What am I, a magnet for cranky-a$$ed people? Seriously, I had a bizarre experience at the grocery store yesterday that is beyond comprehension.

We normally try to avoid visiting our local Meijer grocery store. A so-called “Hypermarket”, you can get everything from groceries to furniture to office supplies to electronics to clothing to fish for your aquarium. At first (when it opened several years ago), it was a big family joke, initiated by Julesie:

“Where you goin’?”


“For milk and a sweater?”


(Guess you had to be here.)

Over the years, Meijer has gotten very crowded, and S-L-O-W. Jim has boycotted the store since the day he and the older boy were in the checkout line for more than forty-five minutes. We don’t EVER go on Sundays. We don’t EVER go in the evenings. We would avoid it altogether if it weren’t for the prices. I have found that around 2 p.m. during the week is a pretty good time to go, because it is naptime for the younguns and school lets out by 3 or 3:30, so most at-home parents are, well, at home.

I decided to go there yesterday, to stock up on things we’re out of. (Is there any other real reason to go to the grocery store? That was kind of a dumb sentence.) I had about half a cart full, and was happily walking towards the checkout (happy all except for the fact that Christmas music was playing: UGH…does it have to start this early?) when I decided to do the self checkout. Normally grocery stores that have self checkouts limit the item count to ten or less. Meijer still has some of those, but they’ve also got “No item limit” self checkouts now, which is, as I read, a cost-saving (and supposedly time-saving) measure.

Now, I find it hard to believe that this is a time-saving measure. The “10 items or less” self checkouts? Sure. But if I (or any other customer) am walking towards the “No item limit” self checkout, not only am I not expecting it to be quick, but I’m expecting to go at my own pace, just as I would expect the person in front of me to do. If I wanted to get out quickly, I would either bring someone with me to help bag the food, or I’d go through the checkouts that have a cashier.

Back to my story.

I was scanning my foods: beep….beep….beep….

When I was about halfway finished, a woman got into line behind me. She had a cart that had about the same amount of food that I started with. Because I now had someone behind me, I picked up the pace of my food scanning as much as I possibly could without venturing into the ridiculous. Unfortunately, the machine was being a bit cranky: I was scanning the food faster than it could sense the weight of each item when I put it on the conveyor belt. I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that the woman was sort of pacing in her own little area. At one point she left her cart and walked to the end of the belt. I had bagged some of the stuff before she arrived, and now had a pile of unbagged stuff waiting for me as I continued to scan. She moved my bags a little bit, to make more room for the food coming down the belt.

“Hmm. That’s nice of her,” I thought.

She went back to her cart for just a minute, and then went back to the end of the belt to lift up the bar that can be placed in between orders (it’s connected–not one of those little plastic sticks). She left it in the vertical position because my food was blocking the area where it would cross over the belt.

I quickly finished scanning, quickly pulled out my debit card, and quickly grabbed my receipt. As I went to bag my stuff, I started with the stuff that was closer to the scanner, so I could put the divider down for her. She huffed her way up to stand next to me and–I can’t even handle this–

she started handling my meat and salmon packages!!!

She was haphazardly grabbing them and TOSSING THEM ON TOP OF ALL MY OTHER FOOD! ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

Oh no, she didn’t!!

Sidenote: Contrary to the few posts I’ve written in which I’m cranky and riding the rage, I am normally a very agreeable person. I live occasionally in a state of denial, and I am extremely talented when it comes to laughing something off to avoid confrontation, or smiling through gritted teeth. It’s not always a good thing: it’s taken me forever to learn to stand up for myself and what I want. I am finding that, in light of recent events in my life, that ability is either leaving me or I am caring less about what others think and more about what I think, and I seem more likely to say, “Whoa!” if there’s a problem. Lessons learned? Old(er) age? You be the judge.

Back to Meijer…

She was–literally!–tossing my food and I say to her, “Hang on, I’m trying my best to get out of your way…”


I said, “Yes I am; I’m trying to get this food out of the way so we can put the divider down.”

At that moment she picked up my roast so angrily that I saw her fingers press into it (through the plastic, of course) as she tossed it to the end.

I have to take a break for a minute so Michelle and I can regain our composure.

Ready Michelle? Okay.

I raised my voice–people were LOOKING–and said, “Could you PLEASE NOT TOUCH MY FOOD!”

Seriously folks, major pet peeve. Do not touch my food once it’s on the conveyor belt. Don’t be disgusting. Hands off.

Then, continuing to toss food, she sputtered something about me not understanding how this thing works.

Okay, you know what, lady? I am good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. I totally DO understand. Which is what I told her.

And as she marched back to her cart, she hissed, “No, you DON’T understand. I had to MAKE you understand.”

I was so angry that I was shaking. As I bagged the rest of my stuff, I blocked her food from coming all the way down for a minute, because there wasn’t anywhere else to set the bag I was filling. When I put all of the bags in the cart, I walked away and yelled sarcastically over my shoulder, “I hope whatever is bothering you gets better. Have a GREAT DAY!”


Then I intentionally loaded up my trunk as slowly as possible, hoping to catch her exiting the store. Why? I don’t know. What would I have done? Well, I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I certainly would not have touched her, like she touched my meat. But I was totally ready to shout out some heavy-duty profanities.

I had to vent to somebody, so I called my friend Kate. Luckily, she was at home today and had a few minutes to listen to me. When I told her the story, she had one question for me, which she asked in all seriousness.

“Do you think you would have reacted the same way had she been throwing cans instead of meats?”

She cracks me up. And yes, she is a Psychologist. (BTW, the answer is “YES, I would have!”)

Want to read more about Grocery Store Rage? It really does exist: Click here!

While you’re reading, I’m gonna go check on my salmon.