfish one? I almost felt sorry for her for a second, and then I thought better of wasting emotion on this chick, and let her know there was market etiquette and no, I would not let her in line ahead of me.

She flipped her hair, called me a bitch, and went over the express lane. Well, I did the only thing I could do.  I walked over to the lane she was in, grabbed a pack of gum from the register, and told the gentleman behind her, who was buying a diet coke and sandwich, that he could go in front of me if he wanted as I had a large basket of items.  He thanked me profusely, told me he was on his lunch hour, and followed me over.

The woman about lost her mind and let me know her unhappiness by calling me a selfish bitch.  Here’s the thing, I have been known to be a bitch on occasion, but I am anything but selfish.  There is nothing selfish about me or my life.  That’s not important here, I just wanted to clarify.  What is important is that there is grocery store etiquette and people need to get on board with it, and back the hell off.

Here are the top 5 rules when it comes to etiquette in the grocery store:

1) Don’t ask people to let you in line.  We are all busy and in a rush.  If someone wants to let you go ahead of them, they will offer.

2) Don’t leave your cart in the middle of an aisle while you go off to find something.  Take it with you, or roll it to the side.

3) Roll your cart to the storage area or return it to the store. Do not leave it in the middle of the parking lot.

4) Don’t get into a detailed conversation with the cashier about your bunions.  That is what doctors are for.

5) Don’t call a complete stranger a selfish bitch because if she is one, she might respond by hurting you.

A selfish bitch temporarily ruined the calmness of my shopping trip, but when I got home and started to unpack my groceries, she was quickly forgotten.  It’s sad people are so angry and wound up.  Life is a blessing and people need to get perspective.  I’m glad I didn’t let that woman in line and happy I let the young man go ahead of me.  I am going to make dinner, count my blessings, and keep the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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