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Humor / Uncategorized

Isn’t It Time For Some Official Grocery Store Rules?

It seems like for the past few months, I’ve been asking myself over and over, “Were certain things in life always this aggravating?  Are people getting more exasperating or am I just getting older and more crotchety?”

And, lately, I’m usually asking myself that question while I’m at the grocery store.

When we go grocery shopping, there are no signs on the walls explaining the system, which I think is a huge mistake.  I mean, most people are okay.  They know what the unwritten rules are and they follow them.  But there are always a couple of people who go about their shopping business, completely oblivious to the fact that there are 200 other shoppers in the store.

That’s right.  You know who I’m talking about.

The guy who unloads 30 items in the Express Lane.  The woman who has parked in the center of the aisle while she peruses 500 different varieties of soup in order to figure out which combination fits the “buy 10, get 1 half off” coupon she’s holding in her hand.  Or the person in line in front of you who only has ten items, but needs to split them into seven transactions and has to write a check for each one.

I thought I was the only one who needed to decompress with a glass of wine after my weekly shopping, but I recently brought this topic up with a couple of friends at lunch and you could almost see the blood pressure rising at our table.

“I was in the Express Lane with two things, trying to get out the door to pick up my kid,” said my friend.  “This woman in front of me was using one of those electric scooter carts and managed to wedge herself into the lane so badly that the scooter was completely stuck and even the cashier couldn’t get her out.  It took 3 guys to push her through.  Really?  No one saw that coming?”

“You think that’s bad?” my other friend replied.  “I was about to pick up the last box of Fiber One when this woman literally came running down the aisle and snatched it up right in front of me.  I could have fought her for it on principle, but I’m guessing that anyone who needs fiber that badly is not to be messed with.”

Years ago, when my husband was in the military and I would shop at the Commissary, there were arrows in the aisles.  That’s right.  You could only go one way down each aisle.  So, if you forgot band-aids, you had to loop yourself around until you were going in the right direction.  And if you didn’t, one of the 80-year-old retired military wives would yell at you.

When I was 20, I didn’t get it.  Now, not only do I think each aisle should go one way, I think we should install turn signals on each cart to warn people when we’re pulling over for milk or making a sharp right into the diaper aisle.

Self check-out has only added to the confusion.  Now we stand in one big glob, wondering who is supposed to go next.  Not too long ago, I’d actually been waiting for awhile in the self-checkout clouge when this couple walked right in front of me to one of the stands that had just been vacated.  The man turned to me with a little smirk and said, “Oh.  I thought you were waiting for that one over there.”

I sat there sputtering, “But…but…there are rules!”

And as I looked around for someone else to defend me I realized…there weren’t.

Until now.

  1. Texting and shopping makes life difficult for everyone.  Please pull over and finish your message.  This especially applies to those using the “car carts.”
  2. This is America.  We drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  3. This is an addition to #2:  Most of us were born with peripheral vision.  If you know that you are taking up most of the aisle, pay attention to who’s coming your way so that you can step back for two seconds while they pass.  Then you can get back to your in-depth research on how much you are paying for each dried bean.
  4. I have a deep respect for people who are coupon shoppers.  But please don’t wait until all of your groceries have been tallied before you start searching through your enormous binder to find all of your coupons.
  5. The “15 items or less” sign at self checkout does not mean “15 types of items” (example:  I may have 70 individual folders, but technically that’s really only one type of item).
  6. Please don’t double park.  I had no idea that someone could do that until last week when I got wedged into the Oscar Meyer section by someone looking for the 50 Lunchables she needed.
  7. Don’t weave.  That’s right.  To the guy I was trying to get around who seemed to enjoy blocking me…a grocery cart to the back of the ankle is no fun.  Remember that, buddy.
  8. If you are purchasing an entire cart full of produce, please do not use self-check out.  It does not make you get out the door faster when you do it yourself.
  9. I’m sure your child washed his hands thoroughly at some point today.  But I’d still rather not see him stick his arm elbow-deep into every bulk food bin within his reach.
  10. Finally, as you are exiting the grocery store and making your way to your car, please do not walk up the center of the parking lot aisle.  I’m in a car.   You are not.  And I’m already frustrated because I’ve just waited as you self-checked 70 folders.

Happy shopping, everyone!


Catherine Tidd is a writer, widow and mother of three. She is the founder of, a free peer support website dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant other and has a Facebook peer support page under the name Widow Chick. Along with being published in several books on grief and renewal, Catherine is also a humorous motivational speaker who focuses on ” finding joy in a life you weren’t expecting.” She is also a volunteer speaker with the Donor Alliance of Colorado.

Author: Catherine

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  1. To add, while I’m sympathetic that not everyone has childcare at home while they need to shop, Dads and Moms need to keep a close eye on their kids! If you have more than 2 with you, there’s usually a disaster waiting to happen. It’s not my job to look out for your precious darlings when you’re not willing or able to do so and my kids tend to notice when other parents and kids are ‘bad shoppers’.

  2. Mine is definitely the Express Lane but another big one is when I do the self check-out. I always seem to run into problems where it says I can’t continue until the staffer comes to help me. And every time, they are in a huff to have to do it. You know: their job!

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this. I’ve thought about each of your points. Now I’m just going to laminate your post, carry it around, and shove it into offenders’ faces.

    And remember to abide by the rules myself, most of the time 😉

  4. Amen!!

  5. I share many of your gripes. My big gripes are the sourpusses of the world. Like, I was in line behind a man who was buying easily 60 gallons of milk in multiple carts. Joy! Anyway, the clerk said, “Thirsty?”

    The milk guy scowled at him. I’m like, dude, you are buying 60 gallons of milk and you don’t think it’s FUNNY!?

    Any time 2 or more humans gather in a line, it will get interesting. Courtesy goes a long way. Also, I don’t expect special treatment, but I’ve been in a situation where I have 3 items and the person ahead of me in line has 452. Why not let me go first? I try to do the same for others if I see the person behind me only has a couple of things and I’m buying for a week.

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