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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

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