Breaking Down The Grocery Store Right-Of-Way

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Unless you hate food or never cook for yourself, going to the grocery store is awesome. I’m not here to detail why, something that’s been well documented, because there are other important questions that need to be addressed here.

Specifically, grocery store etiquette. Much like navigating the highway, you can’t drive like a damn animal out there. One has to go about respecting the rules of the road, or that grocery store arena will turn on you like inmates on a convicted child molester.

Integrate seamlessly with the flow of traffic by learning who has the grocery store right of way. When shit gets claustrophobic in between aisles and someone needs to get by, know who to defer to. In order:

8. Teenagers

Because fuck teenagers. If you can run their cart off the road into the assorted cheeses, by all means do it. They’re just killing time there anyways.

7. Men

It’s in our nature to be courteous. Everyone says chivalry is dead, but when there’s a four-way Mexican standoff in the condiment aisle, every man needs to know his place and slide that cart aside in favor of parties deserving of more consideration. Age factors in here, too, as no man in his early-20s should be cutting off an elder statesmen, even if they just have a decade or so on you. Especially since with your luck that same guy will be interviewing you for a job next week.

6. Parents with Older Kids (Ages 8 to 12)

Younger kids may be a detriment to a shopper, but by the time they’re hovering around the decade mark it’s like shopping with a personal assistant. Mom or Dad rarely have to take a hand off the cart because their minions are grabbing shit off the shelves on command left and right. On my last trip I saw a mom direct her two children down the aisle like she was Peyton Manning stepping up to the line of scrimmage hollering out an audible. Sure you may witness one of their kids throwing a fit over not getting some Double Stuffed Oreos, but overall this parent is cruising through the place.

5. Women

This should be easy. Ladies first. Women deserve the utmost respect at all times, and this translates to the grocery store. Yeah, they’re getting to fly solo and not worrying about navigating with anyone else, but that’s no reason to try to hurry them out of your way after they take a little too long deciding on which brand of Olive Oil to buy.

4. Parents with Younger Kids (Ages 4 to 7)

They’re beyond the age where sitting in the cart is an option, so this poor bastard is trying to keep them reeled in. It’s like watching a cowboy try to chase down a wild calf while also trying to make a quick decision on which Campbell’s Chunky to pick up. Give this demo a wide berth and free reign to pass for your own sake; the last thing you need is some sugared up hell-beast running into your cart.

3. Senior Citizens

Should be common sense here, people. The thing about seniors is most of them are so patient, especially with the self-awareness of their lack of speed, that they’ll give you the option to pass. Don’t take it. Respect your elders at all times, because in a few decades you won’t want some asshole cutting you off as you peacefully push your cart full of semi-solid food.

2. Parents With Young Kids (Ages Birth to 3)

‘Twas truly a surreal experience the first time I entered the grocery store with my little one as I had instantly vaulted six spots up the food chain. Everyone was deferring to me. That awkward, “You go, I go?” quagmire by the breakfast sausage section turned into “Oh, he’s adorable, you go.” And as many compliments that I got about the little guy (The kid absolutely slays in the grocery store, he’s charming as hell), I knew why they were letting me by- I had a ticking time bomb in the front of my cart. One minute too long in that grocery store and I could have a full-blown tantrum on my hands. Better to let me pass and make sure that they don’t risk hearing a baby wail from across the store.

1. Angry Seniors On Carts

They sell a ton of things at my local grocery retailer. For my Texas readers, it’s an HEB Plus which is the tits to say the least. One thing they don’t seem to have for sale, however, is fucks to give. Which is fine, because these seniors wouldn’t be buying them anyways. They aren’t here to make friends or protect feelings. They’re here to load up this cart and get the hell out of dodge. The natural instinct for any shopper is to yield right away to this individual. That being said, they’re not waiting for your permission to go anyways. Just hitting the gas, powering through, and leaving you with a stare that says, “I lived through Korea, this grocery store ain’t shit.”

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Kyle Bandujo

The artist formerly known as Crash Davis. My kid doesn't think I'm funny.

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