Giese Column: Grocery Store Traffic
By Rick Giese
At the onset, let me state that I am all in favor of the free and orderly flow of commerce. I do, however, feel that grocery shoppers pushing carts need a refresher course in Driver’s Ed. 101.
Entering a local grocery store I observed shoppers wrestling with the choice of a shopping vehicle in which to carry their grocery ultimately to the check out. There were the self-carry baskets, sub-compact carts, and the bottomless U-Haul carts, all waiting to be put in motion. But it is the rules of the road, -er, aisle, or their non-observance, that draws my ire to near the point of shopping cart road rage.
There really needs to be designated lanes of traffic: the slow lane and the fast lane. There is a species of grocery shopper that shops without the benefit of a shopping list and is clueless about what they need to purchase. They proceed to stop every three feet and scratch their head looking randomly at items on the shelves. Perhaps they are trying to draw a mental image of their household inventory to determine whether one, or any, of the items is lacking.
I would not deny a shopper the pleasure of stopping to squeeze the Charmin, but I draw the line at a protracted fondling of each package on the shelf. I also do not see the need to examine a four-roll pack of TP for ingredients. Does anyone even remember a recall of toilet paper due to an accidental contamination with peanuts? Nor have I found TP to be unusually high in sodium.
However, it is really life in the fast lane that scares me. A very obese woman suddenly stopped dead in front of me, without warning. I nearly rear ended her as she summoned an employee to ask where to find something or other. He replied with unrestrained enthusiasm that she would find it on Aisle 22. Later I realized there were only “20 aisles” when I encountered, and nearly rear ended again, the same woman frantically searching where they had moved Aisle 22. I think management should equip carts with a Store Directory GPS.
Having secured the items on my grocery list, I cautiously made my way to the checkout area where gridlock had ensued. Only two of the ten checkout lanes were open. I joined the queue of stalled, socially distanced carts winding down the aisle past the unmanned check out lanes. Patiently we all waited as a customer did a self-full body search for a coupon and followed that performance with an encore search for a rewards card. Allowing my mind to wander as I waited, I envisioned myself upfront working as a bagger. Carefully placing the customer’s eggs in the bottom of the bag, I raised the watermelon high above my head and then let gravity do its thing. It would be my last day of employment.