Inspired by a conversation I heard on my favourite radio morning show this week, I thought I’d write about the unwritten rules of Grocery Store Etiquette. It stemmed from a trivia contest about self-check-outs at many grocery and department stores these days. It then morphed into a chat about pet peeves, not only at the self-check-outs but shopping experiences in general. Have you ever been frustrated by your visits to the supermarket because of what you felt was “rude” behaviour of other shoppers? I certainly have and I know my husband has since he groans every time he needs to go. These are some rules I try to keep in mind when shopping:
1. Observe express lanes as “express” – These are the lanes for people who only have a few items and want to get in and get out fast – hence the “express” in the title. I figure if I can hold all my items in my arms than I’m probably safe to use this lane and this is typically less than 8 items. In one experience, I was behind a gentleman who had a shopping cart heaped with groceries and he put on 8 items, paid for them, then put on the next 8 items, paid for them and so on. I would have went to another lane but it was a day before a long holiday weekend and the other lanes were packed also. The store clerk had to finally tell him that “1-8 items” meant that he was only supposed to have a maximum of 8 items only. Being the polite person she was, she continued to check out his purchases but warned that he shouldn’t do that again (much to my aggravation).
2. Place the divider bar on the belt when finished placing all items – Although I don’t get too upset if someone doesn’t follow this rule, I do appreciate it when it is practiced. It says that the person ahead is considering me and making a small gesture to let me know that I am welcome to place my items alongside theirs at the check-out. Small but not insignificant.
3. Pull cart to the side when checking items on the shelf – Aisles often have only enough room for two passing carts in order to get optimum use of the floor space to display items for sale. It is not considerate to leave your cart in the middle of the aisle while you compare labels or make decisions on which item to purchase. Make sure your cart is off to the side so others may pass. Of course, you also want to be sure not to leave your cart parked too long to the side if there are others waiting to pick out items that are blocked by your cart.
4. Put the cart in the cart-corral when finished – There are usually designated areas in the parking lots or stores, conveniently located, to gather carts when shoppers are finished. It isn’t just for courtesy’s sake, to return your cart to one of these areas, it is also for safety’s sake. A parking lot cluttered with stray carts is hazardous. When returning my cart, I also like to take the extra effort and interlock it with the carts previously placed. It will allow space for more carts and it will make the cart retriever’s job a little lighter.
5. Have your cash, debit or credit card ready – While waiting for the cashier to scan your items, get your payment ready. This will allow you to complete your transaction promptly, saving time for you and the others waiting behind you.
Are there other rules that you like to follow when shopping?