When you're at the front of the grocery line and you realize you forgot something

I was waiting in line at the grocery store. When I got to the front of the line I suddenly remembered my total lack of garbage bags at home. So I sighed heavily, did this :smack:, picked up my basket and went back into the store to get them.

Back into a different line-up. After my second line-up of the day (and after a quick trip to the shop had evolved into a mission) I was quite excited to be finished and go home and eat my new ice cream before it melted all over me. But when I got to the front of the line-up this woman appeared, clutching a box of Peak Freens. She smiled at me and got in line dead in front of me (ignoring the ten people behind me). I met her eye with an expression somewhere between this :confused: and this :dubious:. She explained that she’d been there already and had just gone to pick up her cookies. It was at that point that I noticed that the clerk was surrounded by groceries stacked up around her, that she then started unloading and ringing in.

So it seems what happened was that the lady got to the front of the line, unloaded her stuff, realized she’d forgotten her biscuits, prevailed upon the clerk to stack her groceries around the till, went back to get her biscuits, and then totally crashed the line when she returned.

It’s not like it was tampons or diabetic medication or even a quart of milk that she went back to get. I can see how forgetting one of those things could be a major inconvenience. But fancy biscuits? Give me a break.

I said “You know, I was just in line over there, and I got to the front and I realized that I forgot something, so I got out of line and took my stuff back into the store and waited in line again so I wouldn’t inconvenience all the people behind me.”

And she looked at me pityingly and said something like “That’s too bad, in that situation I just left my stuff with the clerk so I only had to wait in line once.”

At which point my expression became :eek:. What do you say at that point? All I could think of to say was “Well, I never!” but I would have busted up laughing if such a thing had come out of my mouth.

Anyway, the question: was she being incomprehensibly rude, or was I overreacting? Should I have been ruder? Honestly. Where’s Miss Manners when you need her.

It depends. Was the clerk already ringing up her stuff? I’ve left the line if I remembered something I forget and was sure I’d be able to get back to the line before the clerk was done–either with my stuff or the the person ahead of me. It sounds like this clerk was just sitting there, though, which seems odd.

If I only had a few things, I’d have done what you did, though.

Ah, its been a while since we ranted about grocery rudeness!
Shall we limit the discussion to this particular aspect, all check-out queue offenses, just the interior of the store, or expand to the parking lot? :wink:

To answer your question, IMO she was being rude, but not incomprehensibly. Pretty much what I expect when I go out in public.

I think she was rude. I despise it when people discommode everyone around them for their own convenience.

This is like people who get into the wrong lane in traffic, and instead of just missing their turn and having to double back, they block the road, holding up traffic until someone lets them over.

It stinks to forget your groceries, or miss your turn, but why should everyone in the vicinity suffer for your mistake?

Yeah, that’s weird that the clerk wasn’t ringing up the stuff while the woman was looking for her cookies. If the clerk is doing all that, then it really makes no difference if the woman is standing in line waiting for her things to be rung up or if she’s left for a moment. Did she ask the clerk to wait or did the clerk just take it upon herself?

This happened to me recently and I wondered if I overreacted. I was in the express line behind two women (mother and adult daughter). They were taking forever discussing their items as they were rung in and whether they made the right choice. Finally the daughter decided she didn’t want that one, she wanted the other one and was going back to exchange. So the situation is this: me, already annoyed at the slow, take-your-time attitude at 6:00 pm on a weeknight in the express lane of Target buying milk for dinner with two grumpy and hungry kids.
As the daughter took off to get something else (everything of theirs was rung up, this was the last item) I snapped. I said “Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me? You are going to do that here in the express lane? This is for people that are in a hurry!”

I’ve seen this several times - the person underestimates the amount of time it takes for the clerk to ring everything up. So it starts off with good intentions, the “oh, I’ll just run over to the cookie aisle while the clerk is ringing up my groceries” but the clerk finishes before the person has returned.

To the OP, you are right and she was wrong. The only other way I could imagine you responding would be to more or less ignore her statement and say “I’m glad you found your cookies, now please excuse me while the clerk rings me up” and then politely yet firmly walk to the front. Now, I could never do that because I would be standing there with my jaw dropped open, marveling at her nerve. But I’m sure there’s someone out there with better reflexes who could think quickly on their feet and get that in.

One of the nice things about the stores in my area is that people can’t really walk past you in the line without your permission because the area is too narrow, so it’s easy to physically stand your ground.

I’m with you Cowgirl. It was rude. I shop very early in the morning most times so I don’t have to deal with people.

