I sped to the grocery store after work yesterday so I could get there before the evening shopping rush hour. First thing that greeted me was a sign taped to one of the entrance doors: “THIS DOOR IS LOCKED AT DARK.” Mourning the decline of the poor English language that I love so well, I entered.
Happily there were very few people in the store. One of those few customers felt it mandatory to park her cart in the middle of the aisle while she leisurely tried to remember what it was she was looking for, making it impossible for me to get my cart past her. By law, there’s always at least one of these types in every grocery store. Yes, I could have asked her to move aside. But what if I accidentally rolled my eyes or something as I was going by and she took out a knife and reduced me to a bleeding pile of human filet? Best not to tempt fate. Just like I don’t want to ask any of the clueless jerks on the subway to move their giant shopping bags off the seat so I can sit down. I’m sure their shopping bags are very tired. But not as tired as I am. Anyway, I made a U-turn and used another aisle as a detour.
In American supermarkets there are often plastic wands that can be placed on the checkout conveyor belt to separate your items from the customer’s just ahead of you. There were only two wands at this checkout stand, and the cashier was placing them down right next to herself, where no one else could reach them. You had to wait until it was your turn to be checked out so that you could place the wand behind your stuff because the person waiting after you couldn’t reach the thing. Oh, yes, you could suggest that perhaps there might be a better way to do that. But you just don’t want to ruin your evening with the possibility of a nasty encounter with the cashier when you’re almost out of there scot free.
After I unloaded my groceries in the back of my car, I was wheeling the cart back to the front of the store. A taxi zipped in front of me and parked in front of the store to drop off a passenger, precisely in front of the ramp where you push the shopping cart into the storage area near the front door. The passenger left, but the taxi sat there, blocking the ramp. I debated whether it would be better to ask him to move or just heave the shopping cart over the curb. After about seven seconds, he saw me standing there staring at him with the huge shopping cart and it occurred to him to move the car.
So often the simplest encounters with the inconsiderate escalate and turn on the aggrieved. Most of the time, I don’t think it’s worth the risk to speak up. You seriously never know who’s a loon and who’s carrying a weapon.