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Grocery Store Manners

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chocchipcookie Sep 7, 2008 06:06 AM

I was in Fresh Market yesterday, a saturday and kind of busy. Our store is dimly lit and the aisles are narrow. Why they build there stores that way I'll never know. Anyway, it seemed like everywhere I went, somebodyelse wanted to be there. I could not stand in front of the baking section without others hovering over my every move. I like to shop and I like to compare products. I do not like people staring at me waiting to get in the exact spot that I am in. It seemed to happen everywhere I went. So my question is, if you are shopping and someone is standing in front of the exact spot you need to be, do you stand there a few seconds and wait? Do you politely say excuse me if you are in a hurry? Or do you go and get other things needed and return later? A guy loudly cleared his throat while I was looking for some dressing. I ignored his behavior and kept my ground. Nobody says excuse me *politely* anymore and it just flips my lid.

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  1. LaLa Sep 7, 2008 06:16 AM

    Acutally you are suppose to move to the side let them get what they need and move on, then you can go on perusing.If you don't like to be rushed then I would try to shop on a less busy day. Of course I would say excuse me but I would flip my lid if I needed to grab something and someone did not allow you to get what you need .

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    1. re: LaLa
      chocchipcookie Sep 7, 2008 06:35 AM

      I do move to the side on a regular basis but the guy who cleared his throat pushed the wrong buttons. On the other side of the coin, I was waiting for a little old lady to pick out her bacon. She was there for a long time and I decided to move on, then I forgot my bacon! So I probably should have said something to her.....

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      1. re: LaLa
        Scargod Sep 8, 2008 11:11 AM

        "Acutally you are suppose to move to the side let them get what they need and move on"
        Says who? Martha Stewart? I am mindful of how long I take and if others are waiting, but I wonder where you get your "suppose to" from?

        I still don't know the "best time" to shop. If I go early, the old people, who are really slow, are clogging the isles (in a manner of speaking), and the meats are not out yet.... Noon seems to be good, but then I'm hungry, and that a bad way to shop (plus, I am usually fixing lunch)!
        Are there any charts for when to shop, based on your location, age, needs and irritability quotient?

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        1. re: Scargod
          q
          queencru Sep 8, 2008 11:19 AM

          I've found through my experience that Sunday morning before 9:30 is the best time, especially for the stores that open at 8. The shelves are usually stocked still (Sunday night and Mondays are the pits!) and there aren't many people there yet because they're still in church or asleep from the previous night's reveling. The sale items aren't usually as picked through either since the circulars usually come out on Sundays.

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          1. re: queencru
            Scargod Sep 8, 2008 11:41 AM

            Well, carp! I'll just have to miss my cartoons and give it a try. SO will be PO'd too if I leave the bed that early. I do have to do all the shopping, so she'll just have to like it or lump it!
            I'm just worried about the choices of meats and fowl. In some instances they seem to have a supply to restock from regardless of whether there are any butchers working or not. Very often the shades are drawn on my Stop n Shop butcher's department.

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            1. re: Scargod
              q
              queencru Sep 8, 2008 11:49 AM

              The meat issue can be a problem, unfortunately. My parents have always used that time as their shopping time and sometimes have to visit more than one place to get the meat they want. Even at my 10:30 visit this week it seemed like the butcher/fish area was sorely lacking (e.g. no one there).

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            2. re: queencru
              LindaWhit Sep 8, 2008 05:50 PM

              Most circulars in my area (Boston area) start their sales on Fridays (although one, Market Basket, has their sales starting on Sunday). So things have to be restocked after the Saturday cleanout.

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            3. re: Scargod
              LaLa Sep 8, 2008 05:54 PM

              I am sorry maybe I should have said common sense would suggest one should move to the side to allow others to continue to shop while you are lollygagging..

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            4. re: LaLa
              jfood Sep 9, 2008 05:03 AM

              "Acutally you are suppose to move to the side let them get what they need and move on, then you can go on perusing"...ah No. what is the shopper supposed to be an owl popping his head left and right? If someone would like the red dressing as jfood is reading the lable a simple excuse me works every time. Never been a problem.

              And jfood can only shop when it's convenient to others? again, don;t think so.

              Jfood sets his pace when he shops as others do. If they need the red dressing they can say excuse me, if jfood wants to look at the bacon while someone else is doing likewise, then he waits his turn.

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              1. re: jfood
                LaLa Sep 12, 2008 09:20 AM

                my post did include saying excuse me,maybe it is because I am Southern but why in the world would someone want to hold up another that is in a hurry when you cant make up your mind....that is just strange.

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                1. re: LaLa
                  jfood Sep 12, 2008 10:24 AM

                  jfood is sorry he misunderstood, but your original response was alitle confusing. If you are saying that if while you are reading a lable someone says excuse me, of course jfood would move to the side while he does his research. But if you are saying that jfood needs to anticipate that the lady coming down the aisle wants something exactly in front of jfood and should move to the side before the excuse me, he cannot agree because he is not clairvoyant.

                  What is a little troubling are the people who say excuse me as they are pushing you out of the way. they should state it, you can respond by moving and then they can get their red dressing.

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                  1. re: jfood
                    iluvtennis Sep 12, 2008 10:37 AM

                    I didn't find her post all that confusing. She used the words "OF COURSE i would say excuse me." No, clairvoyance shouldn't be expected, but a general awareness of your surroundings should be. It's common courtesy.

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                    1. re: iluvtennis
                      jfood Sep 12, 2008 11:46 AM

                      "Of course" suggests that it is the exception not the rule to jfood. Different linguistic interpretaion maybe
                      .
                      So jfood assumed (he's an economist by training) that the "rule" was that while reading a jar, one must also be aware that others may want to grab something in that 2-foot linear space and therefore should move out of the way or stop lollygagging.

                      But if jfood is not blocking the flow of traffic down the asle with plenty of room for others to go behind him then he should not have to interupt his reading to look at every person coming down the aisle in anticipation of them wanting an item in that small space.

                      Once the fellow shopper says "excuse me" then he always looks up, smiles and moves aside.

                      BTW - Saying excuse me is the essence of of common courtesy. No disagreement there.

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            5. LindaWhit Sep 7, 2008 06:51 AM

              I'm one of those bizarro people that, 95% of the time, I love to grocery shop...especially in a new-to-me store. So I do both - if someone is right in front of what I'm looking to get and I can't reach it easily without an "excuse me" I do wait for a few seconds to see if they'll move on or notice me waiting. If not, then I'll say "excuse me," get what I want, and then move down the aisle.

              What I can't stand is those people who park their cart in the middle of the aisle, walk 20 paces away, and then when you go to move it so *you* can get by, come rushing back with an accusatory look like you're stealing their cart. Ummmm, no - I just want to move past your center-of-the-aisle cart!

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              1. re: LindaWhit
                kiwiFRUIT Sep 7, 2008 10:29 AM

                Last week at my local supermarket I came across a cart parked in the middle of the aisle with no way around it, with a CHILD inside it. No parents to be seen anywhere, and the whole aisle blocked. I wish I could say I found this surprising, but I've given up on common sense and manners from the general population.
                If you wouldn't leave your car in the middle of street with your child in it, why leave your cart in a supermarket aisle?

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                1. re: kiwiFRUIT
                  b
                  bulavinaka Sep 7, 2008 12:27 PM

                  I use driving rules as a general rule in the supermarket, and I do mutter the words to others when they violate these rules, particularly to those who park in the middle of the "road," and for those who leave their kids unattended. I used to work in the supermarket industry and the worst experience was when a kid left in an unattended cart stood up and fell to the floor head-first. It sounded just like a watermelon cracking open. With that experience, I don't pull back when parents are negligent - they just don't get the seriousness of this issue.

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                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    p
                    PrincessBakesALot Sep 14, 2008 06:02 PM

                    I turned the corner at my local Shaw's today just in time to see a small boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old, SKATEBOARDING full speed down the long back main aisle, pushing a shopping cart. No adult in sight. I was stunned, to say the least. I later saw him go back by, skateboard in cart, going full speed by running and putting his feet up on the cart. Still no adult in sight. It's a miracle someone didn't get hit!

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                2. re: LindaWhit
                  scubadoo97 Sep 11, 2008 07:08 PM

                  Almost as bad as stopping in the middle is when one person stops on one side and another stops on the other side. This make the aisle impassable. If they would only stagger one could make their way around. Another is parking on one side while you look at items directly across aisle. Same situation as two carts side by side, no one can pass.

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                3. q
                  queencru Sep 7, 2008 06:57 AM

                  I've had problems on both sides. I hate the tailgaters- you know, the ones who follow so close behind you that you fear they will ram into you if you dare stop. I had to "pull over" to a different produce area last week because of a tailgater and it really annoyed me to no end. I should be able to roll my cart at my pace (which is usually brisk) without someone barreling down on me.

                  There are also the people who stop their carts in the middle of the aisle instead of the side to browse. Most of the stores I visit have wide enough aisles for two carts to pass each other, so there is no reason for this behavior. If you want to browse, pull over to let others pass. I am okay with people lingering, as long as they don't prevent me from passing.

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                  1. re: queencru
                    diablo Sep 14, 2008 11:10 AM

                    LOL, queencru. You reminded me of my best grocery store meltdown. I was being tailgated so closely by this woman that she rammed me in the back of the ankles with her cart. Hard. I stop, turn around, and give her "the look". "Sorry", she sneers at me. Okay. I continue down the aisle with her still following and SHE DOES IT AGAIN! Now, I'm aware that there are children nearby so I don't unleash the torrent of expletives that I am sooo longing to. I do, however, make up for it with the sheer volume of my voice. I don't remember what I said exactly, but it involved the words "rude" and "ignorant", and ended with me making a sweeping gesture down the aisle in front of me and yelling for everyone to "let the Queen of Egypt through or lose the skin on the back of your ankles." Ridiculous.

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                  2. k
                    KevinB Sep 7, 2008 07:34 AM

                    To me, this is the same problem I encounter at magazine stores; someone decides it's a library, and stands there, reading an article, while making it impossible for me to see if the magazine I want has come in. My advice in both situations is the same: STAND BACK! I don't object to someone reading labels at the grocery (I do it all the time), or comparing prices, or whatever, but for heaven's sake, take a step back so others can get in.

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                    1. re: KevinB
                      chocchipcookie Sep 7, 2008 07:46 AM

                      Agree, If I am reading labels, believe me I am out of the way. But when I am trying to find something, it is kind of hard standing back. I guess my point of this post is that I encounter many people lacking etiquette (sp?) Most of the time I have to shop with my kids. One rides in the cart, the other has to look out for her life. Nobody says excuse me when she is in their way, so I am always telling her she is going to get run over in earshot. I usually have her right in front of me but that is cumbersome. What has happened to manners!

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                      1. re: chocchipcookie
                        h
                        HillJ Sep 7, 2008 08:09 AM

                        chocchipc, when I shop with my younger children they are the "excuse me police" - I focus on the shopping, they use their voices and kindly but clearly handle the excuse mes. You'd be amazed how well that works.

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                        1. re: HillJ
                          chocchipcookie Sep 7, 2008 08:19 AM

                          That is a GREAT idea. I will put that to use immediately! Don't know why it is hard for them to say that to strangers.

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                        2. re: chocchipcookie
                          k
                          KevinB Sep 7, 2008 08:23 AM

                          If you're clearly looking for something, that's one thing. But what really gets me is the people who are searching the shelves while their cart is in front of them, jammed up against the shelves, so they are not only blocking the space where they are searching, they're taking up another 3-4 feet in front or behind them.

                          I agree with you; manners and consideration seem to have vanished.

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                          1. re: KevinB
                            flourgirl Sep 8, 2008 09:03 AM

                            I know grocery shopping can be a frustratung experience sometimes, even for those of us who generally like doing it. But I'm just wondering what you expect someone to do with their cart if they're trying to find something on a shelf? Balance it on their head? Most grocery stores I've been in don't have very wide aisles. So if your cart ISN'T jammed up against the shelves, then the only alternative is for it to be in the middle of the aisle, blocking through-traffic. Either way I guess you're going to piss off somebody.

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                            1. re: flourgirl
                              rockandroller1 Sep 8, 2008 09:18 AM

                              Obviously if everyone did this, it wouldn't work, but where I shop NOBODY does this but me: I leave the cart at the end of the aisle up against the endcap display. The endcaps are plenty big enough for people to get something from if they want, and it allows me to move freely up and down the aisle without having to worry about bumping in to people's carts or taking up too much room with my own. I grab the things I need going up and down the aisle then come back to the cart, dump them in and push on to the next endcap. Even when I am taking my time, it streamlines the process so much and cuts down on the "cart frustration" (mine or other people's) so much, it's the only way I do it now.

                              Edited to add: obviously this wouldn't work if you have a child in the cart, agree you shouldn't leave them unattended.

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                              1. re: rockandroller1
                                Catskillgirl Sep 8, 2008 10:33 AM

                                Or your pocketbook! I find that that's why I lug the cart around - my purse is in the child seat with my shopping list and any coupons I want to use sitting out in plain view.

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                                1. re: Catskillgirl
                                  rockandroller1 Sep 8, 2008 01:50 PM

                                  Well certainly your pocketbook. I don't take one too the store - why risk it getting ripped off? I just bring the cash or card I intend to use, my ID, and my list and put it in a tiny embroidered pouch I wear over my shoulder.

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                                2. re: rockandroller1
                                  j
                                  James Cristinian Sep 8, 2008 02:50 PM

                                  That's how I shop too, but I don't necessarily leave it at the end. I usually leave it where no one else is, that way they can move it if need be. It leaves me free to easily navigate the aisle and stay out of other peoples way. The worst is when someone stands next to their cart blocking the entire aisle; or when two people stop for an extended conversation blocking everything around them. It's kind of like when two drivers have a chance encounter on the street and block access while chatting away. Some people are totally oblivious to their surroundings or simply don't care if they incovenience others.

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                                  1. re: rockandroller1
                                    Scargod Sep 8, 2008 04:20 PM

                                    I very often leave my cart or hand basket somewhere, out of the way, and look for things on nearby isles. There is a slight risk. Once, but only once, my basket was taken, but the alert stocker realized I was looking for it and retrieved it for me. I don't see the point in toting all that weight around, or as you suggest, getting in others way with your cart, all the time.
                                    Glad you brought this up! Perhaps I should use a little note: NO, I haven't abandoned my groceries!

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                                    1. re: rockandroller1
                                      s
                                      shaebones Sep 9, 2008 01:43 AM

                                      I do that too! :)

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                                      1. re: rockandroller1
                                        flourgirl Sep 10, 2008 04:40 AM

                                        Unattended carts have a way of disappearing in my regular grocery store too. I regularly hear announcements over the PA requesting that shoppers check their carts to see if they walked away with someone else's groceries. :)

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                                        1. re: flourgirl
                                          rockandroller1 Sep 10, 2008 07:18 AM

                                          This is odd to me. How much time could you possibly spend in one aisle? I move the cart to the endcap, walk up the aisle, get what I need, come back. It's like maybe 1 minute max before I'm at my cart again. It's not like the cart is abandoned for an hour.

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                                          1. re: rockandroller1
                                            MMRuth Sep 10, 2008 07:24 AM

                                            I do the same thing, and have never had my cart disappear however, once, I, very embarrasingly, ended up at the checkout counter with someone else's cart.

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                                          2. re: flourgirl
                                            j
                                            James Cristinian Sep 10, 2008 12:03 PM

                                            I had an unattended cart disappear at a retail location I was working at over fifteen years ago. A couple of ladies were shopping in the area I was working in, like a couple of pigs, leaving stuff on the floor, wrecking diplays, etc. When they weren't looking I made their cart vanish in a far off part of the store, took a nice long break, and never felt better. Now realize this is from a guy who goes out of his way to be courteous to other shoppers and store employees. If I drop something on the floor I put it back label faced out, if they are out of my favorite product I don't get all huffy and demand to see a manager. My point is, treat the shoppers and employees with respect, especially employees, while it is their job to pick up after you, you can certainly make it easier on them.

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                                        2. re: flourgirl
                                          b
                                          bulavinaka Sep 8, 2008 07:42 PM

                                          Leave your cart in front of the dead zones that exist in just about every aisle. Vinegars, canned yams, greeting cards, picnic goods, etc. Just about every aisle has a section of stuff that doesn't have a lot of turnover, depending on the time of day, the season, etc. Another good place is at the end of an aisle, where a corner is formed where the back of end displays overlaps.

                                          Ladies, please don't leave your purses in the cart - pros will grab and go in one or two seconds. The tail you from afar, check out your shopping MO, and hit you as your reaching down or turn your back on the cart. They practice this - it's their job...

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                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                            n
                                            NE_Elaine Sep 9, 2008 04:22 AM

                                            I usually put my purse in the seat area and then I take a carabiner clip and clip the purse to the cart. I don't tempt fate by walking away from the cart for any length of time, but noone is going to walk by and grab my purse without taking the cart with them.

                                            BTW - make sure that your wallet is inside your purse and the purse is securely closed.

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                                            1. re: NE_Elaine
                                              Catskillgirl Sep 9, 2008 08:47 AM

                                              What a wonderful idea! I love it and will implement it. Thanks!

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                                              1. re: Catskillgirl
                                                n
                                                NE_Elaine Sep 12, 2008 12:25 PM

                                                I am glad you liked it. I started using a carabiner just to clip my keys inside my purse to speed up locating them and then, one day, just decided to clip my bag to the cart. So far, it has worked rather well.

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                                            2. re: bulavinaka
                                              flourgirl Sep 10, 2008 04:47 AM

                                              Thank you for your helpful tip, but I don't need to leave my cart anywhere. I've been doing this a long time and rarely have to stop for long - but if I do, and someone needs something from the shelf that I am stopped in front of, all they have to do is say "excuse me" and I will get out of their way with a smile.

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                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                l
                                                lagatta Sep 14, 2008 05:25 AM

                                                They also steal leather gloves - mine weren't even new. Be warned.

                                                It is sort of like university libraries, great targets for thieves because scholars are so utterly concentrated on their research. And now we take our laptops there...