I do this sometimes only if I’m with another person who can wait in the line. My feeling is that the other person should never make the checker wait. If it comes time to ring up the final sale and I’m not back, then pay for it and I’ll get in line again with the remaining item. I don’t see this as being rude, but my girlfriend claims that it is. I was just going to start a thread about this, actually…

I agree that the OP’s case is definitely rude, but is what I do rude?

I don’t think what you do is rude at all…as long as no one has to wait for you, what difference does it make?

Come on, we’re dying here. You can’t end the story there! What happened next?

(No, I don’t think you overreacted.)

This scenario actually occurred to me while reading the OP. It’s another thing entirely if you have a companion who can wait in line and pay for the stuff if worst comes to worst–that way you’re not making anyone wait longer for you.

Plus you get in line again for the new item. It’s not as if you’re pushing to the front of the line once the stuff is paid for. Seems good to me.

The thing about Target is that the cashier can hit the suspend button and ring up someone else in the meantime. I still think it’s rude to go back and the girl probably didn’t know about this feature but at least the cashier can still help other people check out.

Going to the grocery store gets my blood pressure up every time. From the dickwads in the parking lot going the wrong way, careening through the aisles from empty parking spaces, asshats waiting for people to leave and creating a huge line, and dumb shits parking right in front of the door in the emergency lane. From the stinky homeless guy leering at me and asking for change in front of the door, to the little old ladies that congregate in the doorway just inside the store, to the hassle of getting the cart unstuck from the other carts. From the idiots studying products while their cart sits sideways! in the aisle that stare obliviously into space while I stand there saying “Excuse me!” to the asswipe like I saw the other day walk away from the freezer door they opened to get something, leaving the damn thing open like their butler was coming around the corner to close it for them. From the mouthbreathers at the meat section blocking whole categories of meat with their cart while they try to figure out what cheapass meat goes good with Ramen Noodles to the fuckers that don’t know how to line up at the self-checkouts to the ingrates that don’t know how to use the goddamn things and take a half hour to buy a couple of things. From the exasperated sigh of put-outedness that emanates from the SCO cashier if I’m in need of anything at all from her, to the bastards that swing their cart containing 5 children and all the foodstamp-bought food they can eat right in front of me as I’m headed quickly to the door to get out of this godforsaken hellhole full of idiotic, rude, inconsiderate people. From the little old ladies that are now congregated in the out doorway to the same asinine behavior in the parking lot that I had to deal with coming in. I swear, all of this happens every time I go to the grocery store.

I hate hate hate going to the grocery store.

That never happens to me. I only realize that I forgot something after I’ve left the store (either as I’m loading the groceries in the car, or unpacking them at home).

I think the proper response to the woman would have been something along the lines of “That’s right, because your time is more important than every other person in this line.” (or perhaps “Moooooo!”) But I wouldn’t have thought of it until 2 or 3 days after the incident.

Alice the Goon you hit every single peeve I’ve got.
I used to like going food shopping. Not so much anymore…

If I know for absolute certain that I can get my missing item and be back before the clerk is done ringing, I’ll run and get it while they are ringing up the rest of my stuff(remembering to tell them where I’m going, so they don’t think I’ve just disappeared). Or, I’ll let the next person in line trade places with me to buy myself some extra time. If not, I would pay for what I had and then get my one item and go to an express or self-checkout. Or possibly just say the hell with it, and go home.

I think the woman was rude, if she was causing the line to be held up, and you were right to say something.

The reason I hate going to the grocery story is because I go to the commissary here on base, and it’s always full of old people. Now, I don’t mind old people in and of themselves, but they walk so damn slow in the middle of the aisles.

I want to go in there, get what I want, and get out. They hamper my progress.

Isn’t that what the courtesy clerks are for? They bag the groceries and run get stuff you forget. At least the ones at my store do.

Well, you need to be more attentive. When the customer ahead of you says “Oops I forgot something” and the cashier has not started ringing- then look the cashier dead in the eye and say: “I just have these few things. While you’re waiting for her, ring me up please.”

Now if the cashier has started ringing, then you are all in a pickle. The cashier should have the “bagger” run back and get it- if the bagger can do this while the purchases are still being rung up, winner for all. But if not, well then you are stuck. She has commited a Grocery Line Act of Rudeness, and what can you do? Sigh, turn around and give the other dudes a look, look at the cashier and shrug your shoulders. Try to make sure the rude person gets the hint.

My pet peeve is WIC coupons in the Express line. :mad: