Be Nice to Your Grocery Store Clerks

Do you ever get in line at the grocery store and hear someone say something like, “Oh great, this lane’s light is flashing. Can’t they get anyone competent to work here?!”

People tend to overdramatize the act of waiting in line. We are all in such a hurry that a few minutes in the checkout lane feels like a half hour. Although we are all on tight schedules, our personal agendas do not grant us the right to moan and complain to each other about the efficiency of the staff. Frankly, it is annoying and disrespectful.

If there are consistent issues with service, take it up with the store manager and speak to him or her respectfully. If you do not see changes in customer service after speaking with the store manager, you can express your discontent by discontinuing to shop at that store. But please, don not try to spread your bad attitude to everyone else in line.

Contrarily, maybe you are considerate of the other people in line and recognize that issues come up during checkout that might cause delays. That is just how it goes. But how do you respond to Debbie Downer and Negative Nathan when they look you in the eye, openly complain, and expect you to chime in?

I used to appease them a bit and agree that the delay is unfortunate; but, lately I have been honest with people. When someone complains to me and anticipates my agreement, I simply smile, shrug, and say, “Eh, waddaya gonna do? There are worse things that could happen.” This infuriates them and leaves them dumbfounded that a person could be so patient and understanding.

To be clear, I do not respond this way to get a reaction or stir the waters. I am merely being honest about my feelings toward the situation and am no longer afraid to go against the current. My hope is that people lose that chip off their shoulder and say to themselves, “Oh yeah, I guess it’s not the end of the world.”

The next time you are in a long line and are tempted to moan about the wait, avoid the temptation to overdramatize the experience and just smile. And if someone next to you gives in to their own internal drama, just smile at them and wish them a lovely rest of their day.

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