I should have known better! It’s my own fault! I went to the grocery store at 4:00 pm on a weekday. I avoid grocery shopping at all costs on the weekends because of the crazies who pretend to work during the week and need to purchase their food and booze on the weekends; but you NEVER go grocery shopping at 4:00 pm on a Monday. For one thing, school gets out at 3:30. That means all the mothers and their two-year olds have just picked up little Johnny and Jane from school and decided to stop at Safeway to pick up some greasy, chemical-infused food for dinner. Or at the worst, those frozen fish sticks that have more breading than meat. Quick and easy – that’s what we do nowadays.
Let me describe for you the clientele at the market on a Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm. There is the frazzled mother and her screaming two-year old along with the big brother who just got out of school and wants nothing better to do than harass the younger sibling. None of them wants to be in the store at that moment. The toddler is vocalizing a high pitched alarm sound; the older brother is stashing a variety of chips and candy bars in the mom’s cart because he is starving; and the mother is daydreaming about dumping the kids at grandma’s house and going home to a glass of wine and a hot bubble bath.
Then there is the after-work crowd. The women are teetering on their 4-inch heels, drinking a latte, tugging at their miniskirts, and staring at their cell phones. What could be so important now – multi-million dollar clients or plans for the next happy hour? They definitely aren’t concentrating on buying the pre-packaged sushi or $4.99 roasted whole chicken they’re standing in front of.
And what about the over 70 crowd? Where did you come from? Did you nap all day and wake up to discover you are hungry? Or did the bridge game last all afternoon and you forgot you didn’t have any ice cream for dessert in the freezer? Or did you just leave from the 19th hole and decide you want to continue your beer buzz with a fresh six-pack?
Every grocery store should be equipped with courtesy signs, because the average grocery shopping Joe or Josephine doesn’t know what the word “courtesy” means. Here are some examples:
- Stop Signs: Consider the main walkway along the end caps as a main thoroughfare. In other words, it is Main Street; or the drag; or Central. If you are entering from one of the aisles, you yield, or stop, to let the oncoming traffic through because they have the right of way! Common sense, here, people! I was nearly run over, not once, but twice, by some bozo zooming out into the intersection! “Oh, sorry! That’s the second time I’ve almost run somebody over today.” Then pay attention, stop that fricken’ cart, and look both ways!
- Painted Yellow Lines: Imagine a painted yellow line down the middle of every aisle. DO NOT go to the left of your line! If you need to stop and study the canned vegetables, move your cart over to the shelves. Do not park it in the middle, blocking everyone else from passing by. And pay attention! If someone says, “Excuse me,” move you and your cart over. That is the first in a courteous attempt to get by. If you are deaf or ignorant, the second attempt will be the sound of a large cart collision and the crash of canned peas falling to the floor, along with your fat ass.
- Free Cookies: Do not go to the grocery store a with hungry or cranky kid. Bribe him with a cookie. It would behoove the store to give out free cookies. They can be day-old cookies, just give them to the screaming kids! Give the kid some Cheerios to munch on while you shop. Tell him if he keeps screaming like he’s just been attacked by a zombie, he will not get dessert after dinner, or to play his favorite video game, or, heaven forbid, he will lose his cell phone for a week.
- Free Beer: You and I both know there isn’t any free beer. But it will distract men shoppers long enough for the women to finish cruising up and down the aisles. Men will be too interested in the latest IPA’s. However, men, I must give you some kudos! You seem to have read the memo on proper grocery store shopping etiquette. In my observation, men are the most considerate shoppers. They pull their carts close to the shelves when perusing the dill pickles. They say ‘excuse me’ when they want to pass. And they usually stay confined to the liquor section of the store. I don’t know if they are threatened by a female-dominated activity; afraid of the PMS hormones emanating around them; or they’re trying to score points with the cute blonde in deli. But I say, “Here’s to men everywhere. I shall raise my glass of Jameson and honor you as you shop amongst all the Type A women wearing ball caps and yoga pants.”
Next week I shall go grocery shopping on Wednesday at 10:00 am. It’s triple Monopoly Day then anyway!