Grocery Aisle/Cart Ettiquite? [DTW]
A couple of weeks ago I decided to make a significant change in what I
eat, how much I eat and to began exercising every day. If I sustain the
trajectory of the past three weeks, by August, I will need to change my
callsign from Rain to Mist. (Mist sounds better than Drizzle.)
To aid my incredible shrinking man drill, I have resumed doing my own
grocery shopping after a 25+ year lull. I spend most of my money at the
neighborhood Mediterranean grocery. They offer a wide selection of
salads that are very different in taste(s) and texture(s) that keep my
meals from becoming boring slogs in [cough] healthy eating.
But I've been away from the grocery aisles for a very long time; and
after today's trip, I wonder if perhaps I am overly territorial when it comes
to grocery aisle/cart ettiquite. The counter worker at the salad case gave
me an odd look, then shrug/turn of her head. I take her cue ...
... and see a 40-something with 5 year-old child rifling thru my cart,
closely examining the contents. Odd. Then, he pops the lid off of one
of the deli containers takes a sniff, "this smells good!" and offers it to his
kid for a whiff. The kids turns up his nose at the garlic baby brussel
sprouts. Dad puts the lid back on, returns it to my cart, then tries another.
I. Am. Speechless.
By the time I can return to my cart, he's opened and group sniff'd three
items. I take the containers he has opened, from my cart, and place
them in his cart. He gives me puzzled look and says, "I don't want those."
I reply, "when you broke the deli sticker/seal, you bought'm," and depart
Am I being unreasonably territorial? (I know that I'm an olde fart. But not
yet so olde that the govt has taken away my twice/month access to pilot
their aerial play toys.) But if I don't get my BMI down; they're gonna
take away my toys!
To the counter worker's credit, she chased me to the checkout and
offered fresh replacements.
You reacted in a highly reserved fashion, IMHO. I would have stopped the guy -- just if I saw someone rifling through my cart! "Excuse me... CAN I HELP YOU?!" Opening my deli containers and sniffing???? Are you kidding me? I would have ripped this guy a new one. LOUD. No question.
I am not blaming the store. As I mentioned; kudos for the salad
counter worker who chased me to check-out and offered me
I was simply astonished by the behavior of the adult/parent
of the 5 year-old.
I only share this tome here, because I wondered if, perhaps,
social norms have changed since I last *frequented* grocery
aisles. I must admit; that I supressed my impulse to snap his
I shop in a lot of ethnic groceries where the native traffic patterns are...chaotic, but I've never, ever encountered anything like this. I think you've just run into someone with severe boundary issues. I can't imagine that behavior being acceptable anywhere.
Wow. Just...*wow*. Un-freaking-real. That there? What you've described? That's "Twilight Zone" territory, that. You, sir, are *far* more gracious than I am/would have been.
It is *never* acceptable to go into someone else's cart without their ABSOLUTE PERMISSION TO DO SO. I don't care if you're five years old, fifty years old, or suffering from Alzheimer's. It just isn't *done*.
I'd have looked at the employee, asked *them*, "Are you seeing this? Do you expect me to *purchase* any of this?" and started walking to the door, with *nothing* being purchased. If they want that idiot's money more than mine, I'll buy *elsewhere*, and they'll darned well know it.
At that point, it's the employee's job to escort them freaking OUT THE DOOR.
I cannot believe you were as subdued as you were. I'd have been confrontational and calling for a manager right then and there. Unbelievable.