How to Be a Well-Behaved Shopper

How to Be a Well-Behaved Shopper
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Bill Lindsey
Shopping for food, clothing, hardware, and other items requires interacting with others. Even if they don’t have great manners, you should.

Obey the Right of Way

Grocery store aisles aren’t unlike streets in that it’s important to flow with other traffic, either going in the same direction or the opposite way. You may need to load up on ramen, but don’t block the aisle while doing so. If you’ve stopped to consider which cereal to buy, allow other shoppers to reach around you to get what they need and move on. If a shopper ahead of you is moving at a glacial speed, politely ask them to let you pass.

Stay in Line

Regardless of whether you’re in the process of buying a car, a burger, a shirt, or a stack of groceries, if you step out of line, don’t expect to get back where you were. Unless the store is deserted, don’t expect other shoppers to hold your spot when you just remembered that you forgot to grab cheese. On the other hand, if someone behind you has one or two items while you have 27 in your cart, be courteous and let them go ahead of you.

Watch the Clock

If you find yourself in any type of store at closing time, it’s time to wrap it up—even if you aren’t done shopping. If the sign says that the store closes at 9 p.m. and you arrive at 8:57 p.m., turn around and come back another time, even if you “only need one thing.” It’s only right to be aware of the needs of the store workers and let them go home to their families on time.


In any scenario where you’re being waited upon, you can make the job of the person serving you more pleasant by smiling, being understanding about delays, and, in general, showing them basic thoughtfulness—all of which can result in you receiving much better service. If advised that an item you want is out of stock, accept it without being a grouch. Their job is to serve you, so make it easy and pleasant for both sides.

Obey Leash Laws

Keep an eye on your children while you shop. The store isn’t a playground, and you are responsible for their behavior and actions. That means that if they break something, you just bought it, and if they are rude, it is your responsibility to offer an apology to make it right. Also, service dogs are becoming more common every day, so it’s important not to distract them by rushing over to pet them. Ask first, and understand if the owner says no.
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.