Shop till you drop but mind the queue | Daily News


Shop till you drop but mind the queue

As shoppers and consumers, we must realize that we are actually guests in others' domains, when we visit retail stores. Let us consider how guests ought to behave.

We live in a fast-paced society where patience and courtesy is greatly lacking. Why on earth do we find the simplest, most everyday tasks in life such as standing in a shopping line an exasperating effort?

Why is it that even usually polite people turn into rude individuals when they shop? Surely you have seen such disagreeable individuals who attempt to jump queues, are rude to fellow shoppers and sales staff for no apparent reason.

Perhaps it is because of the fact that in our whirl-wind society juggling responsibilities between work, family and home there is just not enough time left in the day to stand in line for hours. Lines waste time and most of us don’t have much of it to spare. Still that is no excuse for being discourteous or irritable to those around us.

Frustration goes hand-in-hand with standing in long lines. For many of us our time is so precious and limited. But so it is for many others as well. And there are shoppers who add to the aggravation such as the addled-brained ones who leave the counter to pick up something they forgot and return with more stuff. And all the while the queue behind them gets longer with every ticking second.

Checkout counter or airline counter, the rules are the same: first come, first served, one at a time. It is best to avoid queues comprising people who need price check assistance, have damaged items or who want their purchases totted up separately. Most importantly avoid lines with obnoxious or angry people in them. There is nothing worse than when strangers take out their frustrations on an innocent bystander, fellow shopper or cashier.

It’s also basic courtesy not to hold up a line for no good reason, yet people frequently do so because they forgot an item on their list, they want to get rid of some small change that the cashier then has to count out. It is best to be prepared when you are out shopping and recheck your own list of belongings along with your shopping list. Think before you shop and ensure you are carrying your wallet, cash and credit cards.

Have you ever found yourself in line behind someone who is frantically fumbling through their purse or pockets looking for loose change because they didn't have enough money to pay for their purchase Or even worse are the ones who request the cashier to put their groceries aside because they forgot their purse?

Do you remember the time you waited in line for what seemed an interminable time to finally reach the cashier, and then realised that you forgot your wallet or purse? How did you handle this situation and how long did you hold up the line?

Remember that it could have been you suffering such an embarrassing situation. Another suggestion if you found yourself in this situation would be to offer that person your spare change. We've all been short on money at one time or another so why not do a selfless act for a complete stranger and feel good about it at the same time. That way you benefit by spending less time in line and feel good about your random act of kindness at the same time. Always keep an eye on your children. Don’t let them run around distracting other shoppers and bumping into them. Shopping malls and supermarkets are not day-care centres or playgrounds. Parents should properly supervise children in public places. And never leave children unattended.

Many of us one time or another shop in smaller family run stores. Whether we shop in grocery, department, or wholesale stores having good manners and etiquette is essential. If you frequent certain smaller stores the retail staff will begin to know you by name. Your behaviour in public will be remembered whether it is good or bad. General rules of manners apply - such as waiting to be served in turn, behaving honestly, and being thoughtful and courteous to the sales staff.

Never block the aisles. People sometimes get so involved in the shopping they forget that other people are shopping as well. You are not the only person in the store so move your shopping cart so that others can pass you without a hassle.

If you happen to see a friend or acquaintance don't stand blocking the aisle and start gabbing as if are in a coffee shop. People cannot get around you and it’s not very polite to to keep people waiting until you have finished your chinwag.

Always remember to excuse yourself if someone is blocking your way. Try not to sound frustrated but be polite. Don't make comments but hold your tongue. Not all shoppers will be polite and every now and then someone will be exceptionally rude. There is really nothing you should do or say about it. Don't let one person ruin your shopping experience.

Texting and talking on your mobile phone is just not on. Doing so while shopping is, not only a huge distraction for you, but also for those around you. And it could be dangerous because you could lose all awareness of everything around you. When you are distracted, you risk bumping into a display or another shopper.

Leave your mobile phone conversation until the shopping is done. Mobile phones have taken over our society and we have forgotten our manners. Nobody wants to listen to your discussion while you are shopping. Save the call for later.

Always smile and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the floor staff. Certainly everyone expects good customer service wherever they shop. But that rule applies to you, too. A nice smile along with a polite “Could you please help me?” will receive a better response then a brusque demand with a frown.

Particularly annoying is talking on your phone while paying. You risk paying the wrong amount and, of course, lose the opportunity to connect with the cashier. And, it’s incredibly rude to those in line behind you because, chances are, paying while talking on your phone will take longer.

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