Cultural Lessons at the Grocery Store

Now that I’m a working woman again, I had to buy my Thanksgiving groceries today. On a Saturday. The last time I did that, I lived in Marin County, California. The difference startled me.

In Marin, grocery shoppers are cut-throat any day, but especially before Thanksgiving. Patrons whipped their carts through the aisles aggressively, mirroring the way they drive their cars on the freeway. No one seemed to care who was in their way. I left the store bruised from carts rammed into my shins. I did not feel very thankful; it didn’t seem like anyone in that store did.

Today, in North Carolina, no one was in a hurry. People pushed their “buggies” in a civilized, even genteel, manner. Two older ladies stopped to chat with me about their Thanksgiving plans. I watched a high school boy commandeer his grandmother’s cart, sweetly reaching products on high shelves for her. He even smiled at me. It was a world apart.

My approach is somewhere in the middle. In the past, I’ve been irritated by Marinites and highly critical of them. But today, I must admit, I felt impatient at times, wanting to hurry so I could get out of there and enjoy my day off, now a rarity. I found myself giving suggestions to the checkers who stood idly, waiting for the manager to come to their aid. I hinted that perhaps they could page him. I suggested to a gentleman who parked his buggy in the middle of the aisle that maybe, if he wouldn’t mind, he could scoot it over a bit. No matter what state or even country I find myself in, I like to help people become more efficient. It’s my small offering to make the world a more orderly place. Usually, for some strange reason, my help is not received with enthusiasm.

Today, besides my momentary impatience, my grocery shopping experience was, well, pleasant. People were human and kind. I bought Thanksgiving groceries with a thankful heart. Maybe the South is rubbing off on me. One can only hope.

1 thought on “Cultural Lessons at the Grocery Store

  1. Jason Hew

    Sounds like a great place to live!  I think I would like to find a "middle" too.  Let me know if you find that place. 


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