crowded-groceryFor the most part I love my neighborhood grocery store. It’s part of a small local chain that focuses on locally produced products and produce. They have a strong emphasis on customer service. Clerks routinely roam the aisles to check if you need help. The  butchers and people in the deli seem dedicated to providing useful information when asked. And don’t get me started about the yummy in-store bakery, and the delicious samples located throughout the store. So where’s the nightmare in all of this? Sometimes, such as last night, the nightmare is in my fellow customers.

Okay, maybe Friday night at 5:30 isn’t the most brilliant time to hit the grocery store. While the parking lot didn’t seem terribly crowded, once I got inside I discovered the store was packed with after-work shoppers. After-work shoppers all seemingly determined to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, oblivious to their fellow shoppers.

I can certainly appreciate being in a hurry and being focused on my own personal shopping needs. I too had an agenda: find something simple and healthy to make for dinner and get home. However, while I remained focused on my personal goal, I did not do any of the following behaviors — all major grocery store violations in my mind — that some of my fellow shoppers engaged in.

1. Talking on a cell phone while pushing a cart quickly around an aisle. Thank you Mr. “I don’t usually go to grocery stores.” Perhaps if you’d paid attention to where you where going instead of engaging in an extended phone conversation, you wouldn’t have crashed into my cart while making the turn.

2. Blocking an entire aisle with your cart and your child’s mini-cart while talking on your cell phone. Yes, Mr. Shopper Two, other people truly do want to get to the milk aisle and should not be glared at when they ask you to move your cart to the side.

3. Blocking an entire section of the produce department with your cart while talking on your cell phone. Yes, Mr. Shopper Three, other people hope to pick up tomatoes and cucumbers on a Friday night, and really do not care to stand and listen to you ask for extended advice from someone about the best tomatoes to select for your oh-so-important dinner.

4. Giving each of your many toddlers their own personal mini-cart. Please, Ms. Shopper (see, not all male shoppers in this tale), I understand you’re frantic with all those toddlers trailing after you, but allowing multiple pre-schoolers to roam freely in the grocery store with their tiny little carts probably isn’t the best idea, especially when they seem oblivious to all of the big people with their much bigger carts.

5. Talking on a cell phone (sense a theme here), while speeding through the parking lot. Please, Ms. IDIOT Shopper, there are lots of people in the lot focused on walking to and from the store. It would really help if you would end your very important conversation and actually look outside your car. Fortunately, my reflexes are still pretty good, and I managed to avoid being smashed by your car. Some day, someone else might not be so lucky.

Okay, rant over. I feel better. What grocery store nightmares have you encountered lately? Or are all of your local shoppers more civilized than the group I encountered last night?