Grocery Store Etiquette: It’s More Than A Choice Of “Paper or Plastic”

In my many, many visits to the grocery store, I have noticed that it seems to be one location where people are extremely comfortable — perhaps too comfortable.

As such, may I offer a few suggestions to keep in mind when doing your grocery shopping:

1. Hang up your cell phone. You may think you are able to push your cart, pull items from the shelves and chat on the phone, all at the same time, but please, the rest of us know it’s not working for you. If you must have the conversation, move to another part of the store, park yourself in an out of the way area until you are finished chatting and then resume your shopping.

2. “Do we need _____?” phone calls home are allowed, but again, stand still and be extremely brief.

3. When you stop to peruse the shelves for an item, keep your cart next to you. How many times have you seen people park their cart on one side of the aisle and then stand across the way, searching for an item? This is called taking up the whole darn space! And just when you attempt to squeeze past them, they spot what they are looking for and dart out in front of you to grab it. Weren’t we taught as children not to run into the street in front of cars? The same thought applies here.

4. The aisles are not race ways. Look where you are going when you come to the end of an aisle way before you merge in with other shoppers. I have seriously been afraid to see how some people drive vehicles on the road, based on the way they maneuver their grocery carts.

5. If you run into a friend and stop to have a chat, move out of the middle of a traffic pattern; make it easy for others to continue their shopping as you enjoy your break.

6. Be considerate at the check-out line. If you have more than the allowed 15 to 25 items, don’t go to that line. If’ you are paying by check, skip the cash only register. Say hello to the clerk and smile; he has to talk to a lot of grumpy people each day.

7. Take everything with you, including your receipt, your grocery list, your left-over coupons, cookie wrapper, etc. No one wants a cart with garbage left in it. There are always plenty of trash cans near the entrance doors, so please make use of them.

8. Put your carts where they belong. You were able to walk up and grab a cart as you entered the store, so put it away as you leave. Don’t leave it in a parking space for someone to bump as they attempt to pull in or where it will roll into a car. Yes, nasty weather can make you want to get into your vehicle as fast as possible, so get in the habit of parking near a cart corral; it makes things easier.

Remember, we all have to eat. Some people have no problem going to the grocery store, while others absolutely dread it. Whether you are buying just a few things or stocking up for an army, it takes no extra time to show consideration for others as you shop.

A visit to the grocery store is not a quick run to your home refrigerator or pantry; you need to remember that you are sharing the space. Help make it a positive experience for everyone!