I just got back from the grocery store and I’m feeling a little ranty here people, so bear with me. My purpose for this shopping trip was to do nothing more than to feed a craving. I grabbed a gallon of Dreyer’s Loaded Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ice cream for Misty and since I’ve been feeling political lately, a pint of Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream by Ben & Jerry’s for me. Clearly nothing more than a quick shopping trip. However, it took a lot longer than I expected. Sadly, that’s not what upset me. What upset me was how other people in the store reacted to why it took me so long, including the checker.
I grabbed my two cartons of ice cream and made my way to the checkout. I noticed when I went to checkout that for some reason almost everyone in the store had lined up at one lane though 2 were open. I then noticed that the couple in the lane no one was lining up in had two carts worth of stuff. Since everyone else in the store that was checking out decided that the couple with two full carts of groceries would not be worth waiting behind, I took the opportunity to be the first.
I got behind the couple knowing I’d have a slight wait, but honestly what more was I doing tonight? Plurking? Tweeting? What did I have to lose? So I sat there and waited like any good grocery store patron would. By the time the couple had put all of their items on the checkout conveyor a handful of other patrons had lined up behind me. I had put my two cartons of ice cream on the counter and continued to wait patiently. At about this time I noticed that the couple also had a large stash of coupons that the female had just pulled out of her pocket. She then happily greeted the checker with a, “How is your night going?” To which he responded with a look of disgust. This was the first of many responses to this overall situation that bothered me.
The woman continued casual conversation with the checker who looked less than amused to speak with her and she explained how they were new to the area. The checker of course had nothing to add to the conversation so the woman turned her attention to those of us waiting in line. “Sorry everyone!” she called out so that the majority of the line could hear. The woman behind me sighed, clearly agitated, which drew my attention to her four 24oz cans of Coors Light, Woman’s Day magazine, and half case of water. Clearly she was on a quick convenience run much like myself.
People have to buy groceries
Picking up on the angry vibe of the other patrons, I decided to chime in with a friendly response to the couple. “No worries” I said. At this point the female started presenting her coupons to the checker. “You’ve gotta eat, and I don’t blame you for trying to save some money in times like these.” The male responded, “We just moved to the area. So we have to buy everything and start from scratch”. I felt his pain. My wife and I just recently moved and had to make a similar shopping trip, though not nearly as large. The female chimed in explaining that they had just bought their first house. The checker responded to our conversation with, “I’ve lived in the same house for 29 years”. An unnecessary comment, but based off of the attitude this checker had I wasn’t THAT surprised.
Through all of this the woman behind me continued to sigh in aggravation, and many of the patrons behind her had since left or remained making snide comments under their breath.
The whole ordeal probably lasted about 15 minutes or more. Sure that’s a long time, but have we become so impatient as a society that we can’t be courteous to our neighbors who need groceries? Where else are they supposed to go? Should they have to break up their shopping trips to convenience you? Are you really in such a hurry that 15 minutes out of your life means getting so worked up you’re miserable?
Honestly the hag behind me had 4 beers, a woman’s day and some water…at 7:30pm on a Sunday the most her night was going to consist of was Jeopardy reruns, maybe a few pages of the Women’s Day and being drunk. The checker on the other hand has one purpose, to serve the customer. Does it matter if they spend $1 or $400 on groceries? No. What matters is that you do your job and at the end of the day you leave with a paycheck. If you’re bitter and old and hate your job, you have no one but yourself to blame. Don’t take it out on those who are trying to further themselves and their situation.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As a society we need to slow down and enjoy life. It’s great that we live in a world where almost all aspects of our life are provided to us with near immediate results, but in some situations you just have to wait. Don’t get mad at someone for trying to survive; for trying to stock their fridge and their pantry. Have we forgotten the days when we used to greet our neighbors? Have we become so self absorbed that only we matter and the livelihood of others is worth less than our own convenience?
Stop and think about it people. It’s no wonder our society is as screwed up as it is.