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|Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:39 pm Post subject: Martin Sloane's Rules of Etiquette 4 Supermarket Customers
|Martin Sloane, nationally syndicated “Supermarket Shopper” columnist, with the help of his readers from across the nation, has compiled these common sense rules of behavior when shopping at the supermarket.
The purpose of Supermarket Etiquette for customers is to make supermarket shopping safer, less stressful and more enjoyable!
Supermarkets are urged to copy these Rules and post them so shoppers will understand what is reasonably expected of them:
The First Basic Rule of Supermarket Etiquette:
At all times, be polite and courteous to other shoppers and to the store's associates.
The Second Basic Rule:
If you are angered by another shopper or a store employee, control your emotions and refer to the First Rule!
A. Etiquette in the Parking Lot:
Be watchful and drive carefully and properly through the parking lot.
Park only where permitted and park carefully within the spaces.
Do not park in the handicapped spaces (do not leave shopping carts in the handicapped spaces or the access areas).
Watch out for shoppers in wheel chairs: If you see one trying to cross the roadway, be patient!
If store associates help you place the groceries in you vehicle, don't make it a struggle. Be sure there is enough space before you drive to the supermarket.
Be careful where you walk. Move quickly back to your car and stay alert to dangers!!!
Hold your child's hand or have the child hold onto the shopping cart. Too many children dart between the parked cars or come running out from parked cars. Many of these children are only a few feet tall and are hard to see.
After loading your groceries in your car return your cart to the cart storage area.
B. Etiquette in the Aisles:
Do not block an aisle with your cart.
Stop your cart on the same side of the aisle you intend to browse - don't park on the right and browse on the left.
The aisles are not the place to have conversations with friends. If you must, move to another part of the store.
Don't "drive" a cart while talking on a cell phone!
Your cart is a vehicle. Use good "cart sense" and watch where you push it. Avoid fast U-turns.
Be polite and do not hesitate to say: "Pardon me." "May I go by?" "Thank you." or "Sorry about that."
Pay attention to the supermarket's warning signs (example: "Ask for help to remove an item on the to shelf")
If you are a "stocker," don't empty the shelf of sale items. Visit again. Or, tell the manager in advance, how many you intend to buy (assuming there are no limits).
Find a store associate to report: spills or breakage, shop lifting or product tampering.
If samples are offered, dispose of toothpicks, napkins, etc. in the trash containers that are provided.
If a demonstrator is offering samples, wait your turn, take just one and remember that demonstrators are prohibited from giving food samples to unaccompanied children.
Offer to assist other shoppers who need assistance, for example reaching items on the top shelves
"Take One" pads of forms for manufacturer mail-in offers, mean just that. Only take ONE so others can have the same opportunity.
If you are stopped in an aisle stay alert to other shoppers who may want an item in front of you.
Watch out for shoppers in wheel chairs: When you push your cart out of the aisle, look to see who is crossing in front of you. It hurts when you run your cart into a person in a wheel chair. Your shopping cart basket is at head height for a person in a wheel chair, so be careful where you are swinging it.
C. Etiquette at the Deli Counter and the Meat Case:
When the deli is busy do not block the deli case with your cart. Leave your cart a few feet away and walk up to place your order.
Be careful in handling the meat packages especially if you see free flowing liquids.
As you examine packages, put them back where you found them.
If your hands contact fluids from the meat tray, wash or use sanitizer so the shopping cart handle remains safe for the next shopper.
If you change your mind about a meat purchase, be sure to return the package to its proper place in the meat case.
D. Product Etiquette:
Be careful in handling merchandise especially produce. Handle produce as you would want others to handle the produce you purchase.
Do not open a package, especially food, until after you have left the store.
Use the scoops and tongs provided to select items sold in bulk.
Sampling loose products (bulk candies, olives, nuts) is called "grazing" and is not acceptable conduct.
If you change your mind about a purchase, put the item back where you found it.
E. Shopping With Children:
The supermarket can be a dangerous place for children and if a parent has no choice and must bring a child along, it requires constant watchfulness and the exercise of firm discipline.
Use the shopping cart's child seat and be sure to buckle up your child!
Children should be taught not to reach out to touch or take the merchandise, unless they have permission.
Do not allow your child to sit or stand in the cart's basket. It is all too easy for an unrestrained child to stand up and fall over the side. If a child is too old for the seat, he or she should be walking along beside the parent.
A child walking must stay close to the cart. The rule is: one of the child's hands must hold onto the cart at all times.
Do not allow your child to hang on to or "ride" the cart --- carts tip easily!
Caution children to stay away from tall displays that could come crashing down on them.
The supermarket is not the place to SCREAM or YELL at your child. Stay in control and stay cool!
F. Etiquette While Waiting in the Checkout Line:
Observe the rules and limits of the Express Lane.
Be considerate to shoppers in wheel chairs: There may only be a single checkout lane wide enough for the chair, so please don’t race your full cart to get ahead of that shopper. Once in line behind a shopper in a wheelchair take care not to push your cart into his or her back.
If you must leave your cart in line to find an item you forgot, ask the shopper in front to mind it. If you have not returned by the time your groceries are next to be checked out, other shoppers may move ahead of it.
Having another person save your place in the line without a cart is "place holding" and is not permitted. This means you can't bust into a line and say, "I'm with her."
If you have a lot of coupons or price matches or anything else that will extend the normal time at the register, inform the shopper or shoppers who get in the line behind you.
If you change your mind about a purchase while in line, wait until you reach the checkout counter and hand it to the cashier.
Be sure your cart is a reasonable distance from the person in front of you.
If a new checkout lane is opened, be courteous to others if you move to that line.
Be ready to make payment by the time the cashier starts ringing up your order: credit or club card ready, check filled out and if necessary, approved. (This is so important, it is repeated in "Etiquette at the Checkout Counter.")
As you approach the checkout counter, be patient. Even if you are in a hurry take a deep breath, try to relax, and be considerate and courteous!
If the "lane-open" light goes out, do not attempt to get in that line.
G. Etiquette at the Checkout Counter:
Start loading the conveyor belt as soon as there is space.
Be sure everything has been unloaded from the cart (check the shelf under the cart basket).
Load the items in the approximate order in which you want them bagged.
Try to position the products with the UPC bar codes facing the cashier.
Place the divider bar behind your order, and in front of it too, if the person ahead of you is unaware of this courtesy.
Do not put money, cards or coupons on the conveyor belt
No bumping or crowding the shopper in front of you who is waiting to make payment.
If you have a club card be sure to bring it with you. If you don’t have it, inquire at the customer service desk for the proper procedure before getting in a checkout line.
Don't ask the cashier to bend or break the rules, i.e., sale limits, frequent shopper club, or check cashing.
Give the cashier your coupons so they can be checked against your purchases. (be sure they are for the products you have purchased and have not expired).
Calling the cashier "honey," or "sweetie," is poor etiquette in some parts of the country and accepted in others. If you are not sure of the custom in your area, use the cashier's name (check the name tag).
If you realize you have forgotten to purchase an item, do not hold up the line by asking the cashier or bagger to find it. The proper etiquette is to complete the check out, push your cart to the side, find the item and use the express lane.
If you find an error, immediately bring it to the cashier's attention.
Be ready to make payment by the time the cashier starts ringing up your order: card ready, check filled out and if necessary, approved.
Hand your payment to the cashier. Do not put it on the counter or the belt.
If you need some help from the cashier or the bagger, ask for it politely.
Appreciate the difficulty of the cashier's the job and be pleasant and cooperative.
Do not get annoyed at the cashier for doing his or her job, i.e. getting check approval. They have rules to follow and could lose their job if they don't.
Do not make jokes at the cashier's expense, i.e. cashiers having nothing to do. They aren't funny!
NEVER talk on a cell phone while you are busy at the checkout counter.
NEVER argue with a cashier or another customer. If you have a problem the cashier can't solve, ask to speak with the front end supervisor or the store manager.
And finally, if the cashier has performed to your satisfaction, take a moment just before you leave to say, "Thank you," and "Have a nice day." It will make the cashier's day!
H. Miscellaneous Etiquette:
Stay out of the supermarket's back rooms! These areas are not safe for shoppers.
At can or bottle return machines, if you have a cart full, allow others with just a few to use the machine.
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