–by Jean Fisher
Make grocery shopping less stressful with some common-sense rules of supermarket etiquette.
The Rules You Wished Everyone Followed At The Grocery Store
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Most adults say that they do not enjoy grocery shopping. It is time consuming and expensive. In addition, it is often an experience in frustration due mainly to the actions and behaviors of the other shoppers. What can be done? Aside from hiring a personal shopper, not much I'm afraid. However, if all shoppers could agree on some basic rules and codes of conduct, I believe that the trip to the grocery store would be much less frustrating and maybe even enjoyable. Here are my suggestions:
1. When moving through the store, use the basic rules of traffic that good drivers use. Stay on the right side of the aisle (in the United States). Pass on the left. Stop and look at intersections. If you are shopping with other people, you should either walk single file or spread out in the store. Three or more people walking abreast always seem to be the slowest moving individuals.
2. When not in motion, keep carts and humans together. If you are looking at an item, have your cart right next to you and up against the shelves so that other shoppers do not need to squeeze between your body and your diagonally parked cart.
3. Visit with your friends somewhere else. Most supermarkets have a deli with some chairs and tables. Using that area to catch up on news not only gives the friendship the status that it deserves, it also shows respect to the other shoppers who might need an item that is behind the seven-foot wall that your bodies and carts have created.
4. If you change your mind about an item, you don't have to walk all the way back to the section where you picked it up. You can give it to the clerk at checkout and one of the store employees will get it back to its appropriate spot. Leaving the package of pork chops on top of the toilet paper results in a loss for the store and higher prices we all pay in compensation.
5. Take unhappy or misbehaving children out of the store until they are calm. The clerk at the courtesy counter will keep an eye on your partially-filled buggy until you return.
6. Unruly children must be contained for safety sake.
7. Once you get in a line, you are done shopping. No fair leaving your cart to dash back after one more thing, or to send someone else to get it while you hold the place in line. If it is that important, you must leave the line and then rejoin after you have everything you need.
8. Speaking of lines, when using the express lanes an item is one bag, one box or one package. A plastic produce bag containing four oranges is one item. Twenty-five boxes of frozen Salisbury steak dinners are twenty-five items.
9. If you are paying for your groceries with a check, please fill out the date and the name of the store while the person ahead of you is being served. Waiting for the clerk to give you the total before even taking the checkbook out of your purse or pocket is stealing time from the people waiting behind you. You don't need to use your best handwriting on the check either - it isn't going to be framed and hung on a wall. Time-efficiency is the goal.
10. Smile at the other shoppers and the store employees. Pass along good will and a positive outlook.
There you have it. Ten common-sense rules that, if applied, could turn one of the major drudge-duties of the week into a much more enjoyable experience.