Etiquette: Bringing Home the Bacon Edition

Have I mentioned that I love to cook? Cooking is science, but you can eat the outcome. It’s BRILLIANT. I have a love/hate relationship, however, with the grocery store. I love the process of building a menu and building a shopping list from that menu. I love the drive to the grocery store, full of possibilities. I love the smell of the produce department.

But when I leave, I’m exhausted.

This is because the process of actually shopping for groceries SUCKS. IT IS THE WORST. There are people everywhere, children running to and fro, and elderly persons who can’t read the tags. There are broken scanners left and right and reshelving going on during the busiest time of day. AND THEN you see the sheer length of the line you will have to go to in order to make your purchases. It’s enough to make this girl leave her cart behind.

However, I think with a few very simple guidelines, all this disaster could be avoided, and shopping could be a pleasant experience for us all!

#1: Know Your Grocery Store. Maybe you don’t know this, but all grocery stores are very different. Different chains have different vibes and setups, of course, but geography makes a KILLER difference when it comes to shopping. Here in rural Indiana, the aisles are wide, the price tags are clear, and everyone always has a moment to answer your questions. When I lived in Chicago, it was a totally different story. There was no WAY two carts could pass each other in the Jewel-Osco, each item had exactly one row on the shelf, and nobody was going to answer your questions. The difference being that space and time are at a high premium in the city. Adapt your tactics to your location. When I came back to Indiana and tried to use Chicago grocery techniques, I nearly had a temper tantrum. Why the hell was everyone moving so damned slow, and why didn’t anyone know how to use a self-scanner?! The problem was, of course, me, not anyone else, and I had to readjust my expectations to my location. So do you.

#2: Speaking of Those Self-Scanners”¦ I know there’s a lot of controversy about these things. They take away jobs from people who could do those jobs. I get it. But I can scan and pack my own groceries just as well as anyone else, and then I have FULL CONTROL. That having been said, if you’re not good at using these heaven-sent machines, don’t use them during busy times, say Saturday morning. Also, not a good idea if you have little kids. Said kids will be begging to use the scanner themselves, and you’ll have a hard time keeping track of those children while you’re trying to scan and bag your own groceries. You are not superwoman. We all know it. Don’t pretend to be. You’re just going to infuriate the rest of us who JUST WANT TO GO HOME. (My ice cream is probably melting.)

#3: Do Not Leave Your Cart Places. Not in aisles, not in the parking lot. Always return carts to their appropriate spots. Someone has to find that and put it away. Of course, there is an exception to every rule, and should an emergency come up, feel free to run away from your cart responsibilities. Just offer up a prayer of supplication to the cart gods. It’s not your fault you have to go to the bathroom so bad, after all.

#4: Put It Back. Do not leave the frozen vegetables in the cereal aisle just because you don’t want to buy them anymore. That’s a jerk move. Not only are you making more work, you’re probably just ruining food.

#5: It’s All In The Timing. Go grocery shopping at a time when it’s convenient for you and also empty in the building. I love going at eight o’clock on Friday night. Normal people have lives and are out living them. I can get everything done and avoid all annoyances. No elderly people trying to see the tag, no children sticking their heads out of the bottom of carts that I have to swerve to avoid, and no lines at the register. This avoids so much stress, it’s worth having to unpack groceries at 9:30. (This is not so much an etiquette tip as a life hack.)

So there you go. Some simple tips to make your life easier. Good luck, and happy shopping!

By amandamarieg

Amandamarieg is a lawyer who does not work as a lawyer. She once wrote up a plan to take over the world and turned it in as a paper for a college course. She only received an A-, because she forgot that she would need tech geeks to pull off her scheme.

6 replies on “Etiquette: Bringing Home the Bacon Edition”

Self-checkout is hell on earth with young kids. Every six months or so I try it with them in tow, and every time it has been a miserable experience. It’s always tempting though, becaause there are typically like three cashiers open, and the rest of the registers are self scan. So wait in line for 10 minutes with said kids, or try to self scan. For some reason, waiting in line for 10 minutes is acutally easier.

Actually, going to stores where only real live people check me out and maybe even bag my groceries is the best solution, I’ve discovered.

If you are too lazy to put your own items back, give them to the cashier! Most things go into a cart designated for that purpose, to be put back during slow times. And if it’s frozen, a bagger will get to take a much desired break to go run it back.

As a former Jewel-Osco cashier, I want to make everyone everywhere read this list.

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