The Contents Of My Grocery Cart Are Of No Concern To You

by admin on April 9, 2013

Reading today’s grocery store story (http://www.etiquettehell.com/?p=3759) reminded me of my own grocery store horror story.

It is important to note for this story that I am a large woman (5’4” and 330lbs).

About 3 years ago I was in the grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving.

In the bakery section there were two pumpkin pies in the cooler plus an entire 4 shelf rack of pumpkin pies sitting next to the cooler.

When I came arrived in the section, there were two people in front of the rack grabbing their own pies, so I grabbed the two pies out of the cooler.

Almost immediately woman came charging toward me and started yelling, “Look at you! You don’t need any pie! Give me those pies! My family needs those pies!” She then actually started to reach into my cart to grab them.

I pulled my cart away and said, “There are more pies right there”, pointing towards the rack of pies.

She stopped trying to grab the pies in my cart but said, “I’m just trying to look out for your health, dear. You really don’t need one pie, much less two. You should grab some nice fruit for dessert instead.”

She then grabbed a pie off the rack and wondered away.

I wish I had thought of something appropriately cutting to say to her, but mostly I was just trying to pick my jaw up off the floor.   0408-13

I’ve had that happen to me once.  I was 7 months or so pregnant with Dear Son and while in the frozen food aisle of our local grocery store one day, I had put two cartons of ice cream in my cart only to have a total stranger, a busybody, scold me for my food choices, reach into my cart and actually remove the ice cream and put it back in the freezer.   The interesting assumption about her actions was that the ice cream was for me.   I dislike ice cream and rarely eat it. It was for my husband.

The problem with this kind of encounter is that it catches you so off guard and there is no decisive comeback that springs instantly to mind.   The belief that they have a god-given, entitled right to dictate your eating choices is just mind blowing sometimes.   The greedy shopper in this story cleverly used a vile guilt manipulative tactic to deprive another customer of a product she thought had run out.  No pies left?  Attack the overweight customer to shame them into relinquishing one of the prized pies using the OP’s possible insecurities about her weight to busybody shopper’s own advantage.

But while that is egregious enough, it’s the actual trespass into the grocery cart as if they have a right to physically manipulate your buying choices that astounds.    Dear OP, at the first transgression into your cart, I would have also stopped her with, “Excuse me? (Firmly said) What on earth do you think you are doing?”

“I need pies for my family and you don’t.”

“Your lack of holiday meal planning and shopping does not constitute an emergency on my part.”   In other words, if someone chooses to not bake and waits until the last minute to shop for a holiday meal, the rest of the world is under no obligation to deem this an emergency they must somehow, willingly or unwillingly, resolve for you.    (This really should be another standard Ehell phrase everyone memorizes to use.   Don’t get pulled into someone’s self contrived drama just because they lacked the foresight to plan well.)

“You are fat and don’t need them.”

“You are presumptuous and rude.   Have a nice holiday! “

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

JWH April 9, 2013 at 7:13 am

The presumption is breathtaking … and it occurs to me that one of these “take the food from your cart” folks risks a physical confrontation. That kind of thing isn’t far removed from stealing.

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Lo April 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

As someone who has very recently (within 2 years) gone from thick to fat I dread the day this happens to me.

One of my best friends is a very large woman and *very* confidant about her body and she still recounts with embarrassment the times she’s been publicly shamed this way. If I’d been there those times I would have had no problem engaging in a verbal confrontation with her abuser.
There is a common misconception that overweight people would not be overweight if some saintly folk would just fly in on angels wings and put the pie back on the shelf for them because clearly they lack self control and don’t know eating pie is part of the problem. HA! Overweight people know they’re overweight. We aren’t blind. We aren’t stupid. We’re adults who make choices and we don’t need the help of strangers to make those choices for us. The idea that people are looking out for our best interests by doing us a “favor” is one of the most vicious types of bullying.

My weight problem is a combination of a few poor lifestyle choices and unfortunate genetics. But it’s no one’s business but my own and my doctor’s. Even if I were sitting a restaurant eating an entire pie by myself, so long as I am using proper table manners naysayers can silently judgely all they like but have no business opening their mouths.

OP, if I had been there to witness this you better believe I would have said something:

Rude Lady: “I’m just trying to look out for your health, dear. You really don’t need one pie, much less two. You should grab some nice fruit for dessert instead.”

Lo: “Too bad for you they don’t sell basic human decency here, you could use a couple servings of that.”

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Annie April 9, 2013 at 7:51 am

This person was rude. I hate that people always assume that bigger persons eat only crap food.

I do my grocery shopping at three places, the first place I never buy fruits and veggies because even if it is cost less, it rots after 3 days. I do my shopping for a month at a time at this place so my cart if full of cans, bags of rice, soda and chips, nothing fresh. all things in a box or bag. Some women always give me this look like I’m fat because I buy only crap. I only buy two bags of chips for a month for two people, it’s really not that bad and my other grocery trip is only veggies and fruits. People should mind their own business.

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Huh April 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

I can’t believe someone would do this! No, I’m not calling OP a liar, I believe her that it happened, I just can’t believe people are so rude now! To tell someone (the day before Thanksgiving, so I highly doubt she’s buying the pies just for her) “look at you, you don’t need pies, you need fruit” is insanely rude.

A stranger has absolutely no right to make any commentary on what I or my family is eating. When I was a child, I had a bad milk allergy (it’s better now, but I still can’t have anything more than skim milk and even then, too much and I’m sick.) And orange juice to this day gives me painful heartburn. My mother said when I was little, people would be so rude to her about her not getting me milk or juice to drink at restaurants. She would tell people I was allergic to milk and they would still get nasty with her! Getting water or iced tea for her child would bring down the judgment police.

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Mae April 9, 2013 at 8:00 am

Taking things out of my cart? Someone telling me what I do or do not need? Oh, heck no. Unfortunately, I do not think my manners would have kept me from shouting at someone so presumptous and rude.

Shame on the woman who put Admin’s ice cream back and on the woman who tried to steal OP’s pies.

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Shoegal April 9, 2013 at 8:03 am

Wow!!!! It astounds me that there are actually people out there that would do something like that. It just shocks me that somebody could be so rude. I would not have had the presence of mind to say anything – like the OP my jaw would have been dragging on the floor.

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Coralreef April 9, 2013 at 8:10 am

What is it with people being obsessed by other’s food choices? I can understand asking in which aisle they got the can of purple olives, but otherwise, shut up, it doesn’t concern me what you put in your cart. For all I know, that case of soda is for little Johnny’s 12th birthday.

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PM April 9, 2013 at 8:15 am

People who are determined to get what they want will use any means necessary, whether it be fat-shaming or “looking out for your best interests.” It’s the same reason men who ask for a woman’s phone number and get rejected, suddenly switch tactics and call her foul names. The same woman who was “hot” enough to be asked out just a few seconds before is now a fat, ugly b—h. They’re trying to put the woman on the defensive, bewildered by cruel worlds and doubting herself, so she’s scrambling to prove that she’s not a fat, ugly b—h. It wouldn’t have mattered whether the OP was larger or not, the other woman would have found SOMETHING about her to degrade for her own purposes.

My own experience: I was at a block party with my husband, six months pregnant, with my son. I was drinking a caffeine free root beer with a lot of silver on the label. An older neighbor I barely knew came storming up to me and snatched the root beer out of my hand, loudly lecturing me (with body language that made me think that he wanted to make sure other people heard him) about the evils of drinking alcohol while pregnant. And how shameful it was that mothers of my generation were so selfish that we couldn’t even give up drinking beer for nine months.

I stood there speechless for a few moments before I finally managed, “It’s a ROOT BEER. There’s no alcohol in it. It’s caffeine free. It’s perfectly safe.”

The man looked at the label and glared at me, “Well, I’m only trying to protect your baby. Besides, you shouldn’t be drinking soda anyway. Too much sugar. Pregnant women should only drink water or milk. Really, I’m just looking out for the baby.”

I will admit, I did not use a very polite tone when I said, “I am looking out for my baby. Now get away from me!”

By this time, my husband had come over to see what the loudness was about and told the neighbor to mind his own business. That night, other women in the neighborhood told me that he had pulled similar “Pregnant women should” or “Young mothers should” rants on them.

Interactions with the neighbor sort of frosty after that.

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WildIrishRose April 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

Wow. Words fail me.

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Athersgeo April 9, 2013 at 8:43 am

To paraphrase Winston Churchill “But tomorrow I may be slim; you will still be a nosy harpy.”

I’ve no doubt people have thought the same sort of thing about me and the contents of my shopping basket (I am a large lady – both by weight and by skeleton*) – fortunately, no-one’s ever actually commented on it. At least, not to my face…

*Even if I lose the excess weight, my hips and shoulders will make sure I’m still a size 16 (UK)!

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Hanna April 9, 2013 at 8:43 am

I have never really encountered grocery problems of any magnitude in the decades of grocery shopping that I have done. But, these grocery offenders are just another subset of controllers that are in the world–the same kind of people that try to control others in order to get some control over their own lives. The same folks that try to control what you say, what you wear, what you watch, how you spend your money, what your kids are doing…..either by belittling or bullying you. They are just entitled playground bullies that have grown up to bully in an adult arena and we should be nothing but SAD about them. I seriously doubt a few well-aimed snarky words would change anything about them.

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Heather April 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

Unbelievable! How the contents of a stranger’s shopping cart correlate with her apparent health are none of my business to NOTICE, let alone comment on… let alone *reach into the cart*, my goodness.

I wonder: if those really had been the last two pies, and she had run up and politely begged you to please leave her one because she didn’t know what she’d serve her family for Thanksgiving dessert otherwise, would you have considered doing so? You had no obligation of course, I’m just speculating; who knows, you might have given a straight “please” a chance, but by involving personal insults in the process I’m pretty sure she reduced her chances of that to zero. Rude people are also foolish.

The saying as I heard it from my husband’s years in the Navy was “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” My husband lives by it. It’s really a very valuable saying, especially for those of us that aren’t good yet at Polite Spines. Before using it on others we can practice saying it to ourselves as a mantra, as we gear up for the difficult feat of uttering the word “No.”

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Saucygirl April 9, 2013 at 8:48 am

Op, I’m sorry you had to experience that.

When my daughter was a baby, I worried about what I would say if a stranger critized something I was doing. It never happened, but the response I decided on was to clap my hands excitedly and exclaim “yeah! It’s my turn to give rude, unsolicited advice now! Hair? No, to easy. Clothes? No, she has to know they are horrendous.” Or something along those lines.

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Shalamar April 9, 2013 at 8:52 am

I once had a total stranger inform me that the mayo I’d selected was inferior, whereupon he reached into my cart, pulled out the jar I’d picked, and replaced it with the one he preferred. As soon as he left, I put his jar back and retrieved the one I’d originally taken. He spotted me in a different aisle, realized what I’d done, and started yelling at me.

In fairness, though, I don’t think he was quite right in the head.

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JJW April 9, 2013 at 9:10 am

If someone had the gall to reach into my grocery cart and take something out, I would have to work hard to stifle the impulse to slap the person’s hand. That kind of behavior just does not compute.

I’m not a large person, but have had people make snide comments about the contents of my grocery cart on more than one occasion and my mind has boggled each time. Unless people have an innocent question about an item you’re buying (“Is that brand of soup good?” or “Did you notice if there are any more boxes of that cereal?”) they need to keep their mouths shut.

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Jo April 9, 2013 at 9:11 am

I find this sort of hilarious, since I’m pretty sure that NOBODY “needs” pie, fat or thin! Thin people can be just as unhealthy, if not more so.

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The Elf April 9, 2013 at 9:14 am

The gall! Even if you intended to devour the two pies yourself right there in the parking lot, it’s still none of their business!

And yeah, I agree this seems to happen a lot more often with overweight women and pregnant women. It happens with thin women too, but it seems to be of a different tenor – less shaming. (Still doesn’t make it right). And of course, it goes without saying that this sort of thing rarely happens to men, overweight or not.

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Allie