1. A shopping cart is an extension of the shopper.
2. Do not invade one's personal bubble, including their shopping cart.
3. In the checkout line, the shopper whose items are currently being rung up is King. Act accordingly.
Yeah, that's pretty much all I've got right now, but I think it's adequate and all-encompassing. Why am I suddenly so fussy and concerned with shopping etiquette? I was appalled at a recent trip to Wal-Mart.
I am purchasing groceries, along with items for Robinson's birthday party. I am paying with cash and want to be sure I have not gotten carried away or overspent. I'm trying to be responsible, y'all. The lady behind me in line is very typical of shoppers waiting in a checkout line. She would like to jump up my butt, and somehow have all her groceries scanned and paid for while I'm still in line. Pay attention: I am in front of you in line. No matter how close you stand to me, or how many of your groceries are placed on the conveyor belt behind that handy divider bar, you're not getting out of here before me. Slow your roll.
This time, I am standing in front of my cart, because I'm still unloading items and at the same time monitoring the cashier scanning the items to be sure everything is ringing up at the correct price. I would submit that this is my right and responsibility as a consumer. Woman behind me steps forward and pushes my shopping cart forward about three feet. My child is in the cart. So, by my reasoning, she touched my child. I shoot eye daggers at the woman. I feel like the chick in the Axe body spray commercial.
I know you're not touching my mannequin!
Yeah, except instead of a mannequin, it's a baby. Never touch my shopping cart (which I commonly refer to as a "buggy", much to Steve's annoyance). Never touch my baby. Never touch my shopping cart while it contains my baby. Are we clear?
I didn't say anything to the woman, because I wondered if I was alone in my shopping etiquette beliefs. Steve says, "Oh hell no, she did not touch your cart with Rob in it." Haha, I'm paraphrasing of course, but I just made it seem like Steve talks like a sassy girl. I'm amusing myself, but I digress. Anyway, Woman had two children with her. Also, she was of a different nationality. Maybe in Mumbai, people push each other's shopping carts. I don't know. I've never been there. I decided to let it slide this once.
I'm not the only person whose personal space is invaded. Recently, my mom was on the phone with me while she was shopping, when she abruptly ended our conversation. I later learned what transpired that afternoon in the Hobby Lobby. Mom says she was being followed aisle-to-aisle by a woman who was crowding her so closely that she kept hitting my Mom with her shopping cart. Mom finally decided that enough was enough. Mom hangs up the phone, turns to the woman behind her and says:
Mom: I don't know you, and you are standing in my personal space.
Creepy Lady: [in a low, breathy voice] Yes you do.
Mom: Uhh, no. I don't.
Creepy Lady: [still in the breathy voice] Yes you do.
Mom: Who are you?
Creepy Lady: Who do you think I am?
Mom: I think you're a stranger and you're standing too close to me and you need to back off.
Ok, so I have to applaud my mom on her directness, but it was ineffective nonetheless. Creepy Woman continued to follow my mom through the store, eventually purchasing $300 worth of feathers, or "plumage" as my mom would say.
Shopping is a universal, public, yet personal experience. When I need to buy my toilet paper or pregnancy tests or [insert name of item you're embarrassed to purchase in front of strangers], I don't want to do this while a stranger stands over me, close enough to braid my hair. At the cash register, I'm handling my cash, or presenting a debit card, or entering a PIN number. This is also a private matter. Back the hell off. Don't touch my stuff. You'll get your turn.
Am I asking too much?