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                                          2. re: chocchipcookie
                                            Boudleaux Sep 7, 2008 08:46 AM

                                            I understand what you mean chocchipcookie and I agree. I've actually received strange looks when I say "excuse me" when I walk in front of someone who is looking at something on the shelves (they are standing back away from the shelves to get a wider view). They aren't in my way but I've walked in front of them and I was taught to say excuse me. If I see someone trying to get to the shelves I'm in front of or if I have blocked someone's path with my buggy, I generally say something like "Oh, I'm sorry" and most of the time I get a "oh, you're fine I just want to grab this...". It seems to turn the situation around. But I hate it when people see me (patiently) waiting to get to an item or pass by and they've blocked whatever it is and just don't care. The guy clearing his throat? Well, I like to kill them with kindness.

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                                            1. re: Boudleaux
                                              LindaWhit Sep 7, 2008 04:03 PM

                                              The guy clearing his throat? Well, I like to kill them with kindness.
                                              ~~~~~~~~~~
                                              "Oh, sounds like you have a BAD cold! You can find Airborne, Nyquil and Alka Seltzer in Aisle 11!" ;-)

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                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                Boudleaux Sep 7, 2008 06:09 PM

                                                Ha! Yes, exactly! :)

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                                          3. re: KevinB
                                            jfood Sep 9, 2008 05:07 AM

                                            Fair point K but where does one "stand back" to? if the aisle has products on both sides then your back is to the products behind you and someone may want the granola, which your back is now to, thinking someone may want the red dressing.

                                            If you are talking about one product aisles, like magazine racks, jfood totally agrees, if you want t o peruse, then allow others to approach the rack.

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                                            1. re: jfood
                                              Scargod Sep 9, 2008 08:40 AM

                                              You are supposed to do the two-step shuffle, the grocery store trot, or as my tennis coach says,"always keep your feet moving!"

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                                          4. m
                                            malibumike Sep 7, 2008 08:33 AM

                                            The problem I've had is invariably two women shooting the breeze completely blocking the isle with their carts so that you have to say excuse me and then they look at you like you are imposing on them, very rude.

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                                            1. h
                                              HillJ Sep 7, 2008 09:50 AM

                                              Don't even get me started on the cell phone chatter. In the aisle, glaring at a can and asking the person on the other end of the phone if they need two cans or four....and then when you ask...I mean whisper... them to step aside so you can grab your can and go you get the "I'm on a call" look.

                                              People, manners aren't the only thing missing--how about common sense.

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                                                paprkutr Sep 7, 2008 12:56 PM

                                                What about what I just encountered, standing in the checkout line and the person in front of me forgot something and ran to the back of the store, and I had to wait until she came back. The cashier was already done ringing up the order, so we had to wait.

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                                                  smartie Sep 7, 2008 02:14 PM

                                                  nothing to do with manners but why is it always the last item to be checked out that doesn't have a price, or the barcode doesn't work??? Then they gotta flag someone down and run to the furtherst part of the store to find a duplicate? It's never the first item or else you really need that item and just have to wait.

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                                                    purple bot Sep 7, 2008 05:05 PM

                                                    Grocery store manners? I've got a great one for you. Years ago, shopping in a not-very-busy store, as I get toward the end I realized I had forgotten to get something way back at the beginning. Instead of taking the whole cart with me, I parked it and walked back, got what I needed (all of 60 seconds, 90 at most) and returned to my cart. It was GONE. I figured someone took it accidentally, but no one was around. As I'm standing there, trying to figure out what happened, I start to notice my groceries tucked into the shelves around me. That's right -- you guessed it -- someone wanted a cart, but couldn't be bothered to get their own, so they unloaded mine and took it. I had witnessed bad manners at this store before (people eating food and abandoning it when done so as not to have to pay) but never expected this. The height of laziness! I never went back, even though this is by far the closest store to me.

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                                                    1. Boccone Dolce Sep 7, 2008 05:39 PM

                                                      I say 'excuse me' if someone is staring at a shelf from a distance and I walk between them and the shelf. If they are parked in front of what I need and clearly have set up camp, I'll pause and after a minute if they still are zombie, I will say something like "Excuse me, I really hate to disturb you but I just want that jar of honey right there..."
                                                      Stay FAR away from Super Walmart on a weekend morning if you like to take your time! I keep saying I hate to go but sometimes I have no choice and find myself there.
                                                      The people stream in the front doors like it's Disney- the aisles are blocked, no one is moving and you take your life in your hands just turning corners with a cart. They have about 80 motorized carts, and I try to give those folks the right of way and usually ask if they need a hand when they have to stand to grab something. But really the only time I hear 'Excuse me' is when it's coming out of my own mouth. I admit to zoning out sometimes trying to decide if I really need a 10 lb can of Peter Pan for $7 and suddenly there are hands reaching around me to grab things. That snaps me back to earth!

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                                                      1. re: Boccone Dolce
                                                        Sam Fujisaka Sep 7, 2008 06:33 PM

                                                        Two reasons I would move back to the US: better supermarket manners (check out the supermarket manners of the entitled classes here in Colombia) and $7 for a 10 lb can of peanut butter!!!!!

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                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                          Passadumkeg Sep 9, 2008 04:55 AM

                                                          On the other hand, I really miss "pop a top again" in Bolivian supermarkets. Sipping a cold beer while I shopped seemed so relaxing. there were so few entitled class tin that poor country the supermarkets were nearly empty. Now the open air markets, that's a trip! By the way, we had an excellent locally produced organic peanut butter in Santa Cruz.
                                                          Vive Evo Morales!

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                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                            Sam Fujisaka Sep 9, 2008 06:48 AM

                                                            But I get irritated when I see an empty beer can somewhere on one of the shelves. The truly entitled in Bolivia and Colombia don't do their own shopping.

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                                                      2. c
                                                        chefbeth Sep 7, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                        :: standing up and clearing throat :: My name is chefbeth and I have an "aisle rage" problem. Thank you :: sitting down::

                                                        To see me in a supermarket, you wouldn't know it, as I appear to be unfailingly polite, cheerful and patient. But inside I am doing that old Boys in the Hall (I think) routine of "I am squishing your head, I am SQUISHING your HEAD."

                                                        Ahem.

                                                        I usually end up in a grocery store at least once a day, sometimes twice -- last minute orders, a brilliant eleventh hour specials idea, whatever. I know the exact layout of every grocery store within ten miles of my business, and my goal is to get in and out in as little time as possible so that I can go back to being productive.

                                                        Label shopping? Recipe-dreaming? No problem! I will wait a little bit, then ask you if it's okay if I grab a few apples from the display you're standing in front of. I'm invading your personal space, so it's only right for me to ask -- and if you have any sense of what's going on around you, you realize I've been standing there while you dream of pies or your family's long lost orchard or whatever. Seriously, no problem. I've been there.

                                                        Shopping with one or two or three little kids? No problem. I can see that this isn't easy for you, and since I don't normally need stuff from the cookie or cereal aisle, I rarely have to bear witness to what I know are your most challenging areas of the store. It's not like you can leave them in the car, and if they're under school age, you don't have a moment to yourself. I get it. I will backtrack out of the aisle if there's a full-blown temper tantrum in force (yours or the child's), but I think no less of you (as long as there's no hitting or foul language). Being a parent is hard work, and you've got to feed 'em, so . . .

                                                        Here are some of my questions. Why would anyone take the entire family grocery shopping? Kids, mom, dad, grandparents, cousins, etc.? You block the ENTIRE aisle while everyone argues about what kind of bread ya'll want to eat. "Well, rye is better toast, but I like wheat for sandwiches." Aint Lu pipes up, "Ah cain't even think about wakin' up if ah don't git my Inglish Muffin," which ticks off Cousin Arnold to now end, going, "What the heck's the matter with good ol fashioned white bread. We're Americans, dagnabit!" And it's on. Family Feud in aisle 7! And there I am with my little basket stuck in supermarket traffic while the Hatfields and McCoys try to figure out which loaf of bread they're going to ante up for. Steam starts pouring out my ears, but I stay quiet because I know there's nothing these people would like more than a showdown with a random girl in a chef coat. That would bring them all together! Not worth it. Besides, Aint Lu looks like she might be packing.

                                                        So I extricate myself, eventually, to the meat section where, inevitably, Cindy the gossip queen has cornered the latest victim of her husband's many affairs. Cindy is VERY polite, but I can see that she's boxed in her target with her grocery cart and there's no way for me to get by, but I refuse to witness this little scene. Cindy is going on about her adorable children, her strict workout schedule and her upcoming "romantic" vacation to Venice while she presides over her cart full of grains and vegetables (no meat anywhere!) to her husband's secretary while she wilts over a buggy stocked with wine and frozen dinners.

                                                        I can't figure out who I'm more disgusted with, so I flee back to produce and try to weave my way through the backed-up checkout lines to the dairy department to pick up some eggs (can't beleive I forgot to order those) and some plain yogurt (tzatziki seemed like such a good idea) and run smack into the hungry ice cream ghosts. These are men or women who linger fondly in front of the freezer case, their laden carts blocking almost every foot of access to the refrigerator case on the other side of the aisle. They don't buy -- they can't. They're either lactose intolerant, diabetic, or feel like they're too fat to actually purchase the sweet of their choice, but they can't resist checking out every new flavor, every frozen nuance of the forbidden fruit of their choice. In the meantime I can't reach the flippin' eggs without moving one of their carts.

