Urban Etiquette: When Groceries Go Bad

by Borderstan.com January 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,823 0

"Borderstan""Supermarkets", Whole Foods Logan Circle

Five simple tips for a pleasant grocery store experience: yours and everyone else's, too. (Matty Rhoades)

From Mike Kohn. Got an urban etiquette ‘wrong’ that needs to be righted? Find Mike on Twitter @mike_kohn or drop him a line at [email protected].

The other day I was at 17th Street Safeway, waiting in the self-checkout line. Yes, I’m impatient sometimes — and with four stations, it does move quicker than the other lines, generally speaking. Someone decided they were too good for the medium-sized line and opted to stand directly next to the line. This is the aisle next to the one that all Safeway shoppers have come to understand is the one designated for self check-out, especially with the posted sign indicating it.

When the cashier who oversees self-checkout called her out and asked her to move to the back of the line, she had a slight temper tantrum. The woman complained to the cashier that the line was too long for her to wait, and then angrily muttered under her breath while forced to wait the extra 5 minutes.

I got to practice my eye rolling, so that was fun.

Grocery Shopping Etiquette Guide

So how should one act at the grocery store? It’s simple courtesy and manners, people. Here are five tips.

  1. Like other stores in our neighborhood, supermarket aisles aren’t massive like they might be in the burbs (and they’re virtually non-existent in the 17th Street Safeway), so stay compact, don’t make sudden turns and avoid stopping without warning. You’ll likely hit someone or have someone run into you.
  2. Pay attention. Obliviousness to everyone and everything else isn’t really helpful.
  3. Unless you’re using the self-checkout line, acknowledge whoever’s helping you and break free of the “Curtain of Silence.”
  4. To the above point, get off your cell phone when you’re checking out. Because lines can get so long and all you’re doing is waiting, I do find them to be awesome times for catching up with people, but it’s kind of rude to keep up the chatter while you’re wrapping up.
  5. Listen to and follow directions. Yes, I’m looking at you impatient self-checkout girl at Safeway. But this also applies to the express checkout at Whole Foods as well, and whatever else comes up.



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