Shopping Cart Rage

Shopping cart rage.
Anyone who spends any amount of time in the supermarket is familiar with this type of stress. It develops right after the road rage and the parking lot rage, and just before the check out line rage.

Well, perhaps rage is too strong a word. It isn’t  full-blown rage after all, as much as it is a latent frustration with the way things are in the average suburban supermarket sometimes, especially when you are in a hurry or in a bad mood. 

Today I had about 20 things on the list. I always have a list and I rarely fluctuate from it. I don’t mess around. I go in, I get what I need and I get out of there as fast as is humanly possible. I am polite and considerate but I don’t want to hear the specials necessarily and I do not want to make small talk and I do not want to get behind a family who has decided that those who shop together stay together, unless they are all going to stay the hell out of my way. 
I do not have a bad attitude. In fact, I always have a smile on my face. People know me there and I do not go in looking for trouble. That being said, today I was in no mood, and the first thing that happened was I turned a corner and came face to face with my miserable, non-smiling, ex-neighbor who hates me. Oh hi, I say, and I smile because it is not my fault that her husband hit on me at the barbecue ten years ago. So there. Get over yourself. Scowl at me? Seriously? After all this time? He is a dentist! And he is shorter than I am! Please! But you know how sometimes if you are going up and down the rows you will repeatedly run into the same people who are following the same route you happen to be on? Well, that’s what we did until I veered off out of necessity, as my rage was beginning to surface.
Every row seemed to be blocked, deliveries, label readers, coupon shufflers, serious, oblivious-to-every-other-human-being-on-the -planet aisle blockers. I purposely use one of those tiny, single person shopping carts for two reasons, easy maneuverability, and more importantly, because it guarantees that I will only ever leave with just as much as I can transport from my car to my house with one of those old lady collapsible folding carts, as I hate to make more than one trip from the parking lot up my driveway and into my house. Call me crazy, but I only allow for one trip and I will cripple myself with the effort; it has become a challenge, a game now for me to get in, get it all in, in one trip. I make my way up and down the rows the best I can.
Then, once I make up my mind that I am done, I want to be done. So then the trick becomes how to figure out which line to get into. I have this down to a science. With one sweep across the front of the store I can calculate the rate at which the cashier is moving and the dexterity of her shopping bag stuffer assistant. I know these people by now, I know the talkers, the speed scanners and the baggers who are so infuriatingly precise so as to make me want to kill myself. I head for the speed scanner who is working solo today. Excellent.
Price Plus, no coupons, a couple of giant cloth bags, swipe and …GO.
Before he even starts to say would you like paper or plastic I have half the stuff bagged and in my cart. He smiles. They have GOT to appreciate the non-talking, debit card swiping, self-bagger at least some of the time. It would be awful if everyone was like me but I am in a bad mood and I really just want to get home, and I think they can sense that sometimes, so I dispense with the pleasantries and I am on my way.
Did you know that when you are hired by a supermarket you must undergo six hours of bag training? It’s true. Videos, demonstrations, written handouts, hands-on practice—all to learn the art of bagging groceries so as to protect people’s purchases, and to save time and ultimately to save money. It is time well spent.
I get home. I fling open the trunk, and the bags come spilling out, a result of some fast-corner road rage I’m thinking, uneven packing also a probable culprit, heavy and light mashed together. I pull out my cart and, cursing under my breath, I attempt to put the groceries in it while reaching for the two bags still in the trunk. I lift, and the one with the milk and the cereal boxes (with razor-like edges) explodes as the boxes slice through the bag. Ah, more on the ground. But I see it in slow motion, the bottle, the hypo-allergenic, economy-sized, plastic bottle of dish detergent flies, it doesn’t fall, it flies out of the bag and crashes with an unscented, super concentrated, money saving thud, onto my foot.
I look at my neighbors who are out in the parking lot getting their mail. They have witnessed the aforementioned scene. I look up and smile and I say. “I bagged it myself. What a time-saver!” Then I turn and drag my cart, groceries sticking out all over the place, my shoes all sticky and creating bubbles as I slosh up the rain-slicked driveway and I think…
I forgot the tea.
Quintesse Quintesse
51-55, F
32 Responses Oct 20, 2011

I'm much the same. Buy my stuff as fast as possible.

It's the only way. haha

Zwedie--I am a seasoned supermarket professional having been at this for quite some time. Also, I live in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country so I know a thing or two about how to navigate and assess potential escape routes and time-saving strategies.<br />
I am thinking of running a seminar for those less capable. But then they would all probably pool their money and ask me to do their shopping FOR them, which is out of the question, although at one time I had a job doing just that for elderly clients and I amazed them with my abilities, haha. Not to good at bagging though.That really must be left to the professionals I've found.<br />
Definitely pay attention to the cashiers. They are what stands between you and a hasty departure when you are running out of time. Good luck out there.

