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Updated on July 22, 2014

Shopping At Your Own Risk

Shopping is definitely “at your own risk” these days. And, nowhere is the risk factor higher than standing in the supermarket checkout line. The offenders may be old, young or in between. I’ve been whacked in the back with carts driven by sweet little grandmas who morph into Charging Charlotte upon entering the checkout line. I’ve had carts rolled up the back of my heels, shoving one shoe off. I’ve been pushed, inch by inch, through the checkout line and had items piled in with my purchases, all in the name of speed.

Today was no different. I knew I was dealing with Pushy Petunia when I took one step to the side from behind my shopping cart to reach across the aisle for a magazine. I got the magazine and without looking, attempted to step back into the exact spot I just left. But no, Pushy Petunia had taken the opportunity to gain ground in the checkout line. I collided with her shopping cart. She said, “Sorry”, accompanied by an insincere smile which clearly said, “You got out of line.” The front of her buggy touched the back of mine. No attempt was made to back up and give me room. Of course, by this time the person behind her had also shoved forward and had rammed the front of her cart into Petunia’s back. I returned her insincere smile. If she read it correctly, she knew my smile said, “It serves you right; now wait your turn”.

Trying not to crowd the person in front of me, I waited at the side of my shopping cart until I could place a divider on the conveyor belt, followed by my purchases. Every time my cart moved, Petunia’s shoved immediately into it. As I finished unloading my cart, my purchases were scanned, bagged and placed on a round table to be returned to the cart. Petunia was giving no quarter. I had to move quickly to get the cart back in front of me. The round table was filling up, so I loaded the filled bags back into the cart to make room for the cashier. Finally we were done. Irritation shot through me as I turned to use the check writing stand. Pushy Petunia was in occupancy, wallet in hand. Obviously, Petunia was going nowhere, since Charging Charlotte, who appeared to be 70 plus years in age, now had her shopping cart rammed up against Petunia’s cart.

The cashier was waiting for payment and I was waiting for Petunia to move. I decided to stand aside and see how long it took for her to realize she was about to be asked for payment. It finally got through to her when the cashier repeated, “That will be $239.16”. Petunia glanced at the conveyor belt that held her own purchases, amounting to $25 tops. That did it. She stepped back for me to get to the counter. Immediately the two carts, which appeared to be mating by this time, rammed into my side, still driven by Charging Charlotte.

One last glance on my way out the door showed a smirk on Charging Charlotte’s face, directed at Petunia. It said “You got out of line”. As Petunia began loading her cart, Charlotte moved forward to the checkout counter.

Enjoying Petunia’s comeuppance made me a little less observant than usual. Joining the slow moving line leading out of the store, I was cut off at the pass by a mother with two shopping carts and four unruly children in tow. Drat! It was the woman I’d seen earlier in the parking lot. We’d both been trying for the same parking space. I’d reached it a split second before she did. I didn’t know she had four kids with her at the time, but surely she realized I was in a big hurry. Besides I was older and the parking space was close to the door. I’d smiled at her, but perhaps she misread it. She was smiling at me now and there was no mistaking what her smile was saying. “Wait your turn.”


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    • Karen Ray profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Ray 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      It's a jungle out there! Thanks for commenting.

    • runrchic1 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is so funny and so true!


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