Grocery Store Etiquette

Don't act like an asshole here.

You wouldn’t think that a grocery store would be something you’d need to explain to people.  But you don’t shop where I do.  If you took a busload of the elderly and the retarded, gave them mild concussions with a mallet then loaded them up on meth, you’d still have a breed of person more with it than the crack squad of brain surgeons I have to deal with every time I need to go buy eggs.  Honestly, these people cannot operate shoelaces much less function in a complex environment such as the local Safeway’s.  It is these people that make this post necessary.

Do I need a cart? – Yes.  Yes, you need a cart.  If you ask yourself this question upon entering a grocery store, you absolutely need a cart.  Otherwise you run the risk of finding yourself in a position much like that of a lady who accosted me in the juice aisle the other day.  She stood there with roughly 18 items in her arms, constantly fumbling for the item just about to fall out, catching it, and in the process knocking something else loose. “Excuse me, can you go get me a cart?” she asked me.

Now I’m normally a very helpful person.  If I see someone on fire, for instance, I will go out of my way to tell them, “Hey buddy, you’re on fire!”  But my responsibility for correcting the stupidity of others ends with my kids.  If you’re too unintelligent to intuitively understand that a shopping cart is a more suitable container for your foodstuffs than your arms, you are beyond my help.  So I told her, “Sure.  I’ll be right back. Don’t move.”  And then I never came back.  She’s probably still standing there, fumbling her kielbasa.

Should I use a scooter? – Since I live in an area with a high incidence of seniors, every grocery store I go to invariably has 10 or so electric scooters available for customer use.  Unfortunately, the store neglects to tell anyone who these carts are really for:  The physically infirm and drunk people.  Do not use the carts because you are tired, or have had a long day.  Also, if you are so fat that you feel you need a cart, maybe you should just stay out of the grocery store altogether, don’t you think?

If you do use a scooter, I cannot emphasize this point enough:  Do not fucking park the thing in the middle of an aisle and then stare at people trying to get by as if they are being the inconsiderate pricks.  You can move out of the way with a flick of your thumb and a slight turn of your wrists.  Do so unless you’d like me to scooter-jack your ass.


The produce section – When evaluating the freshness of produce, please keep the following in mind:

  • You may look at a piece of produce for no longer than 10 seconds.  Any fruit or vegetable will contain microscopic flaws if you glare it it for hours on end with your bionic vision, so cut to the chase.  If it looks good after a quick glance, just fucking take it.  If I have to deal with seniors engaged in staring contests with tomatoes much more, I’m going to fucking lose it.
  • Do not shake fruit next to your ear.  What are you doing, trying to find the cantaloupe with the hidden prize inside?
  • If you find yourself getting all pervy with produce, giving everything a squeeze, then you must abide by the following rule:  If you squeeze something hard enough to make a lasting mark, you must buy it or give it to the produce manager for disposal.  Do not squeeze a plum so hard that you mash it into a bloody pulp then drop it back on the pile.  Asshole.
  • No, I don’t know the difference between green onions, chives, and scallions.  I also do not know what a tomatillo is, and I have no idea if you can substitute zucchini for cucumbers in whatever moronic recipe you’re cooking.  Do your fucking research before you get to the store.

The frozen section – Its really simple, folks.  Glass is clear and you can look through it with ease.  You do not need to hold the door open to see the contents of a frozen aisle section.  By doing so, you make it impossible for anyone to see what’s going on and simultaneously cause condensation to fog up the glass for others.  So take a giant step back, tubby.  You can still see the ice cream just fine.

The meat section – For the life of me I don’t understand the behavior of people in this section recently.  This is probably just a really weird streak of bad luck, but lately I’ve been thwarted whenever I try to buy a steak by old ladies blocking as much of the meat section as possible.  The first time it happened, I was looking for a steak and a lady was standing there with her arms stretched out, hanging on to her cart.  She was blocking a good ten feet of the meat section.  And the next four times I went to the store I had the same thing happen.  WTF?

