Do You Break the Unwritten Rules of Supermarkets?

Post any question on Facebook about what people "should" do in public, and you're likely to start an argument.

Not that this is a surprise. People on Facebook will fight about the color of orange juice.

But if you ask people a question like whether screaming children should be tolerated in a restaurant, you'll get ten people and 13 opinions.

We can't even agree on grocery store etiquette. People engage in all kinds of rude, selfish behavior and the rest of us are shocked —SHOCKED! I say — at how terrible they are.

But even then, we can't agree on what's acceptable and what's not. Name any grocery store "sin," there will be a handful of people who say it's not so bad, and then everyone will argue about it and accuse each other of being fascist Nazi Communists.

Meanwhile, the selfish jerks who actually commit the sins don't care how despicable they are. recently surveyed 1,000 people about the unwritten rules of grocery store etiquette and how they feel about them. Here are a few of the more egregious violations.

First, don't leave your grocery cart in the parking lot. According to Treadmill Reviews, 72 percent of respondents said it was inappropriate; the remaining 28 percent shop at my local store.

One time, I had just parked at the store when a guy started to leave his cart next to my car.

"You know, the cart return is just right over there," I said helpfully.

"Oh, I didn't see it," said the guy, pretending he had never, ever been to a grocery store. He did return the cart though.

At the top of the list, nearly 97 percent of respondents hate it when people abandon perishable items somewhere else in the store. They voted this the "least appropriate," and people who do it are some of the worst of the worst.

If you don't want that quart of ice cream, don't stick it next to the canned beets. Just take it to the cashier and tell them you don't want it. Better yet, walk it back to the freezer yourself.

It's one thing to leave a box of pasta in the juice aisle, but people who deliberately ruin ice cream are schmucks. They're probably in a hurry to get home and kick their dog.

Leaving non-perishable items in other parts of the store — like leaving a bag of cookies in the bread aisle — is up there too, clocking in at 79 percent. While this is annoying, at least it's not destructive. But you're still doing something nearly 8 out of 10 people think is self-centered.

Only slightly less bad is actually eating something before you pay for it. Instead of abandoning your bag of potato chips, 78 percent think you're a monster if you rip the bag open and shove the chips into your face.

I think it depends entirely on whether you're eating Cool Ranch Doritos or Sour Cream & Onion. (Hint: Sour Cream & Onion chips taste like crunchy death.)

Cutting in line is the worst, according to 99 percent of the respondents. They said it would "likely lead to a confrontation."

I regard line cutters with the same contempt as people who interrupt a conversation because they "only need a second," but end up hijacking the entire discussion.

Over two-thirds of respondents said leaving the checkout line while your items are being scanned because you forgot something was inappropriate.

I'll admit to sending one of my kids to grab something, but if they can't make it back in time, then I just send them back through the line with my debit card. Once we get home, I make them run laps around the block so they learn to go faster next time.

Eighty-nine percent hate it when people take more than 10 items into the "10 items or less" lane.

But only 15 percent of you screamed "or fewer!" at that last sentence.

That doesn't make it right though. In fact, it's one of the worst violations, and people who do it should be punished. Remember, "less" refers to volume, "fewer" refers to quantity.

The grocery store thing is bad too. Don't do that.

I recently saw a cashier embarrass a woman for bringing 13 items into the "10 or fewer" lane, right after she cut in front of me because she was "in a hurry."

I won't lie, I got a little thrill when it happened.

What was the least bad? Next-to-last was "Verbally disciplining your child while shopping." It was called inappropriate by the 27 percent who don't have any children and therefore know everything about parenting. Everyone else just nodded knowingly and whispered, "Peace and strength be upon you."

And at the very bottom, with 26 percent disapproval, was "Handing the cashier items you no longer want to purchase." That's almost saintly compared to some of these other misbehaviors. If there's one thing you should do in a grocery store, it's return unwanted items to the cashier.

People who think that's bad need to climb down off their high horse.

Just take it to the cart return when you're done.

Photo credit: Joachim Beuckelaer, The Four Elements: Air. A Poultry Market with the Prodigal Son in the Background (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 0)

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