Share this article

print logo

Jim Williams: How did I get bitten by supermarket bug?

For someone who “labored” at the retail and wholesale sales level for close to 35 years, I was never noted for being a shopper. Other than the occasional trips to the local deli for a quart of milk or a loaf of bread, that was the extent of my shopping. Yes, I did help my wife unpack the groceries, but only to see what goodies she had brought home.

But now that I’m somewhat retired, I have been bitten by the “supermarket bug.” No, I’m not a coupon clipper or a weekend shopper just there to savor all the food samples. But now that I have more time to myself, I have discovered a whole new world of shoppers, and shopping nuances. Please keep in mind, my shopping is limited only to supermarket venues.

Let me enlighten you to a few of my experiences and annoyances that I have encountered these last few years. I’m sure that many of you “cart-wheelers” have shared some or all of these experiences.

Not to be put in any particular order or importance, let me relate to you the “bulk candy sampler.” Be honest, fellow shoppers, how many of you have gone by the bulk candy section and snitched a “freebie”?

This is by no means a self-confession, but let me tell you how this caper plays out. You discreetly walk by, look around in all directions and proceed to “pluck” a tasty morsel into your mouth. Now the question is: “Did I get away with it?” I think so. The alarms haven’t gone off. I haven’t felt a tug on my shoulder from the long arm of the law.

The following is one I believe we can all relate to. You’re in the 15 items or less aisle but inevitably there is someone ahead of you with a cache of at least 40 items on the conveyor belt. Of course the hapless cashier is not going to ask the customer to go to the appropriate aisle, but I know that more than a few of us would like to shout: “Can’t you count?”

Then there is the “I have the exact change customer.” I certainly don’t want to be accused of being a sexist, but it seems that most women are always searching deep into the recesses of their purses for the exact change when paying for their groceries. Don’t they realize there is a line of people 10 deep behind them? Yet there they are, fishing for that elusive nickel or penny. Why can’t they just skip the search and move on?

I’ve also had to wait at the recycling machines while people use both the plastic and the can slots at the same time. It’s as though they are dealing a one-two punch to the machines. I might add that these are people with not just one cart of returnables, but two.

Have you ever been run down by a speeding shopper racing down the aisle like he is on a mission from God?

My favorite is the customers who come in for only one item and end up juggling an armful of goods like they were auditioning for an act in the circus. My simple advice: Use a basket.

Please don’t misunderstand me. As a recently initiated member of the Shoppers Club, I certainly enjoy shopping at our friendly supermarkets’ social centers. I only wish that my fellow shoppers would be more considerate and polite.

You see, it took me a long time to join this club.