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Diatribe: Don’t Be A Jerk At The Grocery Store And Expect Others To Wait In Line While You Send Your Kid On A Scavenger Hunt.


On my last trip to the supermarket I found myself in a checkout line behind a scatterbrained young mother with two children in tow.  One was a toddler riding in the basket of her shopping cart and the other was a little girl of about six who was, clearly, ready to go home.  The woman had stacked loads of groceries on the conveyor belt and discovered, as she unloaded the last few items from her buggy, that she had forgotten something.

At this point, the line behind her was three customers deep and I assumed that she would simply do without that item until her next trip to the grocer.  That’s certainly what I would have done.  But, no, this woman proceeded to give detailed instructions to her young daughter about how to find the item in Aisle Three and that it would be ok for her to ask someone for help if she couldn’t find it on her own.

My jaw hit the ground.

“Are you really going to make all of us stand here and wait for your little girl to go on a scavenger hunt in Aisle Three?” I thought to myself.  “Unless they sell Insulin or EpiPens on Aisle Three, I think you might be able to go without until your next trip.”

I’ve certainly found myself in a similar position, realizing that I’d overlooked something on my list, at the checkout, but I would never expect other customers to wait for me while I continue shopping.  I find this practice to be extremely rude and uncivilized.  But I choked back the desire to speak and quietly played a word game on my phone.

A minute or two passed and the shopper three carts behind me moved to another checkout line.  A little later the next person gave up and went to the self-checkout machine.  I was still stuck in the line between the inconsiderate woman (who refused to make eye contact with me) and an older lady who was enjoying extra time with the reading materials on display nearby as if she were in a library or a bookstore.  Eventually, Tabloid Grandma lost her patience, put her magazine down and moved to another line.  I was, finally, able to free myself.

The employees of this particular grocery store are always pleasant, efficient and helpful.  By the time it was my turn to pay for my things, all of the cashiers and baggers were aware of the situation.  Apparently, the shoppers who had been in line behind me had complained.

Much like a driver who misses an exit on the interstate and thinks that it’s perfectly fine to back up along the shoulder rather than take the next exit in order to turn around, this woman needs a reminder that the world is not revolving around her and that other people are involved.

When I finally left the store, the little girl had not yet returned from Aisle Three and the baby was starting to cry.  I feel quite certain that, when the kid finally did return, the mother whipped out a handful of coupons and started to write a check … oblivious to all those around her.

It might be time for me to consider shopping for groceries on line.

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From → Diatribes

  1. Becoming mobility challenged lately, I would love to order groceries online! I hate inconsiderate shoppers – the people who take something out of the freezer section & then just put it on a shelf somewhere else in the store to thaw because they’ve changed their mind, people who have too many items in the express checkout, people who don’t make sure their items are priced before they get to the checkout & need price checks all the time, etc., etc., etc. It’s a shame everyone is too polite to call these shoppers out or management to intervene to keep the “majority” of their shoppers happy (the ones who follow the rules & are considerate of their fellow shoppers).


    • I’m with you. And not just at grocery stores. One of my biggest pet peeves is the fact that I have to wait to give someone my money. When I’m ready to pay for a purchase I want to do it quickly and be on my way.

      I wish I had a dollar for every time I put NO COUPON CHECKOUT LANE in a suggestion box.

      People who utilize online grocery shopping sites like really seem to like it. Plus, if you add up the costs of driving, parking and time involved in shopping, the cost of delivery can sometimes be justified.

      For me, I still like to personally thump my melons … if you will … so I’ll continue to do my shopping in person. For now.


  2. I hate going to the grocery and believe it is a case of justifiable homicide waiting to happen. Like you, I keep my mouth shut, but one day I’m going to snap and you’re going to read about a woman in NJ who began ranting like a lunatic in the grocery store.


  3. You know what I love? Those people who stand there looking around the entire time the cashier is scanning their items, and then once they are told how much they owe, start rifling around in their wallets for their method of payment. Did they expect not to have to pay?! It’s the worst when they start writing out a check. They should have everything filled out except the amount by the time they are told their total – it’s not like they didn’t know where they were shopping!!


  4. This is so sooooo true! Some people are incredibly self-absorbed and inconsiderate like those people who knowingly bring tons of groceries into the express counter.

    That said, you know what’s worse? Leaving your kid to guard the groceries in the line while you run off to get whatever else you need. Your five-year-old kid, who doesn’t have a single cent in his pocket, just sh*tting himself as the register clerk starts to run out of items to scan.

    Trust me, that sh*t leaves emotional scars.


  5. You are correct this is rude behavior. The clerk should ask them to check out and go get afterwards as someone watches her cart. You reminded me of a tactic my brother who is a pharmacist in a supermarket uses. If someone is on the phone while waiting in line and wants to be served, he will skip over them and go to the next person. When the skipped person complains, he will tell the person it is unfair to make the people behind you wait while you are distracted on the phone. He will sometimes add I would do the same for you if you were behind such a person. He does it politely but firmly.


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