03 March 2006

Feeling a little crowded?

Yesterday, I had yet another midly entertaining encounter at the grocery store. Invariably, when I go during peak hours (i.e. after 5 p.m.), there is at least one person who is absolutely freaked out about being made to stand in line. Admittedly, I used to feel impatient when I waited in line at the grocery store, but this has more to do with the fact that the lines end up blocking the flow of traffic in the store. As such, when you're in a long line, you are always in someone else's way. So, there are always people pardon-ing you right and left, trying to squeeze through the bottleneck.

Anyway, to my point. The victim du jour was a middle-aged man in line behind me at around 6 pm. He was really anxious to start unloading his cart, so he kept edging up on me. After he put down 5 or so items, he took off back into the store. A few minutes later, he returned with more items and discovered that the line hadn't really moved that much. (The use of paper checks is still common here, so as soon as someone whips out their checkbook, you can count on waiting at least another 5 minutes.) As he unloads the rest of his cart, he purposefully bumps me at least three times in an effort to get me to move further up in the line. Apparently, if you're not standing on top of the person in front of you, you're taking up too much space.

The crowning moment came after he unloaded his cart. That's when - no kidding - he pushed his cart into my side. Assuming that this was another "subtle" hint that I should be in the checkout lady's lap, I just stood my ground. Then, he had no choice but to say, "Excusez-moi" and explain that he wanted to go put his cart away while he was waiting for his turn to check out. I'm not exactly sure why he didn't say that in the first place ... I guess the hip-check was more rewarding for him?

Tonight, however, I found out the real reason that I am feeling so crowded these days. According to the US Census Bureau POPClock, the Earth reached the 6.5 billion people mark on February 25th! And since that day, we've added another 1, 180, 597 people. That is simply mind boggling.

The good news is that only about 12 of these people are in my grocery store at around 2 pm on a weekday. Guess when I normally do my shopping?


At 3/3/06 22:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried slowing turning to face the offender and, smiling very graciously, saying, "Go ahead, punk; make my day."

Even if you say it in English I think everyone knows about Dirty Harry!

It must be the weather or something...I pulled into traffic on my way back to work after lunch and apparently the next car REALLY didn't want me to do that. He tailgated me and when we can to the traffic light went around me as CLOSELY as he dared and in a very elaborate gesture gave me the finger! I just laughed!


At 5/3/06 21:37, Blogger NBHPhoto said...

The people that have been added since Feb 25th are small right now...so don't worry.

At 6/3/06 16:33, Anonymous Joe W. said...

Ah, but what is worse? A French grocery store at a crowded time...or Meijer on early Tuesday mornings when the elderly take it over with their motorized wheelchair carts? I have nothing against the elderly. After all, I will be one someday. But there is nothing like being one of three people in a grocery store under seventy trying to avoid being run over by old women looking for sales on prunes and not watching where they are going.


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