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Grocery wars

February 22, 2010

Let me paint you a picture.

I’m at the Giant where the lines are uncharacteristically long for the time of day it is. I settle in with a longish line; there are two people with overflowing carts in front of me. I remember that it is Easter candy time and think “oh shooter, I forgot to grab some of those Starburst jellybeans I love so much!” and quickly evaluate the pace of the cashier, the woman loading her groceries, and the size of the cart of the other woman in front of me. I decided I have ample time to run to the candy aisle and make it back before anything has progressed in lane 12.

Meanwhile, on my way (I was speed walking, as to return as quickly as possible to my place in line), I spot a woman who is wearing so much makeup and hair product I think she looks like a soap opera star (namely, the one below). I remember her distinctly. She is slowly meandering down the center walkway. I hurry by, thinking only of my destination and the purple jellybeans that would soon be in my tummy.

[The woman looked like this lady, except about 10 years older.]

When I return to my spot in line I know there is going to be trouble. From aisles away I can tell my cart has been pushed aside and that the Cruella above has completely cut me off.

Now, this is something I would totally understand under the following circumstances:

1. Said woman had less than 10 items.

2. I had been gone so long that it was definitely rude.

3. It would have been my turn in line, and I was not present, and thus the person behind me was justified in moving forward.

Not one of these criteria was met.

The original woman in front of me had just started her turn. Evil Cruella was just putting her first groceries up. I had been gone absolutely no more than 90 seconds.

Me: Excuse me, ma’am, I was in line. [I didn’t even say this with attitude. I promise.]

Ma’am: Yeah, but you were gone. For a LONG time. I have been here at least five minutes. [Said with so much attitude it rivaled how much lipstick was caked into her lips.]

Me: (small disbelief) No I wasn’t, I JUST passed you as I was getting a forgotten item. Like, 20 seconds ago. I remember this. [Still no attitude. Pinkie swear.]

Ma’am: Silence. Bitchily puts her groceries up and gives me looks.

Me: Wow, thanks for some courtesy. [OK, that I said with attitude.]

Awkwardness settles over the aisle. The girl behind me gives me an apologetic look. I stand there in disbelief, and continue to do so for the next 6 minutes, as that was how long it took for the evil woman to even get up to her turn.

OK. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to grab the jellybeans. Maybe that isn’t polite. But I was extremely conscious of my place in line, got shin splints from running so fast, and would have been back with a ridiculous amount of time before it was even time to load my groceries onto the conveyor belt. However, my main question is, when did we start being so rude to strangers?

I’m guilty of this too, I admit it. But when did we decide that our time is more important than anyone else’s? That where we have to be is more important than anyone else’s appointment? Well, duh, our time in line is more valuable than the rest of the world’s. And apparently, we’re so brazen that we unapologetically take back what we think is rightfully ours. Whatever happened to random acts of kindness, or even just random acts of politeness?

If I were in the same situation as the evil lady, I know for a fact I would not have eschewed someone’s cart. It’s happened to me before, and I’ve taken it as a painful exercise in patience. And, even if I did move ahead and the person returned, I would gladly relinquish their spot.

Boy. This lady was a different story. Can you tell I’m still upset about it?

Was I (forgive this horrible pun)….out of line?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 23, 2010 12:46 pm

    I agree with you 100%. The only time it is acceptable to go in front of an abandoned cart is when it has become their turn and they are not present. It’s not like you don’t know the person is coming back. How many times has someone said “SHOOT I’ve got to leave the grocery store IMMEDIATELY and leave all my groceries right here in line that I spent an hour gathering and I’m NEVER coming back for them. Too bad all these suckers will just wait behind my cart FOREVER.” ….?

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