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February 15th, 2003

Grocery Store Line Behavior

I made the mistake of trying to do my “normal” food shopping yesterday afternoon, figuring that it wouldn’t be too crowded. Of course, with an impending snowstorm, ongoing terror alerts, and Valentine’s Day, I was about as wrong as could be. The checkout clerk said that yesterday was busier than the day before Thanksgiving.

But, standing in a long line did give me time to examine human nature. Like how some people find repeating advertising catchphrases so damned funny… or how other people refuse to put their items behind you until you put the divider bar between you, even if you tell them to go ahead and start unloading their cart… or how yet other people like to pass the time by reading those wacky tabloids out loud, like they were the first people on the planet to ever read The Star?

Actually, those three examples were all the same people. Can you tell they annoyed me?

But the one thing that I witnessed three examples of yesterday while standing in line really blew my mind: people that decide they don’t want something and just put it somewhere—anywhere— before they get to the front. Like the one guy who decided he didn’t want a bag of chips, so he put them on top of the candy bar rack. Or the woman who decided to put her two boxes of Jell-O on top of the gum. Or the person who put a bag of Peppermint Patties on top of the magazine rack (on my way past them, I decided to buy them, so perhaps it was just some really sneaky advertising gimmick). It amazed me to see this as such a common practice… after all, it’s not that hard to just give your item to the cashier and tell them you don’t want it or you grabbed the wrong item… clerks come around regularly to collect these things and return them to the shelves. Instead, though, these people decide to save themselves from actually having to speak to the clerk by leaving their crap anywhere they please.

Has anyone here every worked at a grocery store and witnessed this activity?

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday February 15, 2003 -- 10:29:43 am
I worked at the pharmacy in a grocery store one summer and I used to fine empty hair dye and condom boxes all over the store. It seems many folks are too ashamed to actually buy these products, so they just steal them

FROM: Chris
DATE: Saturday February 15, 2003 -- 11:36:59 am
I worked in a conveninece store in college and we would find previously frozen stuff left on the shelves. The whole store was barely a couple thousand square feet - put the ice cream back in the freezer if you change your mind!

Actually, I suspect a lot of it was aborted shoplifting attempts.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Saturday February 15, 2003 -- 1:44:58 pm
my bro. used to work at the local Giant, and from him we learned that putting things back where they belonged was called "deadheading".. maybe because the people who left stuff willy-nilly were temp. brain dead.

FROM: Greg C
DATE: Saturday February 15, 2003 -- 1:59:38 pm
I've been known to leave the occasional baby toy in the bread aisle.

What really bothers me, though, is there has to be limits on this sort of behavior. You're in the cereal section and wedged between the top of the boxes and the shelf above will be a package of hamburger meat...

...and it's at room temperature...

Good job, idiot, you just robbed the store of $4 and didn't even get anything for it. At least you could have had the decency to pocket it.

FROM: aharris
DATE: Saturday February 15, 2003 -- 3:25:24 pm
see...this is why I do my grocery shopping the old fashioned way: online!

FROM: matt
DATE: Saturday February 15, 2003 -- 5:39:06 pm
You sound like a lazy disconnected bastard. Get out in the world you nerd.

FROM: aharris
DATE: Sunday February 16, 2003 -- 4:57:06 am
boo hoo. I've been flamed. Maybe I should go hang out in a check-out line for a couple of hours to think about how lame and "disconnected" I am. I do in fact *want* to connect with the types of morons ryan mentioned in this ping.

Good flame tho... ;)

FROM: sean [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday February 16, 2003 -- 5:04:33 am
I actually work at returns for Home Depot in seattle, and 80% of the items that clutter my department come from things customers pick up in their wanderings through the store and then leave at the counter when they decide not to buy them. How about this: we charge a restocking fee (10% of the item cost) if you leave the item at the register... You better buy it or make your half-wit mind up before actually checking out.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday February 17, 2003 -- 2:21:28 am
my solution to these random placements of products would be to steal the products and leave them in different stores. Just think how neat it would be to find hamburger meat in the sinks at home depot, or a big bag of screws right next to the potato chips at giant.

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday February 20, 2003 -- 1:51:06 am
I call the people who leave things all over my store "dumpers" because they will pick up a full-price item in the front of the store, and eventually they'll find something cheaper and leave their full price item in the sale section, and you can guess what happens next: "I found this in the sale section! I did! I know the tag says $48 but it was on the $6.99 rack."

Lazy dumpers, messing up my store. Sometimes it looks as if bears have been foraging for food. People were at their worst the week between Christmas and New Year's.

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