(Warning: This pic is an inaccurate, rather inspiring dramatization of my real shopping persona.)
When I say “aisle retreat”—I do not mean palm trees and free samples.
Instead, I’m referring to a spontaneous (but well practiced) halt-then-reverse motion I employ when one of the following occurs: there are too many people already in the aisle, or one person is clearly blocking the aisle, or there’s someone I’ve already encountered in another aisle–either through a cordial excuse me, or a much fouler, low-spoken-still-audible-name-calling response to their selfish rudeness.
One recent example: After I had politely waited for some alone time in the produce section, ready to carefully inspect and choose my weekly celery, I developed a beet red complexion when some …( I prefer the C word here, but some people don’t like it the way I really, really do) …horribly rude person reached around me and grabbed the first available bunch!
And while I knew that she had just picked the worst possible selection, I couldn’t understand her incorrigible willingness to literally invade my space.
Well, that (being nice here and still not using the C word for you overly sensitive ones) celery whore just got herself some lousy produce.
And yes, don’t worry, I do find it better to avoid these interactions and select non-prime shopping times as much as possible.
But really? Who does a reach around for celery?!
And don’t get me started on people who run their carts out from the end of a blind aisle and act like they have the right of way. I’m the wrong person to argue with about right of way.
But again, in true introvert fashion, I have developed a preventive measure with my strong sense of hearing for the irritating echo of cart wheels and thwart these unfortunate encounters with calculated avoidance.
Pausing to pretend I am interested in a center aisle display of pork rinds just to avoid a terrible co-shopper is not beneath me.
There’s room for improvement with my interaction skills, but so much more need for these celery grabbers and aisle bullies for self-reflection.
In the unfortunate times that I must mainstream shop, I focus on the music hovering in the rafters above this nonsense. I do things like pretend that I’ve never seen a grocery store and I’m grateful that I don’t have to grow all this stuff myself.
And I try to smile and see the cart monsters before they see me.