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Diatribe: When Did We Stop Staying To The Right?

10/13/2013

StayRightI did a lot of shopping yesterday and I noticed a very peculiar thing.  People don’t “stay to the right” any more.

I grew up in a place and a time where “staying to the right” was simply how things were done.  When walking through a shopping mall, for example, foot traffic always mimicked street traffic … everyone proceeded on the right-hand side.  This procedure was particularly important when staircases were involved.  In my youth, this common courtesy was applied on sidewalks, in the aisles of grocery stores, pretty much anywhere that people walked in two directions.

Apparently, we no longer have to do this.

Yesterday’s shopping adventure taught me that folks today don’t follow the same protocol.  At the mall, they wandered willy nilly from one store to another, stopping and turning directions at random giving no thought whatsoever to the other shoppers walking behind them.  It was an endless game of “chicken” with each participant always wondering who would be the first to sidestep the other.

Later in the day I spent some time in a department store.  This particular “big box store” is one that offers its customers a shopping cart to push around the store as they gather their purchases.  The shopping carts, which in my youth would always stay to the right as they travelled in an orderly fashion up one aisle and down the next, could be found strewn about the store as if they had been abandoned along the roadside during a shopping apocalypse.  Some folks would park them in the middle of an aisle while others would double park in the same direction playing the same endless game of “chicken”.

I wonder where these people learned to interact in public.  Did they bump into each other in the hallways of their elementary schools?  Do they run into each other when they jog in the park?  It’s no wonder there are so many accidents on the highways when the simple courtesy of “staying to the right” is becoming a thing of the past.

Do YOU stay to the right?

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9 Comments
  1. Perhaps that changed when folks lost their minds and went so far right politically.

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  2. With so many mad scientists around here you never really know what dimension they are traveling in at any given moment.

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  3. Yes, I do stay to the right. What gets me is when the big box store’s employees use carts for re-stocking & then just abandon the carts where they were. Maybe they were called away to serve a customer – but take the cart with you instead of leaving them where they can clog up the aisles. I use an electric shopping cart (provided by the big box store) to do my shopping because of mobility issues & there are often times I cannot get to certain parts of the store because of the carts being used by the employees for re-stocking, etc.

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  4. I am constanty bumped into by people not watching where they are going, or I move to avoid them doing so. This is one reason I believe a jaywalker with an Iphone is worse than a driver with one.

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  5. I had not seen that. I am glad she is OK, but it is funny. Of course, the “what if” is what if it had been something more dangerous in front of her than a fountain.

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  6. You are supposed to walk towards oncoming traffic on a road so you don’t get clipped from behind, so walking down the side of the road where people drive on the right, should be on the left side. This might get a bit confusing for people who drive on the right most of the time, and walk very little, as they would naturally walk on the right, but people who walk a lot, and do so on the safe side, would normally walk on the left, but usually still pass on the right. Toss in a bunch of people migrating from left side driving countries, and the problem gets even worse.

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