Who’s the Jerk? Grocery Store Etiquette While You’re Checking Out
Whenever I go to the grocery store, there are some unspoken rules that I tend to abide by. Grocery stores are busy places and just like the rules of the road, there needs to be a bit of order to be able to go in and do your shopping efficiently.
One of the things I always do out of courtesy and to bring some order to the parking lot chaos is returning my cart to the cart corral and then stacking the ones already there up neatly to make things a bit easier for the staff to collect them and to keep them out parking spaces where they can scratch the paint.
I also keep to the left of the aisle, just like driving so that people can move back and forth easily. Truth be told, I kind of miss the one-way aisles that were set up during the COVID pandemic.
But there's one thing I'm not quite sure of. What is the etiquette for placing the divider on the belt at the register?
More years ago than I can count, one of my first jobs as a teenager was as a bagger and cashier and Shop 'n Save in Oxford, which later became Hannaford. Back then the carts we used were high and unloaded right onto the belt by opening in the front.
When those went away, shoppers started unloading their own groceries and the divider was born to let the cashier where one person's groceries ended and the next person's began. It was new at the time and some people weren't quite sure what to do, but that was over 30 years ago, so we should have this down, but apparently not.
Our manager here at the radio station, Sarah, told me recently that the person in front of her did not put the divider down when she was at the grocery store. That begs the question, who's responsible for putting down the divider? The person currently being rung up or the person behind them?
Hand down it should be the person in front, right? They know where the last of their groceries are and the sooner they put that divider up, the sooner the person behind can start loading up their groceries on the belt.
So who's the jerk here? The person in front who didn't put the divider down, or the person behind who expected them to put the divider down?
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