While it is no longer the 1950s, and finishing, or charm schools are more or less defunct, it does not mean that our society has lost its need for some lessons on manners and etiquette.
This is about more than just minding one’s “P’s” and “Q’s”, or good comportment in general; it’s also about showing a little respect for others, and having some awareness of what’s happening outside of yourself.
This week happened to be ripe for examples of poor manners, but I will limit my focus to only one act of ‘transgression’ that I observed over the last seven days.
When in the grocery store…
The grocery cart was designed to add convenience to the shopping experience. It serves multiple purposes: it can simultaneously carry a baby or young child, while also acting as a receptacle for your foodstuffs. The grocery cart provides the shopper with some freedom: even if purchasing heavy and cumbersome items, the shopper can still zip between the aisles, quickly gathering the items on said shopper’s previously drafted grocery list. Unless, of course, the grocery cart of another shopper happens to be firmly in the middle of the aisle completely blocking shopper number one’s access and no longer allowing her, excuse me, I mean, shopper number one to continue on their zippy pace.
Now, shopper number one happens to liken the grocery cart to a car, and the aisles to roadways. One has a tendency, for example, to looks both ways before turning into a new aisle in much the same way a driver would on the road.
To help facilitate this analogy, if you were the driver of a vehicle and you needed to pop into a shop, or another building to pick something up, where would you park? Would it be in the middle of the roadway? Or would you, bearing in mind that there are other drivers on the road who also have destinations to reach, pull over and park to the side allowing other vehicles to zip along? It would seem to me that you would choose the latter option.
Not that I would seek to regulate the grocery store aisles – that would be taking things too far I know – but if I might offer a suggestion, I think that a minimum speed for “shopping while with cart” would be most helpful. Perhaps they could create slow aisles for the shoppers I call ‘leaners’. This would prevent any friction vis-à-vis those who shop ‘fast’ and those who shop ‘slow’.
I should probably add, for the sake of clarity, that ‘leaners’ are the people who push their carts along – very leisurely I must add – with their forearms while in a ‘hunched over’ position. I suggest that if you see someone in this position and you’re a shopper in a hurry, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction! Or, you, an otherwise calm and sensible human being who is ordinarily polite, might become tempted to ram “the leaner” with your shopping cart. And that would, most certainly, be the opposite of good manners.
So, what are the lessons here you might say? I think that there are a few:
#1: Please ‘park’ shopping carts to the sides of an aisle. You may not make any new friends this way, but you are certain to make some enemies if you choose not to do so.
#2: If you happen to be a ‘leaner’, or like to shop ‘slow’, you too can also make great use of the sides of the aisle. The ‘leaner’, or those who are slow should push their carts along the sides of the aisle. In this manner, you provide those who shop ‘fast’ the freedom to move quickly down the middle of the aisle, while facilitating your (slow) ability to peruse the store shelves, as you’ll be so much closer to the five brands of diced tomatoes you seem to have difficulty choosing between.
#3: I would be remiss if I did not restate that no matter how riled up one might be it is never okay to ram another individual with your shopping cart. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t visualize what this might look like. We all need some pleasures in life.
#4: It is important to recognize that shoppers come in all stripes, be it fast, or slow. If all are mindful of lessons 1 through 3, it will create a better shopping experience for us all.
Thank you for your understanding and best of luck in the aisles.