Dear impatient, self-important, and sometimes downright mean grocery store shoppers,

Stop it. No really, take inventory and change.

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I encountered a "bro" that was at the store without a mask and wearing flip flops and felt the need to disrespect every employee he encountered because he didn't want to wait in line because he only had three things (of course one of the items was toilet paper.)

When I say disrespect, I mean calling a worker who was at least triple his age a c-word because she held her ground and told him to wait like everyone else. Needless to say, the employee was applauded by others in line as she sent him packing to the back of the line.

To the "it's all about me" impatient people, I know the saying "we're all in this together" is becoming worn out, but whether you like it or not, we literally are all in this together. Take a moment to be in the shoes of a grocery store employee that is putting themselves in harm's way every day so you can get "essentials." You know like filet mignon, lobster, and mineral water.

There was a middle-aged woman in front of me in line that was wearing about three masks (N95 by the way,) a special hat, gloves, and what appeared to be a makeshift hazmat suit. Hey, better to be safe than sorry, right?

The cashier was a kid that was 16 at best. This woman had a cart that was overflowing. Not soon after the cashier started ringing up her order, the woman began berating the cashier for not "scanning quick enough." She actually said to this kid "don't you know it's not safe to be here?" If I dive into that logic my head will explode. The cashier started to scan quicker, but that didn't stop the woman from commenting the whole time for everyone to hear. I was shocked when she said things like "is there something wrong with you?," "of course I had to get the slow one," and "you're putting my life at risk." I should mention the process would've gone a lot quicker if she had helped bag her items, but why do that?

It was at this point that I told this woman (from six feet away) to "back off the kid." Her reply, "f-off." The classy response I was expecting. The customer then started to use the tactic that most checkout jackasses use. She starts insulting this kid more, but to other customers. Have you ever been in that situation? An angry customer starts looking to you for validation of their rage as you stare at them blankly. "Can you believe this?" "This is the last time I ever come here." If I ever get sick, I'll own this supermarket." Standard B.S.

The woman finally paid and was on her way still ranting and raving while she exited the store. I started to put my items on the belt and caught a glance at the cashier. He was visibly shaken and upset. Remember, he's a kid! The first thing he said to me was "I'm sorry about that, sir." I told him I was sorry he had to go through that and he didn't deserve it. He replied almost winded, "I'm doing the best I can." And he was. I had a bag of lemons that he dropped on the floor when he went to ring them up. He, very panicked, started apologizing and offering to get me new ones. I told him I was going to wash them anyway and not to worry about it.

So to all those reading this that only think about themselves, think about this. Grocery and any essential business employees are dealing with the stress of this pandemic too. They have money to make and families to feed under dangerous conditions. It's not their fault that the shopping process is slower, it's not their fault that lines are long and shelves are empty and that they don't have exactly what you want.

Use this crisis that we're in to learn to start thinking about others, showing understanding, patience, and compassion.

I hate to break it to you. You're that person. But, you don't have to be.


Matt Ryan

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic:

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