“To conquer self is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat.”― Plato
I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and I realized that the grocery store is the easiest place to see the character of someone. There are so many opportunities for people to reveal their true selves to the world unknowingly. My last trip revealed to me not only who people are but who I am in response to these revelations.
1. What kind of cart person are you?
The great philosophical question you are forced to ask yourself at the grocery store is what kind of cart person are you?
Person 1 – the person who takes the time to return the cart to the cart corral when finished loading the groceries into your vehicle. My interpretation is this person has a broader view of the world. They realize that there are other people in the world and have the character to take the two extra minutes to return the cart to the corral rather than just leaving it where it lies.
Person 2 – the person who doesn’t want to have to deal with the cart question and leaves their cart in the grocery store and fills their arms with as many groceries as they can. This person, in my view, is pragmatic and efficient wanting to save as much time and effort as possible.
Person 3 – this person leaves the cart in the parking lot as soon as they unload their groceries. They don’t have the time, or I would argue the character, to return the cart to the corral. Who cares what happens to the cart as soon as they leave? If it rolls into someone else’s car because of the wind oh well. If it blocks a parking spot for someone else what does it matter doesn’t affect them? They reveal to the world that the world revolves around them and only them.
The other day I saw someone taking the cart back to the corral and I thought to myself I wish I had cash on me I would go give them $50 for being a good person. I am sure I pay too much attention to people and their carts but alas this is how my brain works. Which as I said reveals a glimpse into my own self based on others’ choices. I certainly do judge the people who don’t put their carts away revealing a weakness inside myself.
2. What kind of line person are you?
I am at the grocery store yesterday and I am standing in line to check out when the most interesting thing happened. First, let me paint the picture for context. Once upon a time as they say…
I have finished all my shopping and I have pushed my cart to the self-checkout to get in line. In this particular grocery store, there are four self-checkouts two on the south and two on the north. When I got in line all four self-checkouts were being used. The usual protocol is a line begins to form starting in the middle of the self-checkouts so that the first person in line can access any of the four self-checkouts.
Since all four checkouts were being used a gentleman had started a line and then I arrived and stood behind him. After standing in line for 10 seconds a third person had come and stood behind me and now we have three people in line. We stood in line for maybe 30 seconds when an older lady maybe early fifties walks up to the guy in front of me and stands next to him on the left.
The first checkout on the south opens up and the lady just walks up to the checkout and begins using it with no regard for the three people that have been waiting in line. She proceeds to scan her items as if nothing just happened. The gentleman in front of me just shrugs his shoulders and waited for the next checkout which opens shortly he rolls up and begins scanning.
I, meanwhile, have chosen to just stare at the lady who has decided that the line doesn’t apply to her. I am having this battle in my mind. Should I ask her why she feels like the line doesn’t apply to her? I am genuinely curious about how a person could do that. My mind is racing as another checkout opens up on the south side and I am scanning my items next to the lady that doesn’t believe in lines.
The lady behind me is what I like to call the grunter. When the lady skips the lines altogether the lady behind me simply begins to grunt. You know the grunt, the one where they are disgusted and want you to turn around and be disgusted with them. I chose to not turn around and thus the grunting continued until my checkout opened up.
The incident happened 36 hours ago and I am still thinking about it. How you can simply disregard everyone else and walk right up to the checkout is literally beyond me. I also don’t have the courage to ask her why.
3. Item by item or aisle by aisle?
Person 1 – This person makes a list and when they arrive at the grocery store they go item by item walking to aisle 1 and then aisle 30 then aisle 15 etc all over the store. They will cover the length of the store 7 or eight times so they can get their list crossed off.
Person 2 – This person when arriving at the store begins at aisle one and continues efficiently up and down each aisle in order grabbing things as they pass. They cover the store once and then heads to the checkout.
I will never understand the people who go item by item. The last thing in the world I want to do is go grocery shopping and thus I want it to be the most efficient time-saving moment of my life.