Thursday, December 31, 2015

Have You Ever Noticed......

First let me say that I am entirely responsible for the circumstances that brought about this rant.  While Thursday might be my regular day of the week for grocery shopping because of the 5% senior discount provided on that day, my postponing the trip until 3:00PM proved a bad decision.

So that said allow me to proceed. It seems to have become a conditioned response that people who at least by assumption are reasonably alert to their actions and interactions with others as they drive to the store and walk across the parking lot, once they grab a cart and enter the store they become completely oblivious to the existence of other people. To make it worse, the more crowded the store the more oblivious they become. Now I'm not saying that everyone is infected by this particular malady, but in a crowded store the critical percentage that is has an even greater impact. Now throw in the self-centeredness bordering on the just plain rude of the cell phone addict and you have a recipe for a grocery cart road rage.

Now the situation I was going to face was quite apparent even as I entered the parking lot. The availability of parking spaces was driven by factors of shear luck that someone else was just leaving at the right moment and that the individuals on either side of the now open space had respected the common courtesy of staying between the lines. I may have lucked out in this regard but my luck would not hold. So I grabbed a cart from the parking lot corral, correctly anticipating that they would not be available just outside the door.

Entering the store the adventure quickly became a live action version of the old video game "Frogger" where backing up and moving sideways is often the only viable tactic. Considering the situation, even with my relatively short list, plotting a direct, shortest possible course was out of the question. So I took a deep breath, counted to 10 and headed into the fray. Suddenly a flash mob of overweight mothers and children formed around me as I tried to go past the discount baskets filled with marked down Christmas candy. The produce department was in sight but I was already in full retreat. I quickly exploited a suddenly open check out lane and headed for produce if somewhat indirectly. Reaching around an unattended cart blocking my way I grabbed some of the last bananas on the shelf. Seeing another item on my list was close but out of reach I again retreated and grabbed some apples.  Further backing out of the apple section I detoured through the organics area and headed back to where I had just been to get some green peppers and fortuitously grabbed some mushrooms as I passed.

Turning around again I grabbed a head of lettuce and aimed for the fresh meat section. Blocked again I was forced into another indirect route.  After grabbing what I needed in meats and now being more centrally located, I found and open space and stopped to reassess what remained on my list.  Beyond a strategic detour down and back the full length of one aisle the rest of my route was relative to this point pretty uneventful..... until course.... I needed to head to the check out.

The direct way out of frozen foods leads through the beer and wine section which was quite understandably crowded with last minute would be New Year's revelers. At first glance detouring wide and going through the designer foods area appeared the route of least resistance. This proved a mistake as it forced me to approach the check out area from the side where all the self checkout stations were. As crowded as the rest of the store was this area was even worse, packed with people with just a few items and lines extending back between the aisles.

This then is where I encountered the added discourteous oblivion of the 30 something cell phone addicts.  Not wanting to again detour, this time one what would have been almost the full length of the store, I approached the phalanx at right angles. All the people I could see in both lines, having completed their selections, could of course not wait to get their cell phone conversation/internet fix. Coming to a complete stop I spoke up, politely saying,"Excuse me."  I was no more than five feet from the individual to whom my request was directed but his phone was firmly planted in his ear and his attention was far away. So I spoke up again raising my voice a bit and with a little more emphasis, "Excuse Me!" Again my simple request was greeted with a none response. OK this was enough, time to to fight rudeness with rudeness. so I moved my cart a bit closer, leaned forward over the handle and spoke even louder, "HEY YOU, PHONE BOY! EXCUSE ME!" He then began to look up and around as if my voice were somehow proceeding from the heavens and I think would have gone back to his conversation if the woman behind him who was almost as engrossed in the internet as he was his conversation had not heard me and reached forward and touched him to motion that he needed to move his oblivious self.

Looking over a few minutes later as I waited in my own line I noticed this individual couldn't even be bothered to hang up his phone while he scanned his items to check out. I swear should I ever be forced to venture to the grocery store again on the afternoon of the eve of a holiday I am going to arm myself with a can of mace and or one of those disposable compressed air fog horns!

1 comment:

  1. I know they aren't normally that expensive, but due to the ban on cellphone disruptors here in the U.S., I'd be willing to pay $500 for one of those puppies if the seller (Japan, the Philippines, and parts of Europe) could guarantee getting it past our customs barrier. It would make driving down the road safer, as well. Why is it legal for the police, FBI, CIA, etc. to possess and use them, but not us common citizens? There is a "weapon" I wish was protected by the 2nd Amendment.

    Maybe a young electronics wizard could be induced to build one for me?


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