                                                        So. I make it to the checkout line, having spent far longer in this circle of he** than I'd ever intended. All of the regular lines are backed up -- but hey, there's this newfangled "self-checkout" line!

                                                        Okay, I've put you folks through enough. I won't detail the horror of going through a self-check line with fifteen unmarked produce items. I won't do it, I tell you, I won't! If you've been there, you know. If you haven't, then you won't believe me.

                                                        I'll tell you this, though. There's nothing like having your picture on the cover of a(albeit, small and local) magazine that will keep you from screaming obscenities in public. That's why I'm venting here.

                                                        Ahem. ::my name is chefbeth . . . "

                                                        20 Replies
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                                                        1. re: chefbeth
                                                          LindaWhit Sep 8, 2008 09:30 AM

                                                          This. Is. Classic. :-D

                                                          chefbeth, while I sympathize with you (although I've never run into ALL of what you've described all in the same shopping trip!), I had to laugh. You put into words so succinctly the frustration of supermarket shopping on a Saturday at noontime, before a blizzard in New England, or right before dinnertime on any given weekday. :-)

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                                                          1. re: chefbeth
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                                                            HillJ Sep 8, 2008 09:43 AM

                                                            chefbeth, I think you've got a "make a million for revealing bad grocery store behavior" reality show in your head..time to call the food networks!

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                                                            1. re: chefbeth
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                                                              KevinB Sep 8, 2008 10:16 AM

                                                              Kids in the Hall.

                                                              "I'm CRUSHING your head"

                                                              I know how you feel, though.

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                                                              1. re: KevinB
                                                                LindaWhit Sep 8, 2008 10:21 AM

                                                                SQUISHING makes a much better sound, tho. ;-)

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                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                  chocchipcookie Sep 9, 2008 10:41 PM

                                                                  I still knew exactly what ChefBeth meant. And I am going to try it. Squishing and Crushing both the man who clears his throat and the entire family blocking the aisle. Thanks for the laugh!

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                                                              2. re: chefbeth
                                                                Catskillgirl Sep 8, 2008 10:43 AM

                                                                Wonderful post! Brings back awful memories of Friday evenings in our only supermarket on any summer weekend... you don't want to go there. You really don't. I've seen fist-fights when tempers start to flare.

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                                                                1. re: chefbeth
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                                                                  givemecarbs Sep 8, 2008 11:39 AM

                                                                  Awesome post! He he!

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                                                                  1. re: chefbeth
                                                                    Scargod Sep 8, 2008 12:09 PM

                                                                    Wonderful post. I hope you write on the side (and sell some of it).
                                                                    A few days ago I had one of your experiences and I thought I might need the help of a shrink or group therapy.... One was an old man and a teenage boy... probably about 14. Every time the old man picked something up the kid would tell him it was wrong. Wrong flavor, wrong color, unpopular, crappy; whatever. Not only was the kid getting on his nerves, he was getting on my nerves, too. They clogged the isles and argued incessantly. The place was packed. Kids ran everywhere. People pushing their carts around like they were the only one in the store. And wait! I think this one's experiencing the rapture, or perhaps just on drugs; anyway I can't get by and can't get them to move. What a zoo!
                                                                    I think this was a rare occasion where I went to the store on a Saturday afternoon of a holiday weekend. I am usually smarter than that!
                                                                    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I wished they had beer on tap or something like that, in grocery stores, for these special occasions. Perhaps a station where you could get a little whiff of nitrous... or a cattle prod.

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                                                                    1. re: chefbeth
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                                                                      lhb78 Sep 8, 2008 02:28 PM

                                                                      Personally, I loath the self-checkout "lady." She's got a bit of an attitude. I try to scan my customer card before she says "welcome valued shopper" and then scramble trying to scan and pack bags so I don't get "the packing area is full" or "if you are finished shopping..." Sure, it is more convenient but the automated voice drives me insane.

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                                                                      1. re: lhb78
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                                                                        givemecarbs Sep 8, 2008 04:59 PM

                                                                        Heh. I feel the same way about the one at our local Giant. John and I end up shopping late at nite there when self-check out is the only option. I was talking back to the automated voice once about two am with John. Every time she said something I would yell die die! I hadn't even been drinking. There was no one around but us and the guy monitering us. He thought it was pretty fun and then gave us some advice. Since we knew the drill so well why didn't we use the spanish option, a male with a much softer voice speaking in spanish. Next time John and I tried it and liked it a lot better. Plus John was mad at his parents for going to Cancun without him and I got to say that he should cheer up. Using the spanish language self check out was just as good as a vacation in Cancun. He gave me a funny look for some reason.

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                                                                      2. re: chefbeth
                                                                        NovoCuisine Sep 8, 2008 07:32 PM

                                                                        chefbeth, I love your posts!

                                                                        ....All these stories make me glad I have the luxury of shopping at small markets on a regular basis; only picking up a few things in a handbasket, and able to easily bypass slower shoppers. The last time I was lent a car and took it to a supermarket, my mind went crazy.. how the HECK am I supposed to know what I'll want to eat two days from now, let alone a week? I put the cart away, drove home, poured myself a glass of wine and reminded myself why I don't drive or do supermarkets with a shopping cart.

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                                                                        1. re: NovoCuisine
                                                                          flourgirl Sep 10, 2008 04:54 AM

                                                                          HA! I loved your post! This is exactly how I feel. I do shop at a Supermarket and sometimes even use a cart, but I rarely shop for food for more than a day or two ahead. (Except for stuff on sale that I can freeze, etc.) We live very close to the market so I make frequent trips. I never know what I'm going to feel like cooking and eating more than a couple of days ahead, I need to see what's fresh and reasonably priced and our schedules change a lot so dinner plans have to be flexible.

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                                                                          1. re: flourgirl
                                                                            NovoCuisine Sep 11, 2008 06:46 PM

                                                                            Glad someone understands ;) The man and I are so busy that food purchased in advance usually just goes to waste. Poor guy gets more food from my culinary classes lately, to be honest.. lol.

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                                                                        2. re: chefbeth
                                                                          jfood Sep 9, 2008 05:15 AM

                                                                          PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                          And lets not forget those little darlings with the mini carts practicing for the next NASCAR event. And as they fly out of the aisle and crash into your parked cart.

                                                                          And another news flash, the little cart are for the kids, and the carts with the baby baskets that are attached are for parents with babies, not for those who are too lazy to get their own "adult" cart.

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                                                                          1. re: jfood
                                                                            im_nomad Sep 10, 2008 09:40 AM

                                                                            I have never, ever understood why there was any need for those little "mini" carts for the kids in various stores, not just grocery stores. I've come close to losing an ankle once or twice. Don't get me started on those big green plastic monstrosities that i seem to see in more stores now.

                                                                            my store has smaller, one level carts for when you don't need a big grocery order. I'm also liking the wheelie basket options in some stores, instead of using the plastic basket over an arm which leaves a nasty gouge there.

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                                                                            1. re: im_nomad
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                                                                              jlafler Sep 10, 2008 11:00 PM

                                                                              I don't even want to think about what would happen if I let my daughter loose in a store with one of those kiddie carts. Oh, the wreckage that would ensue!

                                                                              What I want is a hand basket that can be slung from the handles of a stroller. When I walk to the store with my daughter in her stroller, I have several options, none of them ideal: 1) Stash the stroller somewhere and put my daughter in the grocery cart while we shop, 2) keep my daughter in the stroller and use one hand for the hand basket and one to steer the stroller around the store, or 3) hang my own canvas bag from the stroller handles and shop into that, which feels disreputable and makes me worry that I'm going to be accused of shoplifting.

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                                                                              1. re: jlafler
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                                                                                miss_bennet Sep 11, 2008 11:46 PM

                                                                                I grocery store nearish to me (not the closest) has these new carts that are like suitcases. They have long handles and wheels, as well as a normal handle. I love them.

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                                                                          2. re: chefbeth
                                                                            alkapal Sep 14, 2008 08:10 AM

                                                                            chef beth, i get it!

                                                                            here's what kills me: clue-LESS parents pushing a cart AND two kiddies with THEIR little "customers in training" carts like aimless satellites around a mothership. when i see them on the horizon, i feel my cart whipping into a u-turn with several "g"s pulling on my wine bottles. ALL i wanted was a nice bag of bell peppers from the produce area, but i dare not venture there.. it is near the bakery area: "tommy, what flavor do you want? this one has cherry filling, this one has banana filling, THIS one has strawberry and kiwi filling? tommy: "mom, can't we get some of that cake over there?" well tommy, let's see if missy here can make up her mind. missy? missy? oh, come back over here! missy! dar-ling! come here, sweetheart. which donut do you want? <missy leaving her "junior cart" in middle of aisle> "i want cake if tommy's getting cake. why can tommy have cake? <hoo, pthoo, ooooo> "mommmmmeeeeee!"

                                                                            oh, uh, chefbeth, where is the aisle rage group meeting next week?

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                                                                            1. re: alkapal
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                                                                              chefbeth Sep 14, 2008 05:20 PM

                                                                              Hey, Pal! Let's meet in the laundry detergent aisle at midnight on Tuesday. That's got to be the least-populated area in the store, expecially at that hour. Bring your own folding chairs -- I'll bring the punch and cookies! And don't worry about a table. We can just stack up the big boxes of detergent and make our own.

