My wife and I have the same goal when grocery shopping, but we have very different approaches. My goal is to buy my food and get out as fast as I can with as little human contact as possible. To my wife shopping is more about finding the best possible quality in what we buy. Sometimes it can be stressful. I get stressed when I am exposed to Grocery store zombies, and my wife gets stressed when she is exposed to me being stressed. The zombies do not seem to bother her.
Grocery store zombie defined: A shopper who is unaware of how their actions affect others around them.
The grocery store zombie can be identified by the following characteristics: Not moving when it is obvious that they are blocking the path of other people. Not changing their course to avoid others. Walking one direction while looking in another. Standing motionless while blocking access to whatever is in front of them. Finding the one isle that has a pillar or display case and stopping to rifle through a ‘coupon treasure chest’. An inability to queue. They stand in two lines at once, or stand in line with their back to a display case, or maintain an extra-long distance between themselves and the person in front of them. Or leave their cart in line and go looking for something they forgot.
Please do not confuse being a zombie with people who are inconsiderate or rude. The zombie is remorseful and apologises when they are caught doing zombie like things. The underlining factor of all zombie behaviour is being clueless as to how their actions affect others.
I accept the fact that there is nothing that can be done about zombies in the grocery store. They are good customers, and make the store money. They are not intentionally zombies, they do not even know that they are zombies. No matter how many times they are surprised when they turn around and run into your cart, or apologise for blocking the isle, will they will remain clueless. There is nothing a store can do to change a zombie’s behaviour. However, the grocery store can help by not enabling the zombies to be so successful. Here is what grocery stores can do to help the living, it’s too late for the un-dead.
First, please stop the insane practice of placing standalone displays in the isles and end caps. This has the same effect as placing stalled cars in the passing lane of a freeway. Same goes with free sample pimps, knife salesmen, and coupon pushers. If there is something blocking a portion of the isle the zombie will inevitably park their cart next to the obstruction. It draws them like flies to a rotting cadaver.
Second, tell those people who give away free newspapers at the entry of the store to take a hike. The only people who buy newspapers, or want free newspapers are zombies. Old slow zombies. For my young readers, newspapers are like having to read a website only after having a stranger sells you the printout.
Third. Please open up one checkout lane for the living. Simply put up a sign that says, “No checks, No coupons, No lottery tickets, No bagger on duty”. If you put this lane on the far end of the store, away from other checkers, it may go unnoticed by the zombies. The best way to enforce this is to have this one register emit a cell phone disabling signal. Maybe a range of 10 feet.