common courtesy, courtesy, Department store, foot traffic, Grocery store, politeness, public courtesy, Shopping, Shopping cart, shopping mall, stay to the right, staying to the right, walking on the right-hand side
Diatribe: When Did We Stop Staying To The Right?
I 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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