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                                                                              1. re: chefbeth
                                                                                alkapal Sep 15, 2008 03:32 AM

                                                                                no, let's change venue to the snacks aisle, maybe near doritos? the detergent aisle makes my eyes water!

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                                                                          3. Richard 16 Sep 8, 2008 01:07 AM

                                                                            I used to be shy, but since I started doing performance magic, that's not nearly as much of a problem. I'll say "excuse me", and if they don't move, I say it louder. Always polite.

                                                                            These days, however, I ride an electric scooter, and have had to slow down. Most people are very polite, asking if I need help. Since I *need* to do as much as I can by myself, I usually so no thanks, although some people don't seem to be able to help themselves, ::Sigh::: I do appreciate the effort, though.

                                                                            One thing that has been fun is that now I have one of those little mechanical bicycle bells. "Ring ring!" People really do hear it! There are a few airports that still have "people movers"; in Chicago they used one of those little bells, which was *much* more effective than a horn.

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                                                                            1. re: Richard 16
                                                                              Cheflambo Sep 8, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                                              Manners? In a grocery store? Not in my town. I think ChefBeth has captured it all in her description above. I shop often (and always enjoy going into a new-to-me supermarket) and I try to be courteous to those around me. If I stop mid-aisle, I try to park my cart out of the way of others, and always say "excuse me" if I have to pass between the shelves and the clueless person standing there staring at them. I don't use my cell phone unless it is an incoming call from someone important (rare) and if that is the case I wheel myself to a quiet corner and talk in a low tone, and wrap it up quickly. That said, I appreciate the convenience of being able to phone home to check on something ("honey, check and see if we're out of milk") But don't "shop from home" -- I watched a woman in Kroger last week talk on her cell phone the entire time she was in the store -- asking "do we need this?" "what kind of cereal does your brother want?" "Do you want hamburgers or chicken for dinner?"

                                                                              If someone is endlessly hovering over a cooler bin I want something from, I try to be polite, and even sometimes strike up a conversation "Tough choice, isn't it? Dannon or Yoplait? Fruit or Plain?" They usually wake up and let me reach across for what I need. I am also a serious coupon shopper, and have been known to offer people coupons (that I know I wont use) for things I see them buying. I also leave coupons on the shelf that are near (but not past) expiration if I won't need them. I know moms buying cereal can always use 55 cents off their next box of Cheerios.

                                                                              And I agree, why oh why does the entire family have to come along? If both mom and dad are free to come to the store, then ONE of them is available to stay home with the little ones. The little kid shopping carts (and the carts with little "cars" bult into them for the kids) are probably the most annoying part of this. The little carts allow the children to run willy-nilly down the aisles, tripping people; the "car-carts" are even bigger than normal carts and block entire aisles if positioned a certain way. I realize that if you have kids its difficult (and expensive) to get a sitter just for a shopping trip, but if you bring them along, please at least try to keep them under control. I've seen them riding on the bottom platform of the shopping cart, hanging off the sides, and pushing the carts themselves when their mothers arent looking. (Interesting, though, that when DADS shop with their kids, I seldom if ever see this going on).

                                                                              BTW -- grocery stores LOVE little kids, which is why they give them their own carts and free cookies in the bakery. Women who shop with children stay longer, buy more, and sometimes shop on almost a daily basis (being constantly distracted by your children often results in forgetting something). .

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                                                                              1. re: Cheflambo
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                                                                                chefbeth Sep 8, 2008 03:53 PM

                                                                                Thank you all for your kind words in response to my rant. :: sweeping bow::

                                                                                Props to Cheflambo on the car-carts, and apparently lhb78 and I have the same attitudinally challenged self-checkout tron. And Scar, I definitely think you're onto something with the beer-on-tap idea. Maybe teensy drinks with little umbrellas? That might induce me to chill. And you're right, KevinB, it was Kids in the Hall, but I'm going to stick with squishing heads because, well, it makes me feel better.

                                                                                Anyone need anything at the store?

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                                                                              why_itsme Sep 8, 2008 03:39 PM

                                                                              I pay my $12.95 and get the groceries delivered. No dealing with rude people blocking the aisles or on their phones.

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                                                                              1. re: why_itsme
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                                                                                HillJ Sep 8, 2008 03:41 PM

                                                                                why...curious do you receive produce or items that you would hand pick for quality to your liking thru grocery delivery? I'm so hesitant to go that route thinking I'd be disappointed. Have you ever had trouble with quality and if so, how was the order corrected?

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                                                                                1. re: HillJ
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                                                                                  why_itsme Sep 9, 2008 12:02 AM

                                                                                  I've never gotten anything that wasn't perfect. I do prefer my tomatoes to be a bit under-ripe and add that request in the Shopper's Notes. They've always handled it great.

                                                                                  For any errors, I just call the company and they issue a credit.

                                                                                  I always figure I'm likely to spend that delivery charge on impulse buys in the store and probably on stuff that isn't good for me so I don't mind the charge. Plus it's a HUGE bonus when buying bottled water, cases of soda or turkeys. I don't have to lift or carry it. The nice (non-tipped per store policy) delivery person carries it for me. Stacks the soda where I want and puts all the bags on the counter. Would never go back.

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                                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                                    Scargod Sep 9, 2008 02:00 PM

                                                                                    I did it a half-dozen times or so with Pea Pod and was very happy with what they brought me! I think once I wanted a bag of potatoes and they brought me one potato.... something like that; but it only happened once. Generally, it seemed like they saved the best stuff for Pea Pod deliveries!!

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                                                                                    1. re: Scargod
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                                                                                      HillJ Sep 9, 2008 05:45 PM

                                                                                      Pea Pod delivers for my least favorite grocer. I'm not happy enuf with the produce IN the store, so I'm not sure I'd be happy with delivery. But, I might give it a try just to find out. The service would help me out thru my busy work season (Nov-Feb).

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                                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                                        Scargod Sep 10, 2008 05:14 AM

                                                                                        That was one of the reasons I tried it. They keep a list of what you buy so after a while filling out an order on-line becomes a snap. They have insulated containers for cold and frozen foods and you can schedule when they deliver; like morning or afternoon or a range of hours. I think for many it is a great service and probably considered a "green" thing to do.
                                                                                        After a while I found that I still had to go to my fishmonger and to the Asian specialty place, etc. so I stopped. I am also into looking at produce (especially), and meat and making my meal plans on the spot, based on what looks good or unusual. I'm more spontaneous so I missed going and I started working less so I could afford the time shopping took. If I go to the store I think of things I could make, much like having a meal out, that you would not normally fix yourself, might spur you to try making it.

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                                                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                                                          Passadumkeg Sep 10, 2008 06:11 AM

                                                                                          Tex, do you know the New Mexico shopping solution? Pack a couple of six shooters on your hips. Used to see it in New Mex. where one does not need a permit to pack exposed iron. Everyone got out the guy's way and he got respect.

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                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                            Scargod Sep 10, 2008 06:40 AM

                                                                                            Was that you? I only have one six shooter.. but no permit to carry it on me in public. I keep it by my bed.
                                                                                            I had an uncle from South Texas who did that, when he was older....but he was crazy.

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                                                                                      2. re: Scargod
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                                                                                        why_itsme Sep 10, 2008 01:18 PM

                                                                                        Haven't used Pea Pod but have used Safeway and Albertsons.

                                                                                        On the potato, you have to make sure you watch the package size. Sometimes an item is sold by the piece (like large baker potatoes, Hot House tomatoes), sometimes by the package (Qty 1=1 5# bag of potatoes, Qty 1=1 bunch of grapes) and the hardest is for the meat where you an order of 1 may be "1-2pounds" or 1 may be "3-6 pounds". Gotta be careful to read the description.

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                                                                                      3. re: HillJ
                                                                                        flourgirl Sep 10, 2008 05:01 AM

                                                                                        I always wondered about this too. I've never used our shopping service, but I've talked to others who have and they say that the store's shoppers do a great job. Good to know in case I ever need to use it.

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                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl
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                                                                                          sibeats Sep 12, 2008 01:16 PM

                                                                                          I've used Peapod for a few years now, but only for the basics. Milk, juice, TP, paper towel, cleaning stuff, canned goods etc. That way I'm stocked up on all the essentials all the time and then I do my dinner food shopping every day or so based on what I feel like cooking. I wouldn't want someone else picking out my produce or meats, and I don't think I'd want to purchase fish from them. Works out great for me, and I haven't stepped foot in a supermarket in about 3 years!

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                                                                                      4. re: why_itsme
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                                                                                        givemecarbs Sep 9, 2008 01:56 AM

                                                                                        This idea has been around for awhile. I can remember my grandmother in Philly would do her non-perishable shopping at Penn Fruit but call Paperman's for meat produce and a few extras like milk and bread; She was very good with people and I can still hear her sweet voice saying now make sure the green beans are the fresh ones..

