Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grocery check-out etiquette

Once again, a trip to the store reminds me that it would be a relatively pleasant errand if only there were no people involved!

So today I would like to introduce some new rules for grocery store check-out etiquette. (This is just one more reason the farmer's market is superior to the conventional store, but alas, I cannot buy all of my groceries there, and they are only open for a few months out of the year.)

Rule #1: Do not ask a question if you do not want to listen to the answer.
Today's question from the chirpy checker, in the 90-degree heat, was, "Enjoying the weather?"

Me: "No."

Silence ensued. It's like how clerks always ask how your day is going, and you're always supposed to say, "Great!" or some other b.s. because they won't listen to your answer anyway. Once I replied, "I'm having a really shitty day, actually," just to see what the checker would say.

Him: "That's nice." I am not making this up! So Rule #1: if you feel compelled to say something, just leave it at "hello."

Rule #2: Do not ask me if I want certain items bagged.

Of course I want them bagged, because I am not a juggler, and I have been born with only two arms. When I figure out how to grow extra ones spontaneously after checking out, I will let you know.

OK, I can understand not having the already-bagged bag of cat litter in a bag. But a sack of potatoes? Do I want them leaking dirt everywhere? A sack of oranges: do I want them bruised? A container of laundry soap: do I want to hit someone with it? OK, best move on to Rule #3.

Rule #3: Please don't ask me if I found everything I was looking for. Because inevitably, if I say, "no, you're out of cat food," the reply will be, "Um, sorry about that," or, "Oh, I see." There is no solution, no prize to collect, so why ask me? Also, what if I was also looking for world peace or sex toys in aisle 5? What would you say then, hmm?

Rule #4: Don't overstuff a sack that looks like it's about to break the second I will pick it up. Case in point: today the cashier piled so much stuff in there that you couldn't even see (let alone use) the handes, and said, "Does that work for you?" I must have given her a funny look, because wordlessly, she unpacked some of the items and grabbed another bag.

Rule #5:
Don't tell me I look familiar. I am reasonably certain that in this life, at least, I have not slept with you.


Grandpa Eddie said...

Damn, I love your grocery store rules. I remember the last post you did on shopping, and I agreed with everything you said there, too.

I think we should go shopping together. With the attitude I have and the one I think you have, we could drive everyone (including employees) out of the store within 5 minutes of entering.

That would be sooo much fun to see them all running in different directions.

Word Geek said...

You Americans don't know you're born. Bags packed for you? Well, maybe in the really posh places, if they think you look infirm, they'll grudgingly offer it, but otherwise, you're lucky if they'll GIVE you bags to pack - in this eco conscious age, we are encouraged to bring our own ubleached cotton bags to put our ludicrously overpackaged apples (in a styrophome moulded tray and hard plastic shell, no less) into.
As for the clerk asking if you found anything you wanted. In this country, God help you if you need an assistant to tell you where an elusive product is. They have better things to do than talk to the store-cattle. I recently got in a heated debate with a worker in the instore bakery because I asked if their fresh bread was dairy free. Apparently it is physically impossible to make bread with out milk. I don't know who has been putting milk in the bread I bake. The milk fairies? a tiny cow who lives behind the toaster and sneeaks out to squirt it in when my back's turned? Whoever it is, it's magically not doing my highly lactose intolerant wife any harm. However, in the UK, the adage 'the customer is always right' does not apply.

Riot Kitty said...

GE: I would love to go shopping with you!

WG: I learned this THE HARD WAY the last time I was in your country. Have you read the blog I wrote about that?

skyewriter said...

My canned response, every time, without fail, to the "Did you find everything" question: "Did you happen to see how long it took me to unload the cart?"

Scarlet said...

Fortunately, I go shopping at the corner store and I know the cashiers by name and they DO care how I'm doing. One girl's mom died last year and it's been so hard on her. I'm helping her out by buying Mary Kay products from her now.

I love your #3 rule. It happens to me at other stores and honestly, by the time you check out it's kind of late to go back for what you couldn't find.

Darth Weasel said...

or my personal favorite, the people who see a short line so plant one person in line while the other runs around the store grabbing "just one more thing" holding up everyone behind them. There is a word for those people, but I don't have my dictionary handy so cannot tell you what it is

pheromone girl said...

Aah, after a rather difficult day, it's nice to hear you rail on the "paper or plastic" crowd. I hate it when they ask me "Did you find eveything you were looking for?" because it actually means "did you shoplift anything?" I know this because of my months of bagging groceries at Haggen. But I digress. I think we should make shopping bags with a hidden pocket for a night stick, which you could whack the clerk with if they annoy you with assy questions. $10 each. What do you think?

grace said...

I like your grocery etiquette

ditto that!

Riot Kitty said...

Scarlet, I'd love to find a shop like that!

Darth: They're called fuckheads.

PG: Seriously?! That's what that question means? So what does that mean if I answer yes? ;)

LL Cool Joe said...

Oh how different things are in the UK. I always get told how cool I look. :D I quite like it actually. It's nice when teenage girls, and boys comment on my bling. We always having a long chat and I often end up leaving them with one of my business cards. ;) :D

I always look familiar, once seen, never forgotten. :D I'm a Star in My Hood.

Fireblossom said...

Twin, you're so grumpy! And so accurate! ;-)

As for that last bit, well darling, remember, we'll always have Walla Walla. (teasing!!!)

Anonymous said...

Come to Toronto, where the grocery bags cost 5 cents. Not because it's a store policy, but because the local hippy government has made it a law.

JLee said...

hahah..I always wondered why they asked that "do you want this bagged" thing. I always say yes!

Anonymous said...

My first job was at a grocery store and I had my own policy of never asking how a person was doing or if they found everything. Instead I would say "hello" if the person wasn't already having a conversation on their cell phone (not everyone had them back then, but those who did were the pioneers of cellphone rudeness.) I always hoped to get assigned the express lane, as it did not have candy, which meant I didn't have to deal with kids demanding sugar from their parents, not to mention I would be done with most orders in under two minutes, so there really wasn't time to say much of anything... at least that was my excuse.
So, whenever I am asked how I'm doing, I say something horrible to teach them the valuable lesson of not asking. If it's a slow day, I bring on the tears as if they offended me by asking in the first place. You'd be amazed at how quickly the checkers get through my order. :-)

Whenever possible, I do self-check. I still remember most of the produce codes so I get through quickly and without another person touching my stuff. (remember, I'm a germaphobe)

Riot Kitty said...

Joey: None of us can be as cool as you! ;)

FB: You're surprised? LOL

What I got...that's interesting. Can you bring your own?

Small bytes: I try, but the auto checkout always fucks up.

Green tea said...

I prefer to bag my own groceries, even when Hubba is with me. I have to bite my tongue and let him be helpful, especially when the Meat leaks in the bag because he didn't put it in a separate plastic bag or when the bread gets mushed.

Overall Kitty I love your rules, hell I just love
how your mind works. :D

Sidhe said...

Good rules. I'm all business when shopping, no small talk please. There is a clerk at the local Meijer who carries on conversations with every customer. I accidentally got into her line last weekend, aaarrrgghhh, there we are waiting, just waiting, as she finishes her jabbering at the previous customer...I was about to go all jackassery on her, but decided not to because my son is still polite to people (best not to ruin him yet).

JoeinVegas said...

No mention of fellow shoppers kids?

Riot Kitty said...

Ah, Joe - I wrote a post about fellow shoppers awhile back :)

Anonymous said...

When scanning my credit card, cashiers sometimes ask, "Is that your real name?."

I never know what to say.

B said...

I'm w/ Word Geek. I get sick of paying for the sacks, so I bring my own sacks - and of course, we pack 'em ourselves. I do these really weirdo packing jobs because I usually have to then make them fit into my bicycle basket (the biggest basket they make, but still). Since no one in Denmark talks to each other in public, I do very well at the grocery. It's the one place I don't have too much anxiety because I basically only have to understand two phrases, which are the English equivalent of "Do you want cash back?" and "Do you want your receipt?" I always tell people the truth when they ask how I am, which I'm quickly learning isn't polite here (less polite than it is in the states, anyway). But fuck it - I'm more miserable here than I ever was in the U.S. Ima tell y'all exactly how I feel. Don't ask, don't tell...or something ;)