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Went to Trader Joe’s yesterday for a few things. Waited till 7:30 p.m. for it to cool down a little. Hit 100+F today and the prediction is for triple digits all week, through Sunday. The reason I mention this is because I couldn’t decide last night if it was just men or the heat turning men into clueless shoppers.

I’ve seen a number of dingy things men (and some women) do when shopping such as empty their cart onto the conveyor belt and then drag it along behind them thereby blocking the person following them from having access to the conveyor till the person is totally checked out. This slows down the whole queue for everyone who follows.

Worse yet is the person who leaves the cart there…doesn’t even bring it through. The following person then has to push the cart through for them. What’s so annoying is that they’re usually oblivious to all this.

Yesterday it seemed a lot of men had accompanied women on their shopping trip. One guy in particular was unbelievably annoying and there he was, wherever I was…in my way. He also was wearing one of those hats that are popular now, mainly on guys under 45-50 or under.The shopping guy’s brim was rolled up in the front, making the 50+ guy look just silly. Especially when he had a rather large beer-type gut hanging over his belt. Sorry, I know…I’m perfect.

He was apparently put in charge of pushing the cart while the woman wandered about grabbing this and that. This meant the guy’s mind had time to go off to la-la land resulting in leaving the cart abandoned mid-aisle which goofed up the flow of traffic completely.

What was so grating is that the guy was usually off in another aisle, standing back about a foot from the shelves, arms crossed, staring blankly at nothing particular on the shelf that was eye-level. Thus, totally blocking anyone’s access to any of the shelves in front of him. So now the cart and the guy have screwed up an entire section of the store.

The woman comes back, finds the man but no cart and her arms are full. So they walk two aisles over to where the cart is, dead center in the middle of said aisle. He didn’t offer to take any of the stuff in her arms BTW.

Grocery Shopping Etiquette (plain and simple):

1. When assigned cart-pushing duty, stay with said cart.

2. If your attention span is that of a gnat’s and you’ll be leaving your cart, pull it off the the side (just like driving a car…hello? Would you just stop your car in the middle of the street and walk away?)

3. If you want to stand and daydream find a slow spot like the cereal area, not the dairy section. And have the courtesy to retain a shred of awareness of your surroundings, moving out of the way when someone hovers by you politely waiting for you to move. How long can you stare at that milk carton? At least rotate locations now and then.

4. Once you get in line, stay there. Don’t suddenly “wake up” and realize your companion didn’t get this, that or the other thing. Now is not the time to run off in search of those items, especially if you are clearly not familiar with the store’s layout.

5. Do not chose this moment when you’re being rung up to edit your companion’s selections, causing the clerk to have to remove items that were already scanned and resulting in the inevitable need to find a manager for an over-ride.

6. Be courteous. At least offer to help carry your shopping friend’s (male or female) armload of groceries back to wherever you left your cart.

All the above actions will merit you dagger eyes from the customers (men and women) behind you who have to wait. Except #6.