Thanks Dinah. There is a lot of good material as far as Home Depot is concerned. I get hit on there a lot so there is a sexual component that cannot be ignored, and that always makes for a fun story, haha. I'll keep you posted...

Looking forward to reading about your adventures, or misadventures, depending upon your depiction of them.. :-)

I have never tried to write a humorous piece, but I may try, re. my adventures with my pressure cooker.... ( but don't hold your breath...)

I can imagine a pressure cooker could provide some good material as well, --I don't know a thing about them. I say, give it a go. I for one want to hear about this particular meal preparation fiasco, if in fact that is what it was.

Dinah, It's a good thing you're easy to please. So, come home from a grueling day and read of my hapless misadventures, and chuckle. I like that. I like that a lot. Thanks. haha. Fortunately I am an idiot and I never run out of material. Tomorrow...Home Depot.

You are the first person to ever accuse me of being easy to please. I think the checkle is more a reflection of your prose, than my temperament. I am greatly looking forward to your adventures.... Home Depot or bust! :-)

Wonderful!! Thank you so much!!! A smile at the end of an incredibly long day. The humor in shopping- I love it.<br />
<br />
Seriously, this was what I really needed after a long day- so many sincere thanks. You write beautifully, and that alone is an enormous gift you share. It altered the balance of my day. It is very much appreciated. Heart felt thanks.

Pebbles and 2011--Just a little grocery shopping humor. Trust me, there is a lot that is hysterical in the average supermarket. I could probably produce a story a week if I put my mind to many ideas, so little time. haha<br />
Thanks for laughing with me.

Well, I was aware of it when I wrote it, so I guess that makes it intentional, haha



Laniferous--haha. The only reason you're laughing so hard is because you're not in a supermarket at the moment. <br />
Hey! No clipping coupons at the register or I will have to make a citizen's arrest and your punishment will be that you have to wait on line at customer service to exchange something.

Haha Tas. Today I was behind a discarder--you know the ones who put the mustard in the magazine rack because they decide at the last minute that they do not need / want it after all? I think that is rude. <br />
I handed it to the cashier.<br />
"I guess she didn't want this." I said." Would you like me to stick in the gum rack or with the batteries? I mean, that is what you do when you change your mind, right?"<br />
The cashier just shook her head and rolled her eyes. <br />
I think they are saints; they'd almost have to be to put up with what they put up with.<br />
But mostly it is funny, the whole scene.

LOL<br />
<br />
I can SO relate to this story!! :)

I was just over there this afternoon, and now when I go there I think about this story and I crack up every time. <br />
Thanks for reading and commenting. It is fun.

Exactly. It is something that everyone can relate to--that's why it's funny.

JustYou--I have my moments. I am an observer of human behavior. There is no better place to observe this than a supermarket. <br />
There is a follow up story about a good experience too though. Kevin Klein was there. Now THAT was a good day.<br />
<br />
b~I've missed that heeheeheehee

soooooo funny miss Q<br />
<br />

My local store was recently closed for New Years. I guess everything got very backed up or something because I had to make my way through with an almost constant fear of being trampled on the following Monday. <br />
Note to Self: <br />
Be prepared to do without immediately prior to and after major holidays.

I forgot about the phones, another infuriating aisle / checkout complication. Of course wheeling has got to be frustrating; I would have to have a horn, I'm afraid, and if anyone ever dropped anything near me much less on my lap I would have to call security and report one of those "oblivious to everyone else on the planet" violations. My god. <br />
I am afraid that some of the references are lost on me but I am assuming that the Griswold's are an annoying bunch, the likes of which we will never be free of in one form or another.<br />
I try to have a good attitude, I really do, and mostly I manage it, but the supermarket experience...well, let's just say that it is an exercise in self-control most times, as you know.<br />
Thank you my friend. Oh--and write your story.

