But today I’m addressing the shoppers who are completely oblivious to the rest of the population who has to share the planet with them. Especially now that we’ve officially entered the holiday shopping season, I think it’s important to go over some ground rules to ensure a pleasant shopping experience for all.
1. The best way to spread holiday cheer is by not hitting, kicking, spitting upon, or pepper spraying your fellow shoppers. Believe me, there is nothing so important that you must maime another person to obtain it. People, this is not Somalia. You’re not standing in a bread line all day in order to feed your family. As appealing as discount electronics are, unless you’re playing hockey, there’s really no need to smack people against the wall, trip them, pull their clothes up over their heads, or knock out their teeth.
2. Use the self check-out aisles if you have less than 80 items, have used them before and/or have the mental capacity to read and follow instructions, and if you don’t mind getting stuck behind some moron who will try to scan the same bottle of prune juice 52 times before realizing he has no clue how to actually turn the bar code toward the scanner.
For more information on self check-outs and how to use them, see my amazingly informational (and not at all condescending) blog post HERE.
3. Don’t be annoyed by the people who stand in front of your favorite stores while ringing a bell next to that red kettle. Those people are volunteering their time, helping to make a difference in the lives of others. Smile at them and drop some money in the bucket! I don’t care how tight your budget is, everyone can spare a dollar.
The bucket is not a garbage can. Do not throw your paper latte cup, your crumpled receipt, or your snotty tissue in it. Do not spit your gum into the kettle. Say, “Merry Christmas” or the holiday greeting of your choice, drop in some money and move on. Or, better yet, get the bell ringer some hot chocolate to thank them for their service.
4. The final, yet possibly the most crucial, point is this. Do not block the aisles with your cart, stroller, or body. Don’t stand there comparing the sodium content of various canned meat-like products while your cart blocks the entire aisle. If you do that, other shoppers are completely justified in ramming full-speed into your cart. Don’t stop to make small-talk with that friend whose name you can’t even remember while taking up enough space for an elephant, a limosine, a water buffalo and two chickens. And, if for some reason (there really are no reasons where this is acceptable), you find yourself in that position, at least be aware of your surroundings and when a mom on a mission to get the necessities of milk, bread, wine and chocolate heads toward you, move out of her way!
So, what makes you nuts when shopping (especially this time of year) – people who write checks, have 28 coupons, must count out $4.92 in change, try to negotiate the price on a loaf of bread like they’re in some ancient marketplace? Let me know your pet peeves.