Unwritten rules of life: the grocery store

We learn from a very young age that rules exist in every facet of our lives.  Rules govern the way we live within our own home and within our community.  We are told how fast we are allowed to drive, how long we can borrow library books, and the most putrid of all rules, how long we have to wait after eating before we go for a swim.
Personally, I am a rule follower.  Most likely it stems from having very strict parents, but I can’t help but think that most rules are set into place for good reasons.  Granted, some rules are meant to be broken because we’ve all eaten a hot dog and jumped in a pool.  But usually rules are there to keep us in line and living happily and safely as a group of humans cohabiting on this beautiful planet. 
Yet rules are a funny thing—often they are very in-your-face, like the sign on the door to stores that state you have to wear shoes and clothes to enter.  Other times, they are just not written for anyone to see.  These are the rules that should be ingrained in our minds so internally that there should be no need to actually have them printed.  These are rules we should follow without even thinking about them, making us kind and decent people.
But then I go into the grocery store and it appears that these basic rules of human nature simply aren’t there.  In a place where so many of us convene in order to nourish ourselves with necessities, it seems that the rule of common courtesy is out of stock or was somehow left in the parking lot.
So here are a few unwritten rules for the grocery store:
1.     Please do not use the self-check out if you have 75 items and are paying with small, crumpled bills.
2.     Please do not stand with your cart blocking the sour cream and talk on the phone for 5 minutes so that no one can make vegetable dip.
3.     Please do not stop your cart in the center of the aisle so that no one can pass in either direction.  Also, if you are happened to be stopped and see that you are obviously holding up traffic, actually move your cart to the side.
4.     Please do not open a can of an energy drink and leave it with the cereal.  It’s very unattractive, trust me.
5.     Please do not cut in line at the deli counter.  We all saw you, and we need salami, too.
6.     If you happen to pass someone you know, please chat politely and quickly, don’t look to see what is in their cart, and always remember: friends don’t let friends break unwritten grocery store rules.

Originally written/published 1.11.15.


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