We’re not in a depression, folks (yet), and even if we were, me getting something to eat does not impact your ability to do the same.

Another meat section faux pas, brought to you by Tila Tequila (really). And yes, the stated price is way, way too high.

The deli section – A lot of stores have gone away from the time tested “take a ticket” concept and rely on the honesty of their customers.  This is a huge mistake.  If I have to deal with one more harried housewife who decides that just because she’s about to have a nervous breakdown she can cut in front of me, I’m going to beat her to death with a salami.  Here is an actual conversation I had in the deli section a while back:

Deli Counter Guy:  Who’s next please?

Bitch:  (running up to the counter) I AM!

Me:  Excuse me, but I was here before you.

Bitch:  No you weren’t.  (To deli guy) I’ll take two pounds of black forest ham.

Me:  Lady, I’ve been here waiting for 5 minutes.  You just walked up 30 seconds ago.

Bitch:  Well, I’m in a rush.

Me:  And I’m not?

At this point the deli guy deftly defused the situation by taking both our orders, and giving me my order first.  Those deli guys can be pretty smooth at times.  I, on the other hand, dealt with it differently.  I put several very large cucumbers in a produce bag along with 6 tubes of K-Y, surreptitiously dropped them in her cart, and joyfully watched her embarrassed denials at the register.

What you get when you search Google Images for "Cucumber and KY". (censored)

The bakery section – As I don’t eat sweets (cake, pie, donuts, etc.) I rarely find myself in the bakery section.  Do whatever the fuck you want.  But it would be cool if they had erotic cakes in this section, if only for the intercom price checks.  “We need a price check on the Dirty Sanchez cake!”

The liquor section – Get the fuck out of my way.

Checking out – 15 Items or Less.  That’s what the sign says.  Yet your cart is bulging with groceries.  So which is it?  You can’t read or you can’t count?

Also, please prepare to pay before the total is presented to you.  Do not stand there and chatter with the cashier about the weather, your family, or the fact that those aren’t your cucumbers or K-Y and then waste everyone’s time by acting surprised that you have to actually pay for this shit when you’ve been given the total.  Be ready.

And if you’re going to be a pain in the ass and ask for paper bags or double-bagging, do so at the beginning of the order.  When I was 16, my first job involved bagging groceries, and my very first experience was with a lady who had something of a reputation amongst my fellow baggers.  “Watch this bitch,” said the kid bagging groceries alongside me.  “She’ll do something really cunt-like, I guarantee it.”  Sure enough, after we had finished bagging her two full carts of groceries, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I guess I should have told you to double-bag those. Please do so now.”  And my coworker immediately said, “Yes ma’am!  Right away, ma’am!  Nice mustache, ma’am!”  And while she definitely heard that she did nothing about it because she knew she was being a bitch.  And thus my atitude for the remainder of my working life was set.

At least she kept it well maintained.

Bonus!  How to leave the grocery store – In a car.  I mention this because a lot of grocery stores have electronic dealies on the cart that makes it impossible to take them out of the lot.  And if you carry your groceries home by hand, you’re risking some serious shit.  I once had a teacher named Mrs. Bobkowski who was a notorious bitch.  She’d yell at students for minor offenses, insult them, send them to the office at the drop of a hat, etc.  Once she sent 75% of the class to see the principal because, one would assume, the broom in her ass was chafing.

So on my way home from working at the grocery store one night, I saw Mrs. Bobkowski standing on a street corner holding 3 paper bags of groceries, right next to an extremely large puddle of water.  Needless to say, I immediately drove into the puddle at a reasonable and prudent 150% of the posted speed limit, causing her to not only get soaked, but her paper bags to dissolve instantly, sending her sodden groceries into the gutter.  So, you know, put that shit in your trunk.

In conclusion – Please, people, think of others besides yourself when shopping.  Sure, you may be very tired, or distracted or just kind of a douche.  But if you don’t, don’t be surprised if you find someone has splashed your groceries out of your hands while you watch your cucumbers and KY float down the sewer.