Grocery shopping is something that everyone has to do on a regular basis, but some people, like myself, may dread doing it each week.
I wanted to briefly go over the history of grocery stores and how they got to where they are today. According to groceteria.com, chain grocery stores usually less than 1,000 square feet came into popularity in the early 20th century, and they sold mainly non-perishable and canned food. Meat, produce and other home goods typically had their own separate shops.
The idea of self-service shops came into play in 1916 when the first Piggly Wiggly opened in Memphis, Tenn. In the 1920s, the idea of chain stores and supermarkets were gaining popularity, and shopping at a supermarket involved having all of the items a house could need — canned goods, meat, produce, a bakery, cleaning supplies — all under one roof.
Since then, owners of grocery stores and supermarkets have thought bigger and bigger — eventually moving to warehouse and discounter stores starting in the 1970s. Today, shoppers have so many choices of where they can purchase items for their house. Owners of supermarkets are constantly coming up with ways to make shopping more efficient and also better at selling you things. It’s normal that many people can feel stressed while getting their shopping done, and it can be easy to forget your manners.
The following are some tips I found in the 18th edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette” and on various manners blogs to keep in mind when shopping:
When you get to the check-out line, be sure to have your money ready — check, card or cash — in order to keep the line moving as efficiently as possible.
Try to keep long phone calls out of the store, especially when you’re in line. It is rude to the cashier if you are not paying attention when checking out as they may need to ask you a question.
Follow express lane rules, and if a lane opens next to you it is best for you to offer the spot to the person in front of you.
Be patient if someone is in your way, and kindly ask a person who may be blocking your path if you can get by.
Treat the aisle like a road and stay to the right, leaving the middle as a “passing lane.” If you need to grab something on the other side of the aisle, “park” your cart and walk quickly across the aisle as long as you won’t be in someone’s way.
Once you are done placing your items on a conveyor belt, place the divider behind your items to signal to the patron behind you that you are finished.
Try not to take out issues on the cashiers — they can’t change a store policy or make your expired coupons work. If you have a complaint, you should formally address one to the store’s management.
If you forget something, don’t hold up the line to go run and get it. It’s better if you finish checking out and they go back into line after to purchase it.
Be aware of your surroundings to make sure you are not in the way of someone, and if you bring children try to keep an eye on them as well.
When you are finished packing your items into your car, put the cart back into the cart corral because you can damage other people’s cars if there is a strong wind.
If you have problems with big crowds, try going shopping at a time where it will not be very busy. I try to do my shopping on week nights after dinner as it is usually the least busy time for shopping.
The biggest piece of advice I would give for going grocery shopping — stay calm, patient and courteous. Take a deep breath, allow other people to pass by you and don’t get annoyed if another patron is pulling off a manners misstep of their own. At one point or another, we all have to go to a grocery store. Why should we make it a bad experience for the other patrons or employees by leaving our manners in the car?
Until next time, mind your modern manners!
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