Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grocery Store Mafioso

I was just emailing with a friend about how hard it is to deal with pushy people, especially over the holidays. My friend graciously invited the woman behind her (who was invading her space) to go ahead of her in the grocery store line since the woman was holding only two items. The space-invading woman promptly brought over her daughter and an entire cartload of food. In the end, my friend didn’t say anything and just found a new lane.

So we were discussing this. Is the high road a strength or a weakness?

I often wish there were such a thing as Dial-a-Guru, a person we could all call with such questions. Free of charge, of course. Or a Hogwarts class. Defense Against the Dork Arts, maybe.

The whole thing reminded me of the time a woman cut in front of me in the grocery store line. I actually knew her, having volunteered with her once. She was the stuff of which sit coms are made, and I’m sure she really did think her time was much more valuable than mine. Honestly, the thought of what kind of character she would make was enough to keep me plenty entertained as I waited.

When it was finally my turn to check out, the cashier mentioned the incident. This is an older man who's been in the business a while.  He assured me under his breath that he would “get her” next time. Get her! Those where his exact words, too. I told him please don’t. Really, not a problem. But I’ve always wondered what he meant by that. Charge her for the organic instead of the generic? Manhandle her Bunny Bread? Give her plastic instead of paper?

Or did he mean something more insidious? Would she wake up to find prepackaged cow tongues in her bed? Expired ones? For a while I was half afraid they’d find the self-appointed, divinely righteous Ruler of Volunteerism floating in the lobster tank, her head weighed down by tater tots and turkey giblets and bags of Yukon Golds….

Okay, so I got a bit carried away. It comes from spending too much time in lines. This week as you’re shopping for your holiday festivities, be reeeeeal careful. And if somebody cuts you off in the shopping line, just know that somebody way more scary than Santa Clause might be watching.

Just remember that…mistletoe is not an excuse for sexual assault. ~Andy Bernard, The Office


  1. Defense Against the Dork Arts. Brilliant. Haha! I can think of a few people for whom that might apply.

    Going to the grocery store is one of my least favorite things to do, especially when it's crowded. People leave their carts in the middle of the aisles, stop to chat with a neighbor going the opposite way oblivious to the ten cart pile-ups behind them....ugh! I like to get in and get out, quick as possible.

  2. I had a check-out line experience a few hours ago. In fact, it's on my list of blog topics for the next few days.

    I, too, was validated by the cashier. You're a better traveler of the high road than I am. I hate people invading my space, whether it be a cart ramming me, or their ill-attended kids pushing on my butt with their gropey little hands.

  3. "Manhandle her bunny Bread" STOP IT, I ma snorting laughing. I usually take the high road, but the woman with the cartload would have pushed me over the edge.

  4. Well, it's nice to think that somebody doles out justice for all those daily little annoyances.

    Wait a minute...I might cause some of those daily little annoyances...never mind!

    Critter Alley

  5. You crack me up! Wow, the balls of some people. I went to exchange a gift... oh wait, it's too long. Maybe I'll blog about it. I took the high road, but umm, inside, which counts too, my road was really as low as one could get!

  6. Not only are you funny as hell, but you're incredibly creative to boot!
    Thanks for the laugh...and the reminder to watch my back in the checkout line.
    Yikes! What in the hell are these people thinking?!

  7. Tmmy, doing what you feel is "the right thing" is NEVER a sign of weakness. That is something that the woman with "only two items' would never understand, but YOU do, and that is what is most important.

    I became SERIOUSLY annoyed when a woman in front of me had 29 items in the 15 or less lane, and YES, I counted them. I held my tongue, though. When the checker gave her the total and asked for her discount card, the woman was truly at a loss for words. She was older than I, and not a local. I was starting to feel ashamed of myself for my "unkind" thoughts, and I offered her my card so she could get her discounts. I got the better end of the deal, and so did you.

  8. OMG LOL, I have always wondered about the check-out fairies/demons! You can tell your friend next time a space invader happens, just politely start talking to NO one about your highly contagious skin disorder. :)

    Happy New Year my friend!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  9. The trick is to be accommodating to a reasonable point, then get assertive. Boundaries are to be respected - theirs, and yours as well.

    What I really hate is when you get some guy (it's always a guy) blocking BOTH lanes of a checkout on a busy day just so he can pick the one that will get him out the fastest. It's always on a busy day with 50 people lined up behind him.

    In cases like that I make a point of being assertive. I ask them which lane they're in if they refuse to say I tell them to pick one or get out of line. The first time I did this a couple of people walked up to me after he left and thanked me. The last time (the second time) I heard clapping.

    As to someone you can call to tell you what you should do, I'd be glad to fill that role for you. I may not give the right answer or one that you actually want to use - but I guarantee it'll give you something to laugh about later...


  10. I hate the grocery store, too, Lisa and Val, and usually go late in the evening to avoid those dreaded aisle-blockers.

    Linda, I think I would have said something, too.

    Good point, Pat!

    Lynn and Judie, you strike me as people who usually do take the high road, and I admire you both for that!

    Beth, I imagine they're driven by an inner motor that chugs, "Me me me me me me...."

    Jules, leave it to you to come up with a fun and highly creative solution! Happy New Year to you, too, my dear!

    Tom, I thought it was interesting that you mentioned male lane-straddlers. I find that aisle-blockers are always female. Always. Thank you for volunteering to be Dial-a-Guru!

  11. Tammy - Yeah. That's another pet peeve of mine. Women that walk six across (okay - maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but not a big one) the entire breath of a hallway at 2 feet/second. Curiously enough I've never seen men do that. But women seem to do it all the time.

    So, what's the story here? Do they truly not realize that they're creating a traffic jam in the hallway that the multitude of men are bristling about behind them? Is it there way to get attention? A sense of entitlement? Or do they have some brain defect that's not obvious?

    But, I have to admit. I'm not usually as assertive with them. Frankly they scare me much more than the big biker types that block both lanes of a checkout. I mean, men will only beat you until you're down. But I've seen women go long past that point.

    ...and there are six of them across.

    But. For all you women who will now be lying in wait for me in the hallways - - - Just kidding.


Any return "messages" are appreciated!