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Sat, Feb 17, 2018 09:32 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-10-08 communities
This n' That
How to avoid aisle rage
Tony Fyffe
I had a great idea when I was grocery shopping the other night. A terrific, wonderful and necessary idea that is long overdue.

Grocery store cops.

Think about it. Where, other than on the highway, do you encounter ruder, more inconsiderate people than in the grocery store? Like their counterparts on the road, shoppers think they are the only ones in the store and could care less how their behavior affects others. Fellow shoppers are probably the No. 1 reason people dread and hate with a passion the thought of going to the grocery store.

To begin with, I believe people need a license to operate a shopping cart. Buggies can be a dangerous weapon in a grocery store (or any store for that matter), especially when it is crowded with people whose only goal is to get in, get what they need, and get out in the shortest time possible. The result, naturally, is utter chaos and a bunch of crazy, frustrated shoppers who won't hesitate to run you over for that last gallon of milk. So, to weed out the bad "drivers," stores should be required to administer tests that include proper pushing and parking techniques, courtesy to your fellow shopper and so on. You know, basic rules of the aisles. Like driving tests, these tests should include two parts a written exam and an on-the-aisle test. Those who pass get a license; those who don't must use one of those plastic basket things (for lack of a better word) to do their shopping. Potential pushers must be at least 16 years old, which means children would be strictly prohibited from operating a cart and pushing it into that display of canned goods that was just put up in Aisle 3.

Stores should also be required to post speed-limit and other signs to avoid unnecessary shopping cart accidents. I mean, how many times have you been bumped from behind by someone who didn't even know you were there? How many times have you been stalled by someone who parked their cart in just the right spot where it is impossible to get around them? Road rage is nothing compared to aisle rage.

In order for these rules to be obeyed, you need an enforcement officer whose job it is to patrol the aisles and make sure there is not a cart collision on Aisle 6 or a fight over the last head of lettuce in produce. Those who break the aisle rules would be promptly ticketed and required to pay a hefty fine at the checkout (in addition to the $115 they have to pay for a gallon of milk and three New York strips). They would also be required to seek aisle-rage counseling and undergo so many hours of grocery-store service, which includes repairing wrecked shopping carts and erecting the canned goods display your kid just knocked over.

Grocery stores would be a much better place if people learned to be courteous to each other. If they can't do it on their own, they should be required to follow basic rules.

After all, we don't want to have, as Agatha Christie would say, a death on the aisle.

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