Could I get by please?

Could I get by please?

Last time out the target was the cyclists on Quebec’s streets, this time round our Quebec City resident columnist Job Patstone goes grocery shopping…

After the experience I had this morning in a Quebec City grocery store I frequent, I think it’s finally time I write an article about this particular subject.

Shopping_trolleys_QuebecWhat’s with people and their shopping carts (baskets, buggies) call them what you will, in the grocery stores? Every week we encounter
somebody who has decided that either the whole store, or at least the aisle they’re in, belongs to them and only them. You know the ones I mean, those people who just don’t realize that there may be another person wanting to navigate the same alley as them. They leave their buggy right in the middle of the aisle not thinking to move it to one side or the other so that you could get around it and continue on your way. No, it’s right there blocking everyone, and of course while you’re trying to get his or her attention and to make them realize that indeed there are other people who buy groceries, the person has no idea that you are doing so, because he or she is too busy staring at the shelf of peas, deciding whether or not to buy the cheapest, the most colourful, or whatever brand they might prefer. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t really matter, because as far as they’re concerned, they can take as long as they want since there’s no body else in the store.

Today I had another experience which again baffled my mind. At a double belt checkout the chap in front of me blocked the exit corridor with his basket while the cashier was scanning my groceries. He slowly and methodically packed his bags placing them orderly onto his chariot with obviously no thought given to me or the rest of us behind him who also wanted to “check out”, pack up and get out. He finally said to me after I
was pushing my basket politely towards his, “You can just push my cart out of the way sir, no problem”. Yeah, like I was to push his groceries elsewhere so I could get by, really, you want me to move your cart. Didn’t make sense to me, or the guy behind me, who was by now paying for his order.

Shopping_trolley_QuebecFinally I did push his ‘panier’ out of the way and wangled my way around him. He obviously had no intention of doing so himself. I packed up and was on my way out the door before he was. Later as I was loading my bags into my car in the parking lot I saw the same guy, after having transferred his groceries into his vehicle, take his shopping cart and shove it to the nearest basket drop a good ten feet away letting it fly to where ever it may land. I guess he was having a bad day and decided to take it out on we shoppers and or, the cart, or maybe he’s just a complete asshole. Who’s to say.

This example aside, I do get upset over those people who have no, call it courtesy or regard, towards other grocery shoppers when it comes to the manoeuvring of their vehicles in and around the corridors of our local grocers.

The problem of having our heels hit by an oncoming buggy seems to have been rectified, although it took about 20 years to do so, but the politeness of grocery cart driving and parking still has a long way to go.

Some say the problem is with the larger size of the buggies, or that the aisles are narrower, or maybe it’s those cardboard display shelves that pop up on corners or in front of the coffee grinder that make everything more intrusive. Whatever it is, a big part of it is simply, in the words of Aretha Franklin “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”.  There is always a way to accommodate others, or at least share the space we live in, especially in a grocery store. It would certainly beat having to say, “oops sorry” or “Oh, excuse moi, je t’ avais pas vu” over and over again.

Job Patstone, critic of everything.

Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Job Patstone

Job Patstone was born in Hamilton, ON. and has lived in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer AB. He is presently living in Quebec City, with his wife. He worked for Xerox for 26 years and was an ESL teacher for another ten.

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