I actually enjoy grocery shopping. Like many shoppers, I have my favorite cashiers at the stores I frequent.We talk about local news, the weather,silly tabloid headlines, or what they did on their day off. This is all welcomed and enjoyable chit-chat. Sometimes they comment on my purchases, ask what I’ll be cooking and we discuss recipes.
However, on occasion I am taken aback by judgmental commentary on my purchases – from cashiers I am not familiar with. It stuns me. I am always able to come up with a witty retort …..minutes later during the drive home.
Like the time I went grocery shopping at a major chain, in preparation for houseguests. My guests included a little one. I wanted the sweet little lass to feel at home, so I was stocking up on her favorite foods. As the cashier scanned all the yummie “kiddie” food, he said, “Wow.”
“Pardon me?” I said.
“Do you know what the ingredients are in all this food?” he asked.
I explained about my company arriving the next day. He proceeded to shame me for my purchases, and told me I shouldn’t be so accommodating. He then added that he would never buy groceries from this store. He told me he shopped exclusively in organic markets and health food stores. I can only imagine his moral conflict: collecting a paycheck from a supposed poison peddler.
I should have complimented the store manager on his crusading cashier. Instead, I scurried to the parking lot and stuffed my reusable shopping bags full of shame into the car.
I’ve also dealt with the cashier who was thoroughly annoyed when I purchased a selection of lovely Winter root vegetables to oven roast. The vegetables were all unrecognizable to him. He had to first identify them, and then look up the code for each one. This involved a great deal of exasperated eye rolling. “Dude! You buy weird stuff!” he finally huffed.
I can’t win. I’ve been equally shamed for buying processed junk food and healthy whole food. I can’t handle the judgement. I’m thinking about going to the market incognito.
For me, the most awkward commentary happens at the neighborhood drugstore.
I cringe when I discreetly pile my goods on the counter only to hear the cashier say “Uh-Oh!” or “You poor thing.” or “Somebody isn’t havin’ a good day.”
I feel like this intentionally sympathetic commentary unintentionlly spotlights my shopping basket, or more specifically: the current conditions south of the border.
I mean, where else do your purchases indicate your current issues in such a revealing and public way? There is privacy at the pharmacy counter, but we share freely with the group at the checkout counter, whether we want to or not.
Decades ago while traveling with my Mother and sister, one of us daughters was suffering an uncomfortable bout of the ‘ole vacation constipation. My mother, an old school R.N., suggested a Fleet’s Enema. My sister and I were horrified at the thought, but we promptly hoofed it to a very busy downtown drugstore to purchase the prescribed relief for… one of us.
We waited uncomfortably (one of us more uncomfortable than the other) in a very long line. Finally,as we awkwardly plopped that enema on the counter, I loudly asked my sister, “Are you SURE this is the kind Mom likes?”
Mother unknowingly took one for the team that day. Heaven forbid anyone in line know that one of us had an issue.
Really, shouldn’t there be a partition or privacy screen separating the customer who is being helped, from the rest of the gawkers in line?
A gentleman could discreetly pick up feminine products for his lady.
It would eliminate the awkwardness for all of us when purchasing unmentionables like: wart remover; hemorrhoid remedies; lice shampoo; anti-fungal anything; Kaopectate; laxatives; the triple-threat of tampons, Cheeto’s and M&M’s; or anything associated with the care or treatment of lady parts in general.
Sure, buying discreetly online is an option, except for the sense of urgency usually associated with the need for the embarrassing stuff.
Until there is a privacy screen, I guess it’s dark glasses and the drive thru lane for me the next time I need to buy a Fleet’s enema…..for Mother.