Check It Out

Why are people in grocery checkout lanes so completely oblivious to their surroundings that they forget the simplest etiquette?  Is this a problem that happens everywhere or is it only a phenomenon of retirement communities?  I just don’t remember it being quite this rampant in my previous life in Boise or Atlanta.

Here in Sun City, whenever Bill and I get into the checkout line, the person in front of us, more often than not, does one or more of the following:

a)   They don’t move up in the line because they’re too busy trying to absorb the entire contents of the Daily Star without having to actually purchase it, or;

b)   They don’t put a divider bar behind their pile of purchases so we can start unloading our basket because the 26 items they’ve dumped in the 15-or-less express lane are spread out in small mounds across the entire checkout area, or;

c)   They inch forward in line a bit but not far enough for us to reach a divider bar because they’re in a life or death struggle with their conscience over whether to buy a pack of sugar free gum or the two pound Hershey bar from the checkout lane display, or;

d)   They wait until the cashier has rung up all of their stuff before they begin to write a check because they forgot where they were and needed to see the store name on their receipt, or;

e)   They finish paying, then decide to have a lengthy conversation with the cashier about why they bought 27 cans of baked beans or how their Auntie Maude just had three corns removed and swears by an Epsom Salts and milk foot soak to ease the pain of major toe surgery.

All of this has happened to us in just the past week and a half when we’ve ventured out to the grocery store.  We probably go more than most people – three or four times a week – because it’s a type of mini-vacation for us, a chance to get away by ourselves for a while.  This is why we know that this type of rude, thoughtless, brain-dead behavior isn’t isolated to just one store; it goes on in every grocery store in which we shop.  The only common factor is that they’re all in retirement community territory, which includes Sun City, Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Youngtown and Westbrook.

I’m not sure why this makes me so crazy except that I thought most adults, and especially seniors, have spent enough years shopping that they should have learned the art of Checkout Etiquette.  But apparently they haven’t – or they’ve completed forgotten how it’s supposed to work.  The good news is the experience occasionally provides fodder for my blog, like Debit Schmebit, Parking Lot Games and The Great Strawberry War.  The bad news is shopping around here creates stroke-inducing spikes in our blood pressure.  I’m afraid one day Bill or I won’t be able to fight the urge to slap some old person up-side the head because of their insensitive, bad-mannered, self-absorbed behavior, at which point we would end up getting arrested for assaulting a senior and would have to call Mom to bail us out.


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