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10 Grocery Store Customers Who Must be Stopped

The battleground
The battleground
Photo by Jef Rouner

I go to the grocery store every single day because I grew up with people who went once a week and ended up with a tin can Narnia in the pantry because of it. In doing so, I meet many lovely people just out purchasing their various foodstuffs like normal people.

And then there's...

People Who Don't Automatically Put the Bar Up Behind Their Groceries Once you have loaded all of your cat food, mayonnaise and whip polish onto the conveyor belt, it behooves you to take the little plastic bar and close off your load with a tiny little border that you might imagine being manned by tiny little rednecks with itty-bitty guns and microscopic misspelled signs. Without that bar, the person behind you can't start unloading his or her own groceries and just has to stand there like an unhelpful lemon tonic water bottle in a vending machine. So quit it.

Anyone Who Tries to Buy Cigarettes Away From the Cigarette Register

Look, I get it. You figured you pick up your coffin nails with your Fruity Pebbles. Hey, I'm all for efficiency, but when you do that, you need to be over by the one register that has all the cigarettes next to it. No, it doesn't matter if you only have one other item and that register isn't an express lane. By buying cigarettes in a grocery store, you've already declared to the world that you feel saying, "No, not that one. The small pack. The blue one" three times in a row is a worthwhile use of your time so you can't be in that big a hurry.

In these people's defense, though...Grocery stores? If you have only one register open, in Allah's name please make it this one.

Mr. I'm-Too-Good-for-ID

Certain of life's better things are available only to those of us who have passed the age of 21. Unfortunately, that's also about when you rediscover the sense of entitlement that you had as a toddler. You see it constantly from people trying to buy booze but who "left their ID in the car."

And no, these aren't even usually kids trying to buy booze illicitly. It's people perfectly able to purchase alcohol legally, but who have decided that since they actually are old enough to do so, there's no need to prove it anymore. That the law forces clerks to card you if you look too young is immaterial to these jerks. They're right, and you're hassling them, man.

People Who Shouldn't Use the Self Checkout The grocery robots are there so that you can grab the butter you forgot for your chocolate chip cookies or to make a toilet paper emergency as little shameful as possible. If you have alcohol, coupons or a cart full of vegetables that require item code look-up, then this isn't for you. The whole reason we still have grocery clerks in the first place is because they can handle that stuff faster than you.

By the way, everyone totally knows what you're doing when you roll up with a big, complicated purchase load at the self checkout. You're trying to ring up things like a big bottle of ibuprofen as bananas. Cut it out.

Unprepared Check Writers I'm not one of those people who hate that we still have checks. I still use mine, especially if I'm not entirely sure my own paycheck is going to be on time the next day. That said, if you know you're going to write a check, then get it out and start filling in information the second you're done loading onto the belt. Get your ID, too, and if you left it in the car and want to know why they need to see it, I hope someone commits the first frozen waffle beating death on you.

 

Yes that's right. We want to bring our child along just to make you miserable.
Yes that's right. We want to bring our child along just to make you miserable.
Photo by Jef Rouner

Poor Shamers The EBT Card in Texas is how people use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In other words, it's food stamps, and that often gives people some sort of idea that they get to judge other people's grocery purchases, out loud, in public.

Yes, yes, taxpayers' dollars, blah blah blah. I know that people like to pretend in this country that not only is it full of lazy people who just won't work, but that having an EBT card is some sort of "Woo hoo free money" bonanza of luxury. I've got friends on it, and trust me; it's not as awesome as you think it is. Let the poor dude buy his spaghetti in peace, and if he has enough in his account for a box of Zebra Cakes, it's fine with me.

Speaking of shamers...

Ableist Shamers All my life I've wanted to use one of those electric shopping carts for the disabled because frankly I am a five-year-old and will be until the bacon kills me. I don't use them, though, because they need to be saved for those who need them, but apparently other frustrated Supermarket Sweep/Mario Kart enthusiasts take it personally when they see someone they don't consider handicapped enough on one.

Disability comes in a lot of forms, from completely paralyzed from the neck down to something more mild like early-stage MS. Sometimes even people who can walk just don't have the energy to maneuver a cart around the store. And on the off chance you do manage to cuss out a legitimate "faker," then what have you won? A stopped clock is right twice a day, but that's no excuse not to get a new bloody clock.

Parental Advisers No parent has willingly taken a child to the grocery store with him or her. Ever. We do it because it's cruel to leave the child in the car in this heat and we don't want to be arrested. We have considered every single terrible thing that our spawn can pull, from simple tantrums to a naked, destructive rage that also involves body fluids. No parent has any need of advice in a grocery store. Don't bother people trying to wrangle small rabid mammals.

Real 'Mericans I'm going to say this just once, Jethro. I am more impressed by a Hispanic person who speaks barely workable English than by you insisting that "foreigners need to learn our language if they're going to come here." You were born here and raised on English, and please don't invite me to your cracker box of hate just because I'm white as a snow owl. In fact...

Anyone Mean to a Cashier Ever Don't insult their language skills. Don't tell them they are taking too long or doing it wrong unless you see a glaring error like putting a bottle of soda on the eggs. Don't tell them how precious your time is. Don't treat them like servants.

These people exist because the future brought us robots and they sucked. They are paid professionals doing their job, and they're people with feelings and hopes and dreams just like you. Treat them with dignity and respect, because if your life requires a shouting match because you thought the deal was six tomatoes for $2 and it turned out to be only five tomatoes for that price, then I'm willing to bet the only reason you're even here is to try to justify a very empty existence.


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