I always enjoy your stories, Q. I too despise the energy and effort it takes to get what I need. As you know I have to wheel my way through the madness but people are usually polite. That is because of all the many languages spoken here. It is easy to speak my Swedish since few use that here and curse them as I smile and nodd. Using Google translate on my 4G I am sure they just cussed me out as well while they returned the nod and smile. Costco doesn't have everything so I have to make two stops everytime. I have a multitude of purification techniques (Candles, sweat lodge, Gregorian Chants, Yoga, TM, to choose from as I hone my inner peace leaving the sword and shield under lock and key lest I be tempted. I must prepare myself for the madness that I must endure for the next 2 hours. We have few stores so everybody is there. Sorta reminds me of "Toon Town" on "Who fr<x>amed Roger Rabbit." I have wound up with a few landing in my lap as they turn too quickly reading ingredients, continuing to walk without raising their eyes over the last BFF's picture of their puppy's favorite napping spot. That can be a good or bad thing as they come crashing down on my lap depending on cuteness, gender, or girth of the individual. I could write a whole story about life from bellybutton level and I might just do that. But seriously I try to get as much as possible and just stay home. The crowds will only get worse as people spit out more "Griswolds." I have faith though, that as soon as they get this frustration solved they will definately develop and bigger and better one. It's the way of the world. Great story. You made me laugh.

You have no idea how much respect I have for you. I know that you have to be hyper focused on what you are doing while people are sharing with you their inane daily happenings, all the while bagging and handling coupons and errant children. How you manage to be pleasant --always! is amazing to me. I don't think I would be able to pull it off. I mean after the fifteenth customer or so I would be toast. Paper or....oh man, I quit.<br />
The other day I saw a woman writing a check at the register and I nearly lost it. A check? Are you kidding me? We really all have to stand here while you write it out, flip to the ledger, write in the balance, subtract, then oh so gently tear...AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!<br />
I know you know what I mean. <br />
Thank you. Your perspective is greatly appreciated, obviously.

Lol as a cashier I see the things that you describe ever day and yes we do appreciate the self baggers even though we wonder if what you describe is going to happen when getting the groceries out of the car lol and yes the training is a hot mess to say the least cashiers have to learn the art of bagging and the register such joy smh but it's computerized and we are paid for it so can't complain just answer the little quizzes and try not to fall asleep great post

Well, where I am our choice is limited, so we all end up in the same place day after day, week after week. I like that for the most part. I feel like Norm walking into Cheers half the time--I can even tell people--get out of my way, no time for niceties--bus at 2:40...and they will all jump out of the way or give me their place in line. I do the same for them.<br />
We even had a dog calendar/ picture contest there recently. It is fun. I just like to complain and then find a way to make fun of myself when I am a jerk. <br />
<br />
Note to Self: From now on, let Mary do the bagging, you just assist at her direction. That way you don't have to spend the afternoon cleaning dish detergent off your shoes. Tip: do not use a WET paper towel as the super-concentrated sudsing action will kick in. Dry is the way to go with that.

It is comforting to know it's not just me.<br />
I'll be heading back out there sooner rather then later, unfortunately.<br />
It turns out I forgot bread too.

Very funny. If I have to go shopping, I wear sunglasses no matter what the season even if their is a full eclipse. Im there to shop not talk. If I wanted to talk, I would have called you a long time ago. If I had a custom doormat, it would read, "If You Weren't Invited, Your Not Welcome".<br /><br />
Oh, my shopping cart would always have a shocker attached to remove those blocking the isles.<br /><br />

All I wanted was a cup...<br />
f me.

Oh my, you really had me that time. The tragedy of it......I forgot the tea!

They don't sell liquor in supermarkets here-- otherwise I could actually justify more frequent trips.<br />
<br />
The families leave me shaking my head in dismay and disbelief that this is actually fun for them. But it is true that the happiest people I know are relatively blissfully ignorant of all that goes on around them. <br />
I am hyper-conscious of other people to the point of being irritated by them a lot of the time, when I should be ignoring. <br />
Kind of a catch-22 as I see it. Maybe you can be happy if you close your mind to the world around you. I can never do that, hence my agitation. But that is another story, I guess... <br />
As always you amused me and got me thinking...thanks for that.

Ok, I can say I agree with everything you said but my two biggest frustrations are as follows<br />
You actually touched on my all time biggest gripe and that is the "Griswold Family Shoppers" There are always a herd of kids that do not have any manners but I can't blame them it is because they have never had any discipline. This is easy to spot as little "Johnny, the Devils own spawn" is climbing up the shelving to grab something while Mommy is telling him over and over to get down but doing nothing else to stop his behavior. But then why she she worry about him when the other half dozen demons she gave birth to are punching holes in the plastic wrapping at the meat counter, licking the produce or rolling it around the floor while their siblings are blocking shoppers from entering the aisle. Where is Dad? Most likely find him in the liqour aisle staring at labels wishing he had been born sterile.<br />
A close second for me is the idiot at the checkstand that thinks they are going to get a frigging prize because they have the correct change. so they dig and root in a purse the size of Rhode Island for all that precious change. Out comes the wallet, the photo album, the cell phone, half of yesterdays lunch and oh yeah THE TAMPON, old gum, scraps of paper. Finally they strike pay dirt after ten minutes that would wear out a hard rock miner they find that F'ing quarter, nickle and three pennies.<br />
Now guys do this too but it is a little differnt see these idiots have on a shirt with two pockets, a jacket with two pockets but they are the ones that are divided by a zipper so there is really four pockets and they have 4 pockets in thier pants and they can never remember which pocket they put the change in when they bought that 24 ouncer at the "Stop and Rob Market" just before they got to this store.<br />
Oh, well I just had to put in my two cents worth

Sometimes if I happen upon a couple shopping together I think it is the sweetest thing I've ever seen.<br />
<br />
The families however, are a whole other thing. They infuriate me, because it's not like they are all filing up and down the rows single file; they tend to fan out all over the place pointing out sales and new products to one another and discussing future meals and....oh my god get out of my way! I am out of milk and I am late for the bus! <br />
Thank you danielle. We should form a support group.

Speaking of carts. I forgot to mention in the story that mine had a double basket, one on top and then one below, a double-decker. The bottom was broken so that the back grate wouldn't latch, so as I was rushing out the door I had to stop and get the bag that had fallen out onto the floor, nearly tripping me as I was walking. The plastic hooked onto a corner of the cart and in my haste I ripped the thing. I actually kicked my stuff back into the cart. The spilling in my trunk was its revenge, I'm sure. Then I looked up pathetically at the woman behind me, loaded cart, waiting to leave, and I had to say "..a slight cart malfunction. So sorry." The whole trip was a disaster.<br />
I think supermarkets with broken, substandard carts should be cited by OSHA.<br />
And Blue, I know we've all been there. It sucks. haha. At least we can laugh, sort of.

" I see daylight between two people who have set up camp in the aisle of vegetables discussing who knows what and I make my way to that gap with an excuse me."<br />
Hahahaha!<br />
I forgot about that little tunnel that appears when you look down a crowded aisle--I suddenly become a running back heading for the end zone--if I can dodge that block I know I'll be in! GO!<br />
Haha. <br />
But I can't do the little baskets--I get too off balance, bag on one shoulder, metal handles cutting into my forearms. Men are better at those, I've observed. I need the cart, but sometimes I have to park it and then make a mad dash, like wide receiver going out for a long one.<br />
Yeah. It's Friday. I have football on the brain. <br />
And outer one. That's why it is so sad. You see, I can't go back for the tea. I just can't. It's too soon. I have to let the rage wear off. I need to watch a little football, and try and regroup so that I can go back out there next week.

Oh, I'm an idiot. I know that already.<br />
And I am nowhere near as mean in real life as I make myself out to be here. Mostly I walk around the store apologizing to other people for their rudeness. <br />
And don't even get me started on the shopping cart handles! I don't bother sanitizing anything while I am out-- but I head straight to the Silkwood decontamination chambers when I get home.<br />
See: Hypochondria/Germophobia.<br />
Thank you both.

Reading one of your stories to start the AM is always a pleasure. Hope no one got in your way when you went back for the tea.

I've given up using shopping carts. When I did use them, how I always got the one that had the squeaky wheel or the never turned left cart is beyond me. Shoot I'd even let folks pick a cart ahead of me and what happens, I get the wobbly wheeled cart. Or sometimes I think I'll beat the odds and use a cart someone has left abandoned, but nope, those cart gremlins are at work and the little folding basket won't go back into place.<br />
<br />
Me, I stick to the little hand held shopping baskets these days. No squeaky wheels, no having to manuver around displays hoping you don't knock anything down. I see daylight between two people who have set up camp in the aisle of vegetables discussing who knows what and I make my way to that gap with an excuse me. I don't need to bother the person on the cellphone who is staring at something on the shelf, following some kind of instructions given to them, I just pull my basket in close and work my way around them. <br />
<br />
When I'm done shopping I try to gage the checkout lines, seeing who might be a kind person, who will see me holding a basket with my items in it, sometimes with that gallon of milk in it or another heavy item, making it awkward to hold the basket in a level positon. Someone might see my "struggle" and offer me their spot in line, saying I have only a few items, of course I politely say no thank you, but they will insist, so I accept with a smile, and before I know it, another shopping day is over as the cashier hands me the receipt telling me to have a nice day. <br />
<br />
The tiny shopping basket is the best remedy for any shopping cart rage one might have.