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                                                                                      5. Passadumkeg Sep 9, 2008 05:13 AM

                                                                                        I don't know what it is, maybe the absurdity of so much choice and so little worth buying (Have Americans forgotten how to cook?), but there is something about going into a supermarket that makes me feel like Fred Rogers (sans cardigan sweater). I am unfailingly polite, pleasant, cheerful helpful, ad naseum. I let people go ahead of me in line and strike up conservations when the lines are long. I think it must be a combination of compared to my life in war time Viet Nam and living in impoverished Bolivia, the cornucopia of an overstocked American supermarket is a fantasy land compared to the food needs in most of the world.
                                                                                        Won't you be my neighbor?

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                                                                                        1. jfood Sep 9, 2008 05:24 AM

                                                                                          Jfood feels quite pleased that his little grocery store has a very nice and polite vibe. 90% of the time it is one of the most pleasant and relaxing 10-30 minutes of the week, and jfood is not kidding. He knows and chats with all the workers, and jfood sees many of the same people all the time. And if you can believe this, there is NO numbers at the deli counter. Everyone knows when it is their turn and when the counter person says "who's next?" only one person responds (usually after asking another customer "are you taken care of?). And jfood kids you not.

                                                                                          BUT, on the weekend, several from NYC come out to "their weekend house" and you can spot them in a minute. Several have tried to jump the line at the deli (the old lady saying "Oh dear, I think you might not be next" is priceless), say excuse me and push simultaneously and have less than well mannered children. Most of the regulars just shrug and smile at each other.

                                                                                          Yes there are the center aislers, a slight push actually moves the cart aside, the ice cream starers and the apple twirlers (jfood admits guilty to these), but a simple excuse me and a smile by both works perfectly.

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                                                                                          1. re: jfood
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                                                                                            Panini Guy Sep 9, 2008 10:09 AM

                                                                                            jfood,
                                                                                            I'd suggest it's not just the NYers. Since moving to Pgh, I have had few supermarket hassles or incidents. But back in SW CT, rudeness and entitlement was much more common at many of the stores in upscale towns (not so much elsewhere). Stop n Shop in Noroton Hts had by far the most obnoxious customers (both my brother and I worked there for awhile along with other locations).

                                                                                            Those of you who tire of carts blocking aisles, might I suggest finding the most expensive, absurd thing within reach and tossing that into the cart. Even if it doesn't teach the offender a lesson, you'll feel better ;-)

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                                                                                            1. re: Panini Guy
                                                                                              jfood Sep 9, 2008 06:52 PM

                                                                                              Without getting into the S&S in NH, jfood sees the people in the lot on the way out many times and they all have NY plates, it only happens on weekends and what they buy appears to be for the weekend versus the week.

                                                                                              On the other hand there are the "Dad's weekend" with the kids. 2 six packs of Corona, lots of frozen pizza and stuff, cookies, hot dogs, ice cream and that OMG how do I turn on the oven look. Jfood's heart goes out for these weekend warriors.

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                                                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                                                Catskillgirl Sep 11, 2008 12:45 PM

                                                                                                "that OMG how do I turn on the oven look"

                                                                                                LOLOL! I think I've seen these guys at my grocery too. Yes, the look of sheer horror is priceless!

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                                                                                              2. re: Panini Guy
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                                                                                                FrankJBN Sep 12, 2008 10:55 AM

                                                                                                "I suggest finding the most expensive, absurd thing within reach and tossing that into the cart. Even if it doesn't teach the offender a lesson, you'll feel better ;-)"

                                                                                                Someone inadvertantly inconveniences you.

                                                                                                The response much approved here is to intentionally create a bit of trouble not only for that unknowing, albeit unthinking, essentially innocent offender, but for every other innocent else in the checkout line behind them.

                                                                                                But it is the person who left the unattended cart who is impolite?

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                                                                                                1. re: FrankJBN
                                                                                                  LindaWhit Sep 12, 2008 01:16 PM

                                                                                                  Oh come on. I believe Panini Guy was joking, as I was in my reply to him. :-/

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                                                                                                  1. re: FrankJBN
                                                                                                    Scargod Sep 12, 2008 02:33 PM

                                                                                                    I hope you have set some people straight today. I will only drop an item in someone's cart if they are advertently acting like a privileged asshole.

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                                                                                                      Panini Guy Sep 12, 2008 02:48 PM

                                                                                                      OK, so let's say for the sake of not inconveniencing anyone else in the line we remove something from the cart and put it back ;-)

                                                                                                      For the record, I was the carriage boy who blocked your car on four sides for parking in the pregnant women's spot since you were neither.

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                                                                                                        gryphonskeeper Sep 13, 2008 04:54 PM

                                                                                                        scargod, I have done that before... placed a box of kotex in the cart of a guy who was a real jerk. :D

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                                                                                                2. im_nomad Sep 10, 2008 09:55 AM

                                                                                                  One manner-less habit i'm glad to be seeing less and less of in the grocery stores that seemed to come along with the scanners.....is when the person ringing in the groceries would spend their entire time with their head turned away, chatting constantly to the fellow checker in the next aisle, oblivious to the fact that I was even there after grabbing and scanning away...stopping only briefly to tell me my total.

                                                                                                  Someone must've caught onto this height of rude-ness, as lately i've been greeted and paid attention to in the shops, which i like. You don't have to entertain me, but that one was always a pet-peeve for me, and i'm glad to see the back of it.

                                                                                                  On another note, do any grocery stores ever have pick up lanes any more? You know, when all your bags would go into a plastic bin on a roller way , and you'd pick them up outside, usually assisted by an attendant. Haven't seen that in ages.

                                                                                                  I also wish there was a meat-free checkout aisle in the grocery store the same way they have the candy-free aisles. They never seem to clean the meat juices off the belt often enough. :|

                                                                                                  Perhaps there should be a supermarket contstitution or a list of commandments:
                                                                                                  "thou shalt not leave thy cart in the lot to wheel away and dent thy neighbours car"
                                                                                                  "thou shalt not covet the olives and grapes as though thou'st paid for them"
                                                                                                  etc.........

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                                                                                                    givemecarbs Sep 10, 2008 11:21 AM

                                                                                                    The chatting doesn't bother me as long as they get my order right. At least they are happy. I would so not want the job of supermarket cashier. My friends have told me horror stories of what it is like. I'd rather hear upbeat banter and laughter than look into the eyes of someone whose whole demeanor says just kill me now. I dunno. Maybe I am too empathic for my own good. LOL.

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                                                                                                    1. re: im_nomad
                                                                                                      Miss Needle Sep 10, 2008 12:35 PM

                                                                                                      Ohhhhh!!!! Reading your first paragraph just got my blood boiling! I've been on crutches for a while and trying to take it easy but had no choice but to run some errands last week. I was TRYING to purchase some items but the freakin' dim-witted cashier was too busy talking to another cashier (who was standing in the exact spot I SHOULD have been standing in to unload my groceries). I was trying to put my stuff on the counter, but the other cashier wouldn't budge. You'd think a normal human being would get a clue and make room for the customer. Even though they both saw that I had crutches, the second cashier did not get out of the way until I loudly said "Excuse me." Instead of ringing me up and sparing me any more aggravation, they continued to talk and talk. Something that should have taken two minutes took a lot longer. I paid for my stuff (while they were still talking). And instead of bagging the items herself (last I heard, that was the cashier's job), she just threw me the shopping bag because she was so damn engrossed in her conversation with the other cashier. With my crutches, I had to bag all of the items myself! Talk about a balancing act! As I left, I let out a big sigh because I was so frustrated. The cashier screamed out, "Well, you shouldn't be out in your condition!" Some people have no manners and no respect for other people.

                                                                                                      To answer the OP's question, if somebody is in my way and I'm trying to get something, I ask them politely if I can just get something quickly. There are people there who can read labels for quite a few minutes (because I can be one of them!). If I leave and decide to come back later, I'll probably forget. And if I'm the one hogging up a lot of time in the aisles, I'll try to be mindful of who's around me and let them do their business.

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                                                                                                        bulavinaka Sep 10, 2008 12:56 PM

                                                                                                        I totally concur with your last paragraph. Nothing wrong with politely asking, and conversely, when I'm delving into label-reading/comparison oblivion, I grab the product(s), stand back and find a dead zone to read/compare if I'm in a busy area. There's nothing like common courtesy - I am considerate to others in public areas to a fault - maybe that's why I get offended like above poster James Cristinian when others don't do the same...

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                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                          LindaWhit Sep 10, 2008 01:13 PM

                                                                                                          As I left, I let out a big sigh because I was so frustrated. The cashier screamed out, "Well, you shouldn't be out in your condition!" Some people have no manners and no respect for other people.
                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          PLEASE tell me that, even in "your condition" you reported the cashier to the store manager!

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                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                            Miss Needle Sep 12, 2008 10:43 AM

                                                                                                            I was actually in the grocery store of Ikea picking up some goodies (I do love their Daim torte!) when that happened. I really had to go that day to check out some storage options and was kept waiting for ONE HOUR while the sales clerk kept helping other people while she kept saying that I was next. Hmmmm.... I was next after the Asian couple. Then I was next right after the Russian couple. Then I was next after another person and so on. I got fed up and left. (I ended up speaking to the representatives on the phone where the service was 100% better than what I received in the store). Then I was stalked by a creepy guy in the store. So I was in a horrible, foul mood to begin with, compounded by the fact that I was probably an idiot for taking public transportation there to begin with (when I should have hopped in a cab).

                                                                                                            So while under normal circumstances, I would have complained and made my voice heard, I did what jlafler said and just got out of there as soon as possible. I was just in no mood to hang around for a manager. I was so tired and frustrated by that point that all I wanted to do was go home. I contemplated writing a letter but decided that the best thing for my mental health was to just drop it.

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                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                              LindaWhit Sep 12, 2008 01:12 PM

                                                                                                              COMPLETELY understandable after a day like that!

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                                                                                                            jlafler Sep 10, 2008 11:12 PM

                                                                                                            Wow, that's a pretty appalling way to be treated when you're on crutches. "You shouldn't be out in your condition"???? What, they expect you to sit at home and starve?

                                                                                                            I have to admit that in situations like that I almost never resort to the manager. I usually just want to get out as soon as possible.

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                                                                                                              Catskillgirl Sep 11, 2008 12:53 PM

                                                                                                              I think I would HAVE to let management know, and loudly, how rude their staff is! I can't imagine being treated that way. Some of the cashiers here are dim bulbs, but they're kind-hearted. Before I had surgery a few years ago I couldn't lift anything more than 5 lbs. I never had a problem with finding someone to lift the heavy stuff (20 lbs of cat litter, 3 gallon pack of water, etc) off the shelf and into my cart, and then out of the cart and into my truck. I had to ask, which I hated doing, but they didn't mind giving me the extra service. If I'd been on crutches I like the think that I wouldn't have even had to ask - they would have offered!

                                                                                                              I'm so sorry you were treated in such a dreadful way.

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                                                                                                          julesrules Sep 10, 2008 01:20 PM

                                                                                                          Our grocery store is urban, narrow-aisled, and quite crowded on Saturdays. My favourite was turning a corner heading towards the yogurt and finding both sides of the aisle blocked... by people not shopping, but talking on their cell phones! Due to the width of the aisle and direction of traffic flow I had no choice but to park my cart downstream and go back for my yogurt. But I had my toddler with me and let it slip to her, in that mindless narrative stream-of-conciousness way you sometimes get with young kids, that these guys were talking on their phones when they should be shopping. I really didn't mean to be passive-aggressive, it just slipped out, and one of them heard me. I think he got the point though. Can you even say excuse me to someone on their phone and clearly not paying attention to their surroundings?

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                                                                                                            bulavinaka Sep 10, 2008 01:54 PM

                                                                                                            IMO, people on cellphones don't get a pass - it was their choice to converse on the phone in a public area. A polite, "exuse me," increasing volume and tone if no response. I've even waved at them, pointed to their cart, then reached out and moved it just enough to get by... If they have a problem with that, they can get off the phone and address it with whoever they wish...

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                                                                                                              julesrules Sep 12, 2008 06:43 AM

                                                                                                              Oh I don't think they get a pass, it just seems pointless to say "excuse me" when they're so completely oblivious to their surroundings anyway. And I actually move unattended carts whenever I need to, and I don't mind if people move mine. Our grocery store is just very awkward & crowded, so that if you forget something, or you can't get to it the first time you go by and have to keep moving to avoid blocking the aisle, you often can't really turn your cart back, you have to park it and walk back, or do a whole circle around the store.

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                                                                                                          2. ccbweb Sep 10, 2008 08:50 PM

                                                                                                            I've been observing my own behavior and that of others over the last couple of trips to the grocery store. Here's my earth shattering conclusion: if you're simply aware of people around you and try to take them into account as you move around them and do your own shopping, there will be very few if any problems. It's pretty easy to keep a cart out of the way if you're thinking about it. Its pretty easy to tell when someone is headed for the products you're standing in front of ...and so on.

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                                                                                                              jlafler Sep 10, 2008 11:17 PM

                                                                                                              Yup. It's not rocket science (until they install jet engines on the carts, I guess). I don't usually have big problems at the grocery store -- nothing that continues to bother me 10 minutes after I leave. It's always worst when I'm in a hurry. Things that wouldn't normally bother me become immensely aggravating.

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                                                                                                              1. re: ccbweb
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                                                                                                                Sallie Sep 11, 2008 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                Right on. People are just not aware of their own space and the presence of others. (It's the same phenomenon as people getting on an elevator and standing in front of the buttons. Yes sir, it is possible that you and I might not be going to the same floor. Get your crotch away from the buttons so I can push #4.) And I think that the outrage boils down to this: some people are in a hurry and think everyone should get out of their way; some people are not in a hurry and think nobody else should be either. Both are obnoxious and selfish.

                                                                                                                I've had carts jammed into my ankle because the person pushing the cart was too passive aggressive to bother saying "excuse me." I've caught myself sighing loudly as the person parked diagonally across the aisle picks up one more item to stare at the label. So I've been on both sides of that and I endeavor to be a better person every day because I genuinely like going to the grocery store and dont' like it spoiled with bad feelings. I don't mind the altekachers (sp?) or the kids or the crazy people on their cell phones. I do mind the stock guy who always wants to hug me.

                                                                                                                The very worst thing I've ever seen that completely takes the cake is leaving the empty cart at the head of the check-out line after you've finished unloading it, and walking away with a bag of groceries so that the person behind you has to push both your and her cart through. This is especially bad with the car-driving kiddie carts that are like 7 feet long.

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                                                                                                                  jlafler Sep 11, 2008 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                  Okay, now you've reminded me about the one common behavior that really does bother me -- people leaving their shopping carts blocking parking spaces or traffic through the parking lot. Whatever happened to taking the cart back to the proper place so someone else can find it when they need it?

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                                                                                                                  1. re: Sallie
                                                                                                                    jfood Sep 11, 2008 02:15 PM

                                                                                                                    jfood always says as the cart leaver takes his/her first step, "excuse me you left your cart here." works every time and gives the kiddie-cashiers a good laugh.

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                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                      rockandroller1 Sep 11, 2008 03:10 PM

                                                                                                                      I scream at them. "LAZY!" I say, usually followed by me angrily grabbing the cart and walking it back while they stare. Then I scream "TAKE YOUR OWN CART BACK NEXT TIME, LAZY A*HOLE!"

                                                                                                                      Yes, I'm crazy.

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                                                                                                                        miss_bennet Sep 12, 2008 12:01 AM

                                                                                                                        You're not crazy; you're ballsy! We all wish we could say that without feeling horrible!

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                                                                                                                  miss_bennet Sep 12, 2008 12:11 AM

                                                                                                                  My provincial autoplan company had the greatest commercial campaign about a decade ago about the evils of aggressive driving. They took bad driving habits and applied them to other areas of life. My favourite was one with tailgate walking. That's right; tailgate walking. Absolutely ridiculous.

                                                                                                                  Anyway, there was one about grocery shopping where a woman who is pratically running down an aisle makes it to the end of the aisle. When she reaches the intersection of aisles, she t-bones another cart and everything goes flying. The way the other shoppers look at the now-sheepish crazy woman is pricelsss. The shock and disdain on their faces... I wish the ads were on youtube.

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                                                                                                                    bulavinaka Sep 12, 2008 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                    I stated way upthread that I apply basic driving rules to shopping carts... why most don't, I'm not surprised considering how reckless so many drivers are...

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                                                                                                                    FrankJBN Sep 12, 2008 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                    "A guy loudly cleared his throat while I was looking for some dressing. I ignored his behavior and kept my ground. Nobody says excuse me *politely* anymore"

                                                                                                                    This guy may not be saing "excuse me politely", but what he is doing is saying excuse me.

                                                                                                                    Plainly you knew that he wanted to get around you, but you "I ignored his behavior and kept my ground"..

                                                                                                                    Which is less polite, asking improperly or ignoring another's known reasonable desires?

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                                                                                                                      FrankieSandals Sep 12, 2008 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                      Asking improperly, by far. It's so easy to say, "Excuse me. How are you today? Do you mind if I grab some XYZ? Thanks so much. Have a nice weekend." I'm actually writing a book on this topic, and the lack of civility and common courtesy in our society. I'd like to think that intelligent human beings have evolved beyond clearing their throats instead of politely and pleasantly asking for what they need. It's not that hard. Have a nice weekend.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: FrankJBN
                                                                                                                        jfood Sep 12, 2008 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                        "A guy loudly cleared his throat" does not equal a "reasonable desire(s)".

                                                                                                                        Jfood ignores these bohemian attitudes.

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                                                                                                                        1. re: FrankJBN
                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Sep 12, 2008 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                          Which is less polite, asking improperly or ignoring another's known reasonable desires?
                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                          How do you KNOW it was a reasonable desire? How do you know that by loudly clearing his throat, this guy was non-verbally asking for the person to move? Just by the fact that he cleared his throat?

                                                                                                                          What if he just had a tickle in his throat? What if he's a smoker and was clearing the crap left there from his smoking?

                                                                                                                          A simple opening of his mouth and saying "excuse me, could I reach around you for some salad dressing?" puts his point across. Simply clearing his throat does not.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
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                                                                                                                            edgewater Sep 12, 2008 02:07 PM

                                                                                                                            I was shopping in Whole Foods about a year ago. At the time, the case with the bagels and breakfast pastries was in a very tight spot. After selecting my bagels, I said excuse me to a group of several ladies who were oohing and aahing over breakfast pastries. They either didn't hear me or didn't choose to move so I tried to squeeze through. My cart caught the edge of a huge display of strawberries which toppled. There were strawberries half way across the floor. The ladies looked at me in open mouthed horror. I really don't think if ever ocurred to them that they had anything to do with it. I was mortified and mumbled "I'm sorry" to the employees as they picked up strawberries. The area has since been completely reconfigured but I will never forget it!

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                                                                                                                              bulavinaka Sep 12, 2008 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                              I guess it's transparent situation - a wash. If someone was just clearing their tickled throat, had emphysema, or clearing out a hairball, he or she would not expect anyone to move for him or her. If one ignores this noise since it isn't meant as a directive to move, all is well in foodland...

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                                                                                                                              FrankieSandals Sep 12, 2008 07:27 PM

                                                                                                                              Asking improperly, by far. I'd like to think that intelligent humans have evolved beyond clearing their throats to get someone's attention, as opposed to politely and pleasantly saying excuse me and asking if they could sneak in front of another person for a moment. It's really not that hard, and it's really appalling to witness how many people don't know how to work and play well with others in shared public places.

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                                                                                                                              SamuelAt Sep 12, 2008 04:48 PM

                                                                                                                              I think a grocery is a public place. We all need to stop, pause, and read a label, evaluate produce, or just consider a purchase. But especially in a tight space, I think we need to remember we're sharing the shelves - and need to be considerate of others. If I have time to read a box, but someone in a hurry needs the same item, it's as simple as manners. Please make room.

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                                                                                                                                crawfish Sep 13, 2008 05:56 AM

                                                                                                                                I read an article once that quantified personal space in different countries. i live in Canada and apparently we are in the larger personal space bracket, as are most cold countries. I was constantly reminded of this when I lived in France for a short while and it was especially evident in grocery stores. I always remember standing in front of the yoghurt section when a small older French woman slid right in front of me without appearing to notice me - there was maybe a foot between me and the display. I had to double check I wasn’t invisible.

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                                                                                                                                1. Passadumkeg Sep 14, 2008 05:03 AM

                                                                                                                                  I remember walking into a Shoprite in NJ with my 85 year old old man a few years ago. He was grumbling that it was Tuesday and Tuesday is senior citizen's discount day and thinking it funny that this old guy hated senior citizen's day. Then in the supermarket I got run down by 3 gray panthers. It hurt and never a word of apology! Steely gazes focused directly on their target. Beware!
                                                                                                                                  I do notice different levels of civility between NJ and Maine in supermarkets and on the highway. Caged rat population density syndrome? Like jfood, I live in a tourist town and shopping in the summer can be rough if not timed correctly. Do people lose their normal sense of civility when they leave home?
                                                                                                                                  Time to go get groceries and beat the rush!

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                    Scargod Sep 14, 2008 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                    Absolutely, some lose their civility when in a strange place! I know as a young man, I acted differently when I left home when I was around available women. You can put on your Mr. Hyde and get away with it. Your friends and neighbors won't know. Like going to Hedonism III on Jamaica and getting wild. Like being a bad driver when in a strange place. "Who me? I'm a tourist; I don't know better!"
                                                                                                                                    Sometimes it is just ignorance. New Yorkers seem to have their own rules. Perhaps in Maine you drive your cart (like in England); on the wrong side of the aisle.

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                                                                                                                                      jlafler Sep 14, 2008 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                      When nothing is familiar, everything takes longer and it's easier to make dumb mistakes. Tourists seem stupid and boorish partly because they don't know all the things that are obvious to people who live in the area. Of course, this is even worse when you're in a foreign country speaking a foreign language. I've done some pretty awful things while traveling -- things that in retrospect make me cringe -- simply because I didn't understand what I was supposed to do.

                                                                                                                                      In general when dealing with bad behavior, I tend to assume ignorance and incompetence, rather than malice.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: jlafler
                                                                                                                                        ccbweb Sep 14, 2008 03:33 PM

                                                                                                                                        There you go. (I've always liked your posts, by the way, and now I know why; they're written by someone who is sensitive and thoughtful). That's exactly what I always assume as well and I can't recall an instance in which I was incorrect on that count.

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                                                                                                                                          jlafler Sep 14, 2008 06:27 PM

                                                                                                                                          Thanks. I try. :-)

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                                                                                                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg
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                                                                                                                                      bulavinaka Sep 14, 2008 11:59 AM

                                                                                                                                      You're nice to assume that these folks do have a normal sense of civility. I think it's their true colors coming out - just the sour pessimist in me...

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                        MMRuth Sep 14, 2008 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                        I'm willing to bet those folks are the same at home as they are on vacation, just as those who are considerate on vacation are considerate at home. I've seen all sorts of crap at Citarella in the Hamptons in the summer, but I've seen the same crap at the one in Manhattan too.

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                                                                                                                                        jlafler Sep 14, 2008 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                                        I've just returned from a shopping trip and have a few thoughts.

                                                                                                                                        Manners are contextual. They vary according to place, time of day, gender, and type of gathering. They also vary by class, culture, and generation. And even within the same class/culture, families may teach different manners. That's a lot of variation. Just about everybody goes to the supermarket, so it's not surprising that people have different ideas about what's polite, ethical, or even sanitary.

                                                                                                                                        Some people are aggravated by witnessing what they consider bad public behavior by others; it offends their sensibilities. Others don't care as long as it's not directly affecting them. But I think we have to accept that there isn't ONE standard that everyone agress on. All you can do is try to be considerate, and not get too wigged out about violations of an unwritten code.

                                                                                                                                        One of the problems of a pluralistic society is distinguishing between what type of behavior is tolerable difference and what needs to be sanctioned. Some behaviors (like that of the checkers Miss Needle discribed) really do need to be corrected. For others (like how you indicate that you need to get around or past someone), I think we have to accept some variation.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: jlafler
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                                                                                                                                          FrankieSandals Sep 14, 2008 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                          "But I think we have to accept that there isn't ONE standard that everyone agrees on."

                                                                                                                                          I don't think we need to tolerate or accept rude behavior, and that more people need to speak up when rude people act inappropriately. There is an art to confronting without being confrontational.

                                                                                                                                          I think everyone should embrace standards of awareness, mutual respect and common courtesy. The entitlement that is rampant in our society is appalling.

                                                                                                                                          Clearing one's throat verses saying excuse me, is inexcusable. Human beings don't communicate by grunting, howling, squealing, barking or clearing their throats, animals do.

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                                                                                                                                            jlafler Sep 14, 2008 05:54 PM

                                                                                                                                            I'm not trying to defend rude behavior. I'm saying that there is no universal agreement on what is, or is not, rude behavior. I wouldn't clear my throat to say excuse me, but if someone else did it, I wouldn't consider it rude.

                                                                                                                                            As for your last paragraph, humans ARE animals. We communicate in all sorts of ways, verbal and nonverbal. We make rules about our behavior and call them "manners," but that doesn't' mean we're not animals, it just means that we're social animals whose interaction is based (at least partly) on abstract rules.

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                                                                                                                                              FrankieSandals Sep 15, 2008 02:38 AM

                                                                                                                                              Why wouldn't you consider it rude if someone cleared their throat in order to indicate that they wanted someone else to move, as opposed to using good manners and politely saying excuse me and asking for what they need? I'll bet if you took a poll, most people would consider it rude, given the courteous alternatives. We are supposed to be evolved "animals," not primates.

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: jlafler
                                                                                                                                                Scargod Sep 15, 2008 06:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                I'm with you. There is nothing universal and you need to be mindful of where you are the the context of the situation. What about people trying to get supplies at a store, in preparation for hurricane Ike? How many times would you say "excuse me" politely, then?
                                                                                                                                                I remember a young woman who was trying to force me to take a rental that I was not interested in. I had just arrived from Texas. I said, "I want to void our contract; you are not listening to me". She said in a VERY loud voice, "EXCUSE ME?"
                                                                                                                                                There was no "nice" in that comment; she was very angry!

                                                                                                                                                I may talk big, here, but I usually cut people a lot of slack and avoid confrontations... Mostly, I just mutter to myself and shake my head in disbelief.

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                                                                                                                                                  FrankieSandals Sep 15, 2008 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                  "What about people trying to get supplies at a store, in preparation for hurricane Ike? How many times would you say "excuse me" politely, then?"

                                                                                                                                                  Every time.

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                                                                                                                                          2. mrbigshotno.1 Sep 14, 2008 06:08 PM

                                                                                                                                            The world would be a great place if it weren't for people.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                                                                                                                                              diablo Sep 14, 2008 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                                              AHHHhahahahaha! You got that one right, big shot!

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                                                                                                                                                jlafler Sep 14, 2008 06:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                As Jean-Paul Sartre said in his lovable way, "Hell is other people."

                                                                                                                                                (I stole this from somewhere, but can't remember where.)

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: jlafler
                                                                                                                                                  Passadumkeg Sep 15, 2008 05:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Or HL Menken, "No one has ever gone broke underestimating the bad taste of an American."
                                                                                                                                                  "Newness is goodness, bigness is better." (on a painting of George Washington 40 year ago in college.)

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                                                                                                                                              2. The Chowhound Team Sep 15, 2008 07:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                It seems like everyone's had their say on chocchipcookie's original post and now we're starting to just add our own favorite grocery store pet peeves to the list, so we're going to lock this thread.

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