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I’ve Got This One In The Bag. MY Bag.

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: AFKeeler | November 28, 2021

One of the defining characteristics of [Grocery Store] is that you pay for your cart. There’s a device that locks all the carts together, so when you need one, you insert a quarter into the device, decoupling it from the next cart. When you finish shopping, you return the cart to the line and recouple it, at which point you can then remove your quarter. However, [Grocery Store] does not offer a similar function for anything else — not hand-carried baskets, and definitely not for BAGS.

I hit the [Grocery Store] nearby for a few small things. Usually, I don’t need to bother with a cart due to the low volume. Instead, I bring in my own foil-lined insulated bag, put items into it while I shop, tell the cashier how many of each item I have so I don’t even need to unload them, and easy-peasy, no carts required.

As I left the store a few weeks ago, a woman saw me with the bag in hand. I hadn’t zipped it up yet, as I was still messing with my mask.

Woman: *Snapping her fingers* “Hey, you. YOU!”

Me: “Yes?”

Woman: “Give me that when you’re done.”

She pointed at my bag.

Me: “Ma’am, these are my groceries. I won’t be done with them until I eat them in the coming weeks.”

Woman: “I know that. What do I look like, a moron? I meant the bag, idiot.”

Me: “Ma’am, this bag is also mine.”

Woman: “Yeah, it’s yours now, but when you bring it back to get your coin, then I want it.”

Me: “Again, this is my bag, not the store’s. [Grocery Store] doesn’t have bags; they only do the quarter thing for the carts.”

Woman: “Bulls***, they have bags at the checkout. I can see them from here.”

Me: “Yeah, those are for sale, not temporary use. And this bag isn’t from [Grocery Store] I got it on [Online Retailer].”

Woman: “Whatever, you should still bring it to me. I only need it for a few minutes, and I don’t have a quarter for the carts anyway.”

Oh, so we’re in one of those situations.

In my current military job, I’m an instructor, and one of the skills we master during this assignment is the art of staring in silence with a completely blank look on our face. It’s a great tool to force students to engage in discussion, embracing the silence until one of them gets so uncomfortable that they start talking about anything just to break the silence. We also use continuous questions to challenge students to delve deeper into topics, lots of “why” and “how” questions that force them to come to their own conclusions.

I leveled her with my instructor stare. After almost ten seconds:

Woman: “Well?”

Me: “Well, what?”

Woman: *Getting more and more shrill* “What are you waiting for? Go unload your groceries and bring me that bag!”

Me: “Why would I do that?”

Woman: “Because I need that bag to shop!”

Me: “Why is that my problem?”


Me: “Why is your lack of bag or coin something I need to help you with?”

Woman: “Because!” *Pauses* “Because…”

She cocked her head to the side a bit, and then she rallied back into indignation mode.

Woman: “UGH, just get out of my face, you little s***!”

Me: “Weren’t you the one who stopped me to demand I give you my personal property?”

She devolved into guttural utterances that barely resembled a spoken language. I was still hiding behind my stoic instructor face.

Woman: “You people are what’s wrong with this country!”

She stormed off into the store, without a cart.

Me: *Waving* “Have a wonderful day!”

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