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Sep 7, 2008 06:06 AM

Grocery Store Manners


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.

  1. 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 .

    12 Replies
    1. re: LaLa

      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.....

      1. re: LaLa

        "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?

        1. re: Scargod

          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.

          1. re: queencru

            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.

            1. re: Scargod

              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).

            2. re: queencru

              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.

            3. re: Scargod

              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..

            4. re: LaLa

              "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.

              1. re: jfood

                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.

                1. re: LaLa

                  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.

                  1. re: jfood

                    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.

                    1. re: iluvtennis

                      "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.

            5. 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!

              4 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit

                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?

                1. re: kiwiFRUIT

                  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.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    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!

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  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.

                3. 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.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: queencru

                    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.

                  2. 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.

                    26 Replies
                    1. re: KevinB

                      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!

                      1. re: chocchipcookie

                        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.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          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.

                        2. re: chocchipcookie

                          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.

                          1. re: KevinB

                            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.

                            1. re: flourgirl

                              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.

                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                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.

                                1. re: Catskillgirl

                                  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.

                                2. re: rockandroller1

                                  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.

                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                    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!

                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                        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. :)

                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                          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.

                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                            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.

                                          2. re: flourgirl

                                            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.

                                        2. re: flourgirl

                                          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...

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            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.

                                            1. re: NE_Elaine

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

                                              1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                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.

                                            2. re: bulavinaka

                                              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.

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                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...

                                          2. re: chocchipcookie

                                            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.

                                            1. re: Boudleaux

                                              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!" ;-)

                                          3. re: KevinB

                                            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.

                                            1. re: jfood

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

                                          4. 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.