Northampton Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Respectfully Yours: grocery etiquette

Friday, March 16, 2018 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

Trips to the grocery store can be downright exhausting and I have noticed that the grocery store checkout lane is a place where I encounter bad manners. What are your thoughts on grocery store etiquette?

Dear Reader,

The grocery store is fraught with inconveniences, but knowing how to navigate the grocery store will make your shopping experience a bit more pleasant.

As you shop, you are likely to find yourself faced with experiences that might rattle your nerves. When that happens, take a deep breath, and find some sort of peace in the circumstances. When it comes to the new-line dilemma, those who have been waiting the longest should be the ones who get to step over to the new open lane.

What happens more often than not is a customer just approaching the checkout area goes to start the new line, and the rest remain in their lines and give mean glances. The problem is that most people don’t know what to do and they hesitate. In this situation, hesitation keeps you planted right where you are.

Most adults shop for food periodically. Practicing basic good manners will make it a more positive experience. As a refresher course for how to keep the grocery store friendly, here are some suggestions for grocery store etiquette:

For starters, use the express line if you have fewer than the stated number of items. If someone happens to have an extra box of cereal or accidentally gets in the wrong lane, take the high road and be patient.

Don’t leave items in random places when you change your mind. We’ve all picked up a bag of chips and then found something better. Don’t just stick the chips in with the bread. If you don’t want something you put in your cart, take the time to return it to its rightful shelf area.

Be polite to the clerks. Be kind. Be patient. It can be frustrating to have to explain to a new clerk that the apples she’s staring at in bewilderment are a particular kind or if they have to call for a manager to ring up your coupons, but that’s no reason to forget your manners.

Thank store employees anytime you ask for their assistance.

And finally, please put your grocery cart back in the designated spot.

Even if the store has personnel who do that, you should still show good courtesy. Grocery cart etiquette is a little thing that makes a big difference when you add up all the trips we take to the store.

If you are ever in doubt about what to do, apply the Golden Rule.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst