Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Americans, seemingly from all walks of life, have recently called for greater civility in thought, words, actions. Some have been more sincere than others. While political discourse is generally the target, the overall goal is, as Rodney King dreamed, for everyone to just be considerate of one another.
It’s too bad this demand for national harmony doesn’t extend to the grocery store.
I’m not a big fan of supermarket shopping. Mind you, it has to be done. But you want to see selfishness exhibited big time? Go get groceries.
Shoppers put on blinders leaving them with a complete lack of peripheral vision. They see nothing but their next stop. I will go to produce and I will get to produce no matter what. When I get there, I will stop and park my cart wherever I choose, even if it blocks (and usually does) the middle of the aisle so no one can get past me. This bunch is oblivious to anyone around them and frankly don’t care.
Unless numbers are taken at the bakery or deli areas, unscrupulous shoppers will desperately try to bull their way ahead of others. They do so by yelling out as quickly as possible when the naïve, rookie employee sheepishly asks, “Who’s next?”
“I WANT A POUND OF POTATO SALAD!”
The annoying shopper does so without the following:
1) Any conscience
2) Any eye contact with or deference to the other shoppers that have been offended.
Traffic laws pertaining to shopping carts mean no one has a right of way. If I am armed with a cart, I can go wherever, whenever I want regardless of who’s in the near proximity. Again, eye contact with other shoppers is minimal or totally non-existent. If, God forbid, eye contact is engaged, a smile or any polite gesture is verboten.
If I open a door to, let’s say, a frozen food section, it’s perfectly okay if I wander off without closing the door. Again, if you haven’t picked up on it yet, this shopping experience is all about me.
That means that it’s perfectly legitimate to take that pound of baked ham that I suddenly realized I no longer want and dump it on the shelf with the canned baked beans. Let some paid worker deal with it. It’s their job.
Of course, I have license to leave my cart in the middle of the parking lot after I fill up my car. I can do so, why? Have you not been paying attention? I also do not have to look one way or the other for traffic while I am walking in the parking lot. It is up to drivers to look out for me. If I wish to walk into the path of an oncoming car without looking, that is my right and privilege.
Whad’ya mean I can’t order a three-pound fruit platter ten minutes before closing just because I didn’t order ahead of time?
Sir, are you going to buy that magazine or are you going to stand there for a half hour reading the whole thing thinking this is a library?
Then there is the matter of simple arithmetic and the main issue of this week’s no-no.
Unless you went to a very, very, very bad public school, you should know what’s in a dozen.
A dozen means 12.
Twelve means two more than 10.
Twelve does not mean 15 or 25.
Supermarkets for years and years and years and years have instituted the express line to make it speedier and more convenient for shoppers with few items. In reality, it’s the worst checkout line in the store, manned by the less experienced checkout people.
The sign at the checkout is simple stuff. It reads:
12 ITEMS OR LESS
That translates to One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, all the way up to 12
Are you crazy?
Have you not been paying attention to all of the above?
In America, when the Express Line says:
12 ITEMS OR LESS
It does not mean:
12 ITEMS OR LESS
The Express Line means:
Whatever I happen to have in my
Our family is blessed by having a Sendik’s and Pick ‘n’ Save located very close to our expansive conservative Republican mansion. Both retail establishments are mighty good. The problem is they have some suburban patrons who believe by the very nature of their zip code they can personally elevate above waterways. Their noses leave scrape marks on ceilings.
There I was most recently making a beeline for Express, knowing, fearing what goofiness can transpire in that dreaded line. I was clutching but a single item.
I approached the line, adrenaline flowing, heart pumping.
30 feet away.
Light at the end of the tunnel. No one there.
20 feet away.
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire, I’m almost there.
10 feet away.
It can’t be.
I have been cut off by a short, stocky middle-aged woman along with her daughter, pushing a cart that is filled quite nicely. They had the angle on me. There was nothing I could do.
They stood in front of me in a line with a sign that in plain English read:
12 ITEMS OR LESS
The woman in charge of the cart, built like a fire hydrant, stopped dead in her tracks at the entrance to the
I’m in luck, I thought as a momentary blast of relief fell from head to toe.
The woman had, I kid you not, at least 30-35 items in her cart.
Now I ask you…
IS 35 GREATER THAN 12?
DING!!! DING!!! DING!!! DING!!!
It was coming, for sure.
This woman couldn’t be that dumb or inconsiderate.
Surely she would realize she was, by far, in the wrong line, would awkwardly chuckle and apologize to anyone in earshot, and move to another checkout aisle. I could then move forward, pay for my single item and be done in 30-45 seconds.
The woman doesn’t look at the sign that clearly says:
12 ITEMS OR LESS
But she obviously knows she’s not where she’s supposed to be.
Care to guess what happens next?
I could give you all kinds of chances and you’d never get it right.
The woman now looks at her cart, and with extended finger visible to all around points to its contents, and slowly, and I do mean slowly, starts counting.
One by one.
Each and every item.
As if to determine whether she can or cannot be in that line.
WHAT A ****!!!
You might be asking yourself, what am I doing in the meantime. You’re thinking my head has turned purple and has popped off its shoulders, just like that Fred Flintstone episode.
Honestly, I say not a word because I am floored by this woman’s complete ignorance and disregard for others.
Just then, another store employee sees me and beckons me to another aisle. I check out in moments and look back to see that the woman with 35 items has been allowed to proceed through the express line anyway.
So you have not one but two injustices: the guilty party, the inconsiderate shopper who should never have even attempted to get through the express, and the faulty checkout person who let her violate the posted sign and then some.
Had I been the checkout person, I would have politely informed Ms. Clueless that she could not be in the Express Line and that she needed to wobble over to another aisle..
Because the woman got away with it, in front of her daughter (nice role model), what do you think the odds are she’ll try it again?
And supermarkets with express lines, please enforce them if you’re going to have them.
THIS WEEK, A SMORGASBORD OF CULINARY NO-NO EXTRAS
1) The Great Corn Con.
2) YIKES! Summer treats will see price hikes.
3) Wanna lose weight? Eat more Twinkies.
4) Cherries, olives, or bugs?
5) British cuisine...yummy. NOT!
6) Get a grip, lady!
7) You say potato, scale says, Uh-Oh