Thursday, October 05, 2006

Grocery Store Rules

I am an avid coupon shopper, and I take my grocery shopping pretty seriously. I am also a very organized shopper, so when I go into a store, I know exactly what I am getting and I have already pulled the coupons I will be using. Every now and then I will stumble upon a surprise good deal, but for the most part, I am on a mission to purchase the items on my list and I am focused as soon as I enter the store.

I've noticed, however, that not everyone in the store is as focused as me - this includes other shoppers, stockers, cashiers, and customer service people. I have had quite a few frustrating shopping experiences the last few times I went shopping, and because of these experiences, I am going to share with the blog world some of my unwritten grocery store rules.

1. Obey the express lane item limit. I get really frustrated when I am trying to fit a quick coupon trip in during my lunch break, I purchase one or two coupon items, and when I get to the express lane, someone in front of me who apparently doesn't think the item limit pertains to them is in front of me. Why don't the cashiers say anything to these people? I will admit, I may have a time or two gone in the 10 item and under express lane with 11 items. But I always ask the cashier first if it is okay.

2. An extension from rule number one - DO NOT exceed the item limit in U-Scan. I was at Meijer last week, and Meijer is notorious for not having enough lanes open. All of the regular lanes had people lined up in the aisle, so I headed to the U-Scan. The U-Scans were full, too, so I parked my cart behind a lady who was checking herself out. I surveyed the situation - sure does seem like more than 15 items to me at first glance. So I started counting. She had already scanned two bags worth, I watched her scan 8 items, and then she started in on the items in her cart. I would guess she had at least 30 items in all. And it always takes the general public a lot longer to scan items than the cashiers. The gall of some people.

3. If you are going to use a coupon, make sure you are using it correctly. It's people who use coupons incorrectly that give us coupon shoppers a bad name. I was in Lances Tuesday, and this was the scene. Once again, there were very few lanes open, so I headed to a lane where I was the third person back. The person ahead of me only had a few items, and the first person in line only needed to have 3 or 4 more items scanned. I was in a hurry because the kids were at gymnastics, and when the class is over, there is no supervision to make sure kids get with their parents, so I wanted to make sure I was back in plenty of time. The cashier finished scanning the other products and then went to scan the coupons. Coupon number one - Dentyne gum buy one get one free. It beeped. Oh, the lady had forgotten to get her gum. So she went and picked it out. Coupon number 2 - beeped. Oh, she had forgotten to get that item. The cashier gave the coupon back to the customer. Coupon number 3 - a produce coupon. The problem was, she was trying to use it on some tomatoes that she decided she no longer wanted. So not only did they have to void the coupon, they had to reweigh the tomatoes to see how much to take off (not sure why they couldn't just see the price it had scanned at.) Of course the cashier didn't know the code for the tomatoes, the manager had to come over, and by now I was getting mad. Finally, the coupon disaster was over, and it's time for her to pay. Oh wait, she needed two packs of cigarettes. The cigarettes at Lances aren't at the check out, so someone had to run and get them for her. Total time to check out - 15 minutes. I'm glad I didn't audibly say anything because the lady's mother was the one in front of me. They both thought it was kind of cute how this lady was causing all these mishaps. I was struggling with my Christianity at this point, and I managed to hold my tongue, although I wasn't as pleasant with them as I normally would have been. In fact, the mother turned and said something about "You never know what she's going to do. I just turn my head." I avoided eye contact and said "Yeah." My ice cream was melting. She said, "Don't worry, I don't have any coupons." I wanted to say, "I do, but I, unlike your daughter, know how to use them."

4. Aisles at Wal-Mart by the non-grocery side are one way. When you enter the store and go left, the aisle closest to the paper, folders, seasonal items goes one way to the back of the store, and the aisle by the personal hygiene products goes back to the front of the store. Please, people, two carts can barely fit side by side on an aisle, so if someone is coming the opposite way, it just can't happen. With the displays that divide the two aisles, there just isn't room to do it any other way.

5. Aisles at Wal-Mart are not the appropriate place to have a conversation. I already mentioned above that the aisles are barely wide enough to pass. If two people and two carts are stopped to have a conversation, there is no getting through. Can't you see me standing there, behind you, with an annoyed look on my face trying to keep a Christian attitude. I inch closer and closer until I'm part of the conversation, yet you still don't get the hint.

6. Baggers - please put my refrigerated and frozen stuff together and separate from non-refrigerated items. When we travel to Ft. Wayne, we take a cooler. I don't like my deodorant frozen, and I don't like my ice cream melted. It's hard to tell what all is in a bag when it's all shoved in together.

7. If you aren't going to be decisive about which product to buy, please move close to the shelf so I can get through. However, if I need to purchase what you are looking at, please move away so I can get to it. And know the difference without me having to tell you.

8. Control your kids. When I was at Lances this week (same trip mentioned above) there were two kids running down the cereal aisle. They had a couple packages of play money in their hands. The boy tripped and the money went flying, almost hitting me. The girl laughed loudly and ran towards me after it. I gave them the evil eye (really, I've never stared like that at a kid I didn't know) but they didn't care. I would have found my mom and cried if someone would have done that to me, but not these kids.

9. Please open more lanes. When we go to Kroger, we will be done shopping in 15 minutes and then stand in line for 20. It's ridiculous. It's even more frustrating when there are five baggers for two lanes, or 3 people in customer service. Can't we spread out the duties a little more?

10. If stores are going to put promoted items on the end caps or on a center display, thus clearing out the section they normally are, they need to put a sign where that item should be stating where it actually is. I almost missed out on a great Dole fruit-gel deal because the product had been moved. It was a great deal - 1.00 each (4 pack), the coupon was for 1.00 of 3, dollar coupon doubled, total price - 1.00 for 3 4 packs.

I feel better already after venting about the above situations. Some people have road rage - I guess I have Marsh Madness.


Blogger Anon said...

I can't believe I beat Jaena to the comment section. :)

Funny you should comment yourself on road rage because about half way through the newest chapter in your book, I was thinking the same thing. That's why I don't shop unless it's past eleven o'clock at night. People like you scare me. Also, I'd be breaking your rule #8. Late night shoppers talk at Walmart because there's hardly anyone there, plus the stockers are out and are more helpful than the daytime help.

I'm glad you feel better. We're all here for you. :)

October 05, 2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

I read this awhile ago but didn't take the time to leave a comment, so you did beat me, Anon. Way to go! :)

As for you, Deb, I really wish you could just open up and tell us how you really feel about things...I feel your frustration. I also feel guilty if I am in the 10 item lane with 11 items even if there is no one behind me.

Bottom line: I try to shop early (like 6 or 7 am) to beat the crowds. I guess great minds think alike, Anon.

October 05, 2006 6:58 PM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

I hear ya, Deb! Emma now calls Walmart a "zoo" because that is what she hears me calling it. I think Walmart needs to get rid of those center displays that are in the way of the cosmetic area. That really bugs me. In fact, they need to expand that whole section of the store... it is always crowded and someone is always in my way of getting shampoo or toothpaste or ibuprofen. They look at you like how dare you come down my aisle while I am trying to decide on which toothpaste I want. I just want to go grab my Colgate and get out of the whole section!
So, I guess I can join your club... I too am an annoyed shopper.

October 05, 2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Too funny Deb - - - - -

Here's my suggestions:

1)Don't shop.
The inside of my refigerator is in a continual state of nakeness.

2) When forced to shop - - - go at 5 a.m., no one is there then. Well, once I DID run into Annette Deisler at that hour - - - - and she said its her favorite time to go - - - - - for ALL of your reasons.


October 06, 2006 4:18 AM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Oh dear - - - - BAD GRAMMAR ALERT- - - -

I should have said, Here are my suggestions.

October 06, 2006 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you need to get a job in grocery managment

October 06, 2006 8:19 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

OK Deb - - - HOW IN THE WORLD did you find my "celebrity" post SO QUICKLY???? I was still working on editing it when the message came in on my IM telling me I already had a comment from you on the post!!!!!!! TOO WERID.

October 07, 2006 9:41 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

weird too :-)

October 07, 2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

From the guy who loves wordplay: Marsh Madness. The best pun I've heard in a long time! Kudos, Deb.

(BTW: I promise to update my blog before this Thursday! Just gotta get some images sent to me from "Geoffroy" . . .)

October 08, 2006 6:33 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Thanks Joel, I'm glad someone appreciated it!

October 08, 2006 8:15 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

I appreciated "Marsh Madness" too - - - - I just didn't comment about it.

October 09, 2006 9:11 PM  
Blogger Bekah said...

GOD BLESS YOU DEB!!! You and I should shop together. Everyone who knows me knows that Wal-Mart grocery shopping is the monthly test of my salvation. WHY DO PEOPLE JUST NOT GET IT???? It's like the road! There are rules! USE THEM!!! The decay of western society joins me to shop every time I go out and I've h-a-d-i-t!!!!! GREAT post.

October 10, 2006 11:51 AM  

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