Monday, January 7, 2008

Grocering Etiquette - Just hold your breath

There are some grocery store annoyances I have to discuss dear Internet. Usually, I only encounter one or two of the grocering faux pas's each time I go. There are at least a dozen that can occur, but usually on separate occasions. I find the grocery store a strange, abnormal, universe. Although everyone needs food, for some reason the weird, the creepy, and the narcissism in humans is magnified by a visit to the grocery store. Am I like this? Maybe. When I go a-grocering I don't like to notice other people - and I don't' find it a social place. However, there are SOME shoppers out there who seem not to notice that there are other people in the store at all. I mean, I don't notice them as in I'm in to get what I need amongst fellow shoppers I feel no need to bond with. Right? I mean the rules of common courtesy still apply in a grocery store as they do say, in the Mall or on the road?

Today when I went to visit the grocery store it was packed! PACKED! After holiday grocering of course, and the University I live close to started it's classes today - so the Top Roman and Milk aisles were bustling with tangible energy. So, of course this makes one a little weary - mostly of the lines promised by such an after work, after class, late afternoon, mass grocering. So I expect to have to side step a few people and apply a more generous unspoken law of common grocering courtesy: standing at a comfortable distance while someone chooses their cheese and you await to choose yours, keeping the freezer door open for someone who is eyeing the frozen pea's you yourself also picked up, and allowing mothers with a herd of excited kids to exit the row in a wide berth before you enter yourself. Right right right. But NO! Not today. Apparently TODAY, it was narcissistic creepy weirdo day at the Market.

Example #1: Surprised Lady: I'm not the only one in the store? So, this incident took place as I was rounding an aisle with the hope of continuing down one of the main aisle's of the store. As I round said corner, a shopping cart abruptly cuts me off from an adjoining aisle and nearly rams me in the middle. I had to do one of those "stop short, throw arms in the air, and stand on tip toes" moves to avoid the collusion. I look up at the offender and it's a middle aged women who looks shocked to see me in HER grocery store! So shocked in fact she continues on her previously anticipated path THROUGH me, just to see if I'm really in her same grocering space. I mean I had to do quite the "move it or lose it" to avoid being run over. I gave her a "Are you serious?" look, and moved on rather annoyed.

Example #2: I did not get far from the Surprised Lady, when I hit a wall of "Duuurrr Look Cleatus, it's a Girl. You ever seen one?" couple. Sigh. So these fella's were double my height and quadruple my weight, and just kept walking strait forward staring at me walking towards them. So I make a move to step aside...and aside...and aside...and they "pert near jus kep on walkin" strait forward. I had to completely circumvent them. What the? Isn't it just plain walking etiquette to try and work around each others path? A team effort if you will? Well I make it past this rather large and uncomfortable obstacle to yet another...

Example #3: Confused Muchacho in the deodorant aisle. This is just another one of those awkward, yes I am female and you are staring and still in my way, moments. He just stood there "looking", then walked slowly in my direction (I was looking down at my phone) and passed close by. Shudder. Those happen sometimes. There's an entire aisle for one to peruse and an additionally 4 foot width I would hope one would take advantage of if they find another person occupying the other half of this space. Not my Muchacho - it's like I wasn't really there...or like I really was. Cough.

LASTLY - after side stepping some more fellow grocers who seemed more conscious that it WAS a busy day at the grocery store, but still gave the incredulous look that there was really someone else ALSO looking for an Evian water bottle. Some did indeed realize they have to share their grocery store with other homo sapiens who require sustenance to sustain life. Imagine! I did finally make it to the 15 or less aisle which was AWESOMELY shorter than the other far reaching lines, and amazingly, only people with about 5 items or less instead of barely slipping in the under 15 mark with 14.5 items in their cart were standing in it. So, I think this makes up for the Cleatus twins and Creepy Muchacho when low and comes...

Example #4: Too Close for Comfort Creepy. Okay - so I noticed this fellow when he stood RIGHT behind me and put his milk down, RIGHT next to me. Imagine, standing there with one Ipod plug in, holding your deodorant and orange juice, and you suddenly feel a presence bend slowly and closely behind you, the length of your body down to the ground, and up again. Shudder, vomit, tense. Now, it is common knowledge I'm a "bubble girl." I like my personal space and am not touchy with most people. Thus, being in a crowd makes me a little tense because there is a "closeness" risk, and I also reinforce my bubble if there is reason to question someones hygiene (snobby secret: I hold my breath in someones "air wake" when they pass me if they seem anti-shower, soap, washing your hands after bathroom, laundry detergent impaired, etc. It's like I don't want to breath them in.). THIS, close stander DEFINITELY arose some hygienically pertinent questions in my mind pertaining to dirty jeans and an oily, pimply, blotchy face. Add raspy mouth breather to the equation and you have a decent picture of my "too close for comfort creepy." So, naturally, I moved up a little to give myself some space. And what does this nutter do? He moves RIGHT with me. Standing uncomfortably close and rasping loudly. Cry cry cry. Each time the line moves forward, I move forward in the hope of some space, but he is RIGHT behind me. I'm trying to make exaggerated movements to cause him to step back, or shift my purse so it sits between us, but he doesn't budge. And I don't want to be a "close stander" to the jokers in front of me (stupid gits humming a hymn in a high falsetto voice - gentlemen, I ask you) - cause the creepy will come too and then I'll be trapped on both fronts! So i try and remain calm. I place my goods on the conveyor belt, and he places his RIGHT behind mine and THEN reaches PAST me, in a manner that screams "if I don't do this right now the world is doomed!" and gets the little divider thing to place between our stuff. Seriously dude?? WAIT! Back the hell off me! I gave a look that hopefully indicated that - but he was "ACTING" like he wasn't standing in my bubbled area. Oh...he KNEW he was doing it. It was on purpose! Quick! Ring up ring up, grab bags, RUN!

So that was most of it. I don't want to go into the parking lot bit, because it was just a typical grocery store parking lot experience perhaps magnified by 2. The pedestrian, vehicle stand off. The pulling out with an awaiting eager grocer right up your arse wanting your space..nothing too horrible after the offensive Too Close for Comfort Creepy. I've never held my breath so long.

There's GOT to be some sort of grocering etiquette to be observed in such times! I don't understand why we have to discover how many creepy's, weido's, and self absorbed cart ladies, all in the grocery store. I guess even THEY have to eat.


JenKneeBee said...

In such circumstances I have perfected a technique in which I stand with one of my feet out towards the person, while my body can lean the other way. Think of that stance defiant teenagers have: arms crossed and one foot outwards. They can't come closer because your foot is strategically in the way.

Hester said...

Excellent Stratagem! Duly noted! Thank you defiant teenagers.

heidikins said...

haha, classic case of Ms. Hester vs. the World at Large. Love it.


Crowther said...

HAHAHA! nice sounds like happy valley is awesome, and oh how I envy you and your shopping experiences with the creepy BYU coeds.

heidikins said...

Hahaha, love this!! Absolutely love it. Am trying very had not to laugh at your obvious distress... but it's just such a humorous picture in my head.