9 Rude Things People Do At The Grocery Store
These supermarket sins will insult your fellow shoppers faster than you can say Piggly Wiggly.
Ask the Southern Living editorial staff about their grocery store frustrations, and they will deliver with fervor. I flippantly posed the prompt, “What are some rude things people do at the grocery store?” to our staffers and accidentally unleashed a fury. Because we, like all y’all, spend a good bit of our lives at the Pig (or Publix or Kroger, depending on where you are in the South), we’ve developed a distaste for fellow shoppers' poor etiquette. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most frequent offenders—and lest you assume these are all common sense no-nos, head to Publix on a Sunday after church. Then we'll talk.
Parking Your Buggy Wherever You Please
It’s fine to browse the aisles for the specific pasta sauce you like, but consider where you leave your cart in the process. Leaving it in the center of the aisle and blocking traffic is not the move. After you’ve shopped, don’t leave the cart “willy nilly” in the middle of the parking lot, either, says senior digital editor Rebecca Baer. Return it to the parking lot corral or the store itself, if that’s closer.
Ignoring the Rules of the Road
Treat the grocery cart like your car and pretend that every aisle has a stop sign on either end, says frequent shopper and SL editorial producer and recipe developer Ivy Odom. “When you're exiting an aisle with your buggy, pause to look both ways before you cross the ‘street.’” That way, you don’t run over another poor, unsuspecting shopper.
Camping Out for a Conversation
You’re likely to run into a friend or neighbor at your local supermarket, but be mindful of where you stop to chat. If you notice that someone is attempting to peruse the produce behind you, pick up your conversation and move to a less-trafficked area. Regardless, grocery store catch-ups should be short and sweet; this is not the time to fill in your elementary school teacher on the past 30 years of your life.
Lingering Too Long Over Purchasing Decisions
We’re not suggesting you should race through your weekly shop like you’re a driver at the Talladega Superspeedway (as a customer, you deserve a little time to choose what you want), but even so, be considerate of the folks around you. "You don't have to touch every piece of fruit," says assistant homes editor Cameron Beall. "You've got to do a little examining, but just do it mindfully." In other words, it shouldn’t take ten minutes to select your ideal cantaloupe.
Ringing Out A Large Order in the Self-Checkout Lane
While we love the ability to breeze through one when we’re grabbing a forgotten carton of milk or eggs, the self-service register loses some of its allure when shoppers with large loads camp out at registers with buggies full of food—especially when some of those items require keying in specific codes. Instead, think of the self-checkout as a sort of express lane, where you should keep your haul to around 10 items or less.
“Eating your groceries in line and then handing the half-eaten food to the cashier to scan is just rude, not to mention unhygienic,” scolds senior staff writer Meghan Overdeep. We’ll of course create a caveat for parents of screaming children who may require snacks to calm their tempers—just be thoughtful of the presentation of the packaging to the cashier. Don’t make them touch anything your child’s mouth has touched!
Not Respecting Personal Space
If you, like the shopper next to you, are browsing for the perfect cut of meat, don’t hover so closely to your fellow customer that they feel compelled to hurry along. Allow them a bit of time to find what they need, and then you can step into their place. The same goes for the checkout line. Even if your groceries have moved up the conveyor belt, give the person ahead of you some space to settle up (they need a little privacy to enter their PIN number!).
Stashing an Unwanted Item in a Random Spot
This should go without saying, but “if you decide mid-shopping that you don't want or need an item anymore, put it back where it belongs,” notes associate editor Mary Shannon Hodes. Any other course of action is inconsiderate of the employees and inconvenient for fellow customers. Nobody wants to find a lukewarm carton of buttermilk among the potato chips.
Using Your Cell Phone with Reckless Abandon
From the time you step into the store, work hard to keep phone use minimal. While we’ll permit a call home to mom to ask which brand of ketchup she prefers for the meatloaf, keep your volume at an acceptable level (no speaker phone, please) and make it snappy. You can call her to catch-up on the way home. Additionally, don’t text and drive your cart; you’re bound to hit something or someone. And finally, unless you’re scanning digital coupons or a rewards code, don’t use your phone during checkout. Instead, engage with your cashier and ask them how their day is going. That’s a much better use of your time.
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