Rules for Shopping

I don’t often go out shopping on big shopping days, mostly because people annoy me. But this year I ended up out and about more than usual.

So, to save my sanity, I’ve compiled a list of common courtesies that will make the world a better place. Remember these if you’re shopping tomorrow for last minute gifts or the after Christmas sales.

1. Learn to drive. Really. Signs, signals and lights are important. Do not park in front of the dumpster because it’s just too much to walk thirty feet to get your dinner order. Don’t pretend you’ll never be able to turnaround when you end up in the wrong lane and then cross three lanes and by all means don’t shrug and wave as if to say “oops! *giggle*”

2. Remember that I, and presumably you, are here to shop. Not make friends. Its not that I’m unfriendly, I have been known to make delightful small talk. But today I am here to shop for clothes or trinkets or books, not a new BFF.

3. In a related note: step back! No one needs to be thisclose when I’m swiping my credit card or contemplating lemon or lime pudding. Personal distance is important as I am paranoid. The closer you get, the closer I get to using my purse as a weapon.

4. If you find a friend while shopping, great! Just don’t feel the need to share this glorious reunion and rub baby bumps or recap the last dozen years while blocking a door, aisle or display. This isn’t the Oprah show. We don’t care. Move away from the peanut brittle please thanks.

5. Piles of sweaters, novelty whistles and candy are no substitute for a babysitter. Take junior’s measurements with you and leave the little tyke in a happier place. And dear god, please understand that even if you have learned, through years of parenting, how to ignore shrieking, crying, whining and noise making children, have some consideration for the rest of us!

6. When you’re in a queue you have one job: get to the front of the queue. Once you’re there you need to watch for the next open register as if your life depends on it. Because it might. Don’t make the person behind you holding their finds repeat, point or draw you a map. I am always tempted by bypass those who would rather chat than check out.

A bonus for the stores: if you feel the need to line the queue with drinks and snacks then you need more checkers. Seriously. It’s somewhat understandable at a grocery store because who DOESN’T get home and realize they forgot the snickers bar? But retail stores? Get more checkers.

7. When you’ve made it through the parking lot, the maze in the store and the queue keep it snappy. As a former retailer worker I can promise you, The checkers are not your friend. If they were you’d be getting an employee discount and going to their house for drinks. Checkers are nice because a) the boss is nearby, b) they want you to sign up for the credit card offer or buy a gift card/promo of the week, or c) they’re resigned to this fate and might as well be happy. Stop talking as if you’re long lost buddies about the amazing color of those socks or the great deal on those candy boxes. Pay. Leave.

8. This applies beyond the holiday season but needs to be said. Do not, under any circumstances answer your phone or make a call in the bathroom. Ever. If it’s life and death then wash your hands and step outside. I don’t care if your loved ones are accustomed to hearing from you while you, uh, take care of business. No one else wants to hear your conversation in the bathroom.

In fact, as a present I designed a customer service announcement and encourage all people who understand the meaning of privacy to post these inside public toilet stalls the world over:

Sorry, is that in poor taste? SO IS TALKING TO SOMEONE WITH YOU PANTS DOWN IN A PUBLIC PLACE.

9. Finally, at least pretend to be a pleasant person in public. No one writes sonnets about long lines, merchandise shortages or slow workers.  So while all of things (and more) may annoy you to bits don’t take it out on the world.

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