Thursday, April 19, 2012

Incivility in Box Stores

A faithful reader touched on a very relevant social misbehavior we all have come to accept as usual. I am so glad she felt she could share her concerns with me and now with fellow readers. Incivility within our communities can come around with a little effort and a good dose of awareness. Read her words and see just how easily we can relate. Some of us may even admit to being guilty from time to time. But, we can change all that. Let’s start right in our own hometown!

“Entitlement has evolved as the arrogance of believing that you ought to have it. It being the idea that there is no a single other human being on earth who is worthy of having it except of course you!

“We are just back from a brief (and I mean quick) trip to Costco. It is generous that Costco offers samples to shoppers of a variety of foods and of course the chance to buy what one needs in bulk is a savings. However, free samples now constitute lunch for individuals and families, who will aim their over sized shopping carts at you if you attempt to get between them and the food bits being served. The empty paper wrappers from these nicely presented tastes of different products are being stashed all over the warehouse. In amongst produce, packaged meats, baked goods, books or anywhere there is a tiny spot to just leave one's trash. There are garbage cans all over the selling floor. And yet people find it compulsory to drop whatever wherever never thinking that someone else might inadvertently stick their hand in to get an item and wind up with a filthy, half eaten sample cup stuck to their fingers.

“This is a reflection of the norm for public behavior that the population is currently practicing. This is what parents are teaching their children as perfectly acceptable. It is what adults are doing without a care in the world. And it is awful. The “I am in a bubble and no one is going to interfere with my getting what I want” mentality has reached outrageous proportions.

“Over sized shopping carts are frequently maneuvered the way in which a lot of people drive. No one looks, they just go and you had best get out of the way or risk being hit. Don't forget the shoppers who insist on stopping their wagons across an aisle making it impassable for others. And of course let us never forget the “I'm sorry” after you have been hit by a cart guided by someone who just does not care and refuses to look to see that anyone is in front or to the side of this moving vehicle.”

One can easily understand the anger and frustration in the tone of this reader’s concerns. I don’t think that behavior is irretrievable and these large box stores so prevalent here are the perfect place to learn all sorts of things. In addition to a crash course in bargain hunting and brand discounts, one can learn about and teach one’s children all of the concerns so clearly delineated.

These are not stores for free-range children however. Children and many seniors for that matter can become easily disoriented and even lost, with the feeling of panic that can set in. If you take someone with you to these large stores, keep track of them for heaven’s sake! Although many stores have a ‘lost person’ section, don’t find yourself guilty of needing to use it.

Some of these warehouse stores have incredibly efficient and well-trained staff; others do not. Don’t lose your patience with ill-trained staff. If you feel you must lodge a complaint, do so with the manager in duty. They are responsible for handling customer service issues far more effectively than floor staff in most cases.

Do take the time to familiarize yourself with whatever stores you visit and do be mindful of your fellow shoppers. I always am amazed to discover that the more aware of other shoppers I become, the more aware of me they become, and the whole experience is far more pleasant and efficient, too!