On a Grocery-Store Experience

There’s nothing like a trip to the grocery store to witness the diverse nature of our society; variety of shapes and sizes, varying socio-economic circumstances, varying dress, different behaviors, and countless of other human traits.

While entering the parking lot I see a car cutting across the lot. As we approach one another, I slowed down to prevent being broadsided if I turned down the wrong row, and then noticed the driver is also talking on their phone.

As I start turning into a prime parking spot, a loose shopping cart was also there. Of course it’s very close to the cart corral.

I move the cart to the corral, only to notice that other two carts were just outside the corral. How hard can this be? Maybe the prior shoppers lacked the ability to push their cart into the stall.

As I’m walking toward the store, a lady exits her car talking on her phone, and continues as she walks toward the store. Since she’s still babbling while I’m in the produce department, I quickly get my items and change my shopping route.

In the serenity of my next aisle I encounter a deliberate shopper – the one standing beside their cart and in front of the items while blocking the entire aisle. Since I’m the patient type, I determined what I could get in that area without taking my cart.

Able to move on, I rounded the corner toward the next aisle and saw the lady still on the phone. I come to a screeching halt, and off to another aisle.

Fortunately, an aisle with a clear path; unfortunately, an aisle with nothing I needed. Knowing my needs are in the next aisle, I turn the corner to be confronted by a two-shopper blockade holding a social court. No problem, off the next aisle where a shopper studying a kitchen gadget label is pondering her decision. This time I politely say, “Excuse me”

Time to go back an aisle – Oh no … she’s still talking! Since she lacked Secret Service Agents, she can’t be that important, so I got my items, and pass her (while mentally mumbling to myself).

In the next aisle I encountered a leisurely shopper slowly strolling aimlessly down the center of the aisle; meaning I can’t pass on either side. Since I needed items here, fell in line behind the parade’s Grand Marshall.

After two more stops I move toward checkout. While passing the express, self-check lanes I noticed the clueless shopper who thought the sign said, “Express Checkout for Shoppers 12 and Over.” The good news is that it wasn’t the lady with the cell phone.

Finally, I’m out of there; bags in the car; cart in the corral; and driving down the row, but not home free because as I drove in front of the store, I waited on the person slowly crossing at a diagonal because they don’t know the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line!

Yes, this all this happened on the same day. Yes, we encounter situations like this everyday. Yes, I too can (sometimes) be the cause. Today though, I wish I had some of Bill Engvall’s signs to distribute. So I leave this post with three thoughts and a very short closing.

Principle 1: Life isn’t about us as individuals.

Principle 2: The little things we do in life don’t take that much extra time and effort. Smiles, greetings, a multitude of niceties, and even putting shopping carts in parking lot corrals, go a long way. Many years ago, a friend of mine would say, “It doesn’t cost much more to be first class.”

Principle 3: Be aware of your environment, because every decision we make as individuals impact others – even those little things.

With not that much effort, these principles not only would improve our life, but just as important, they would better the life of others – and that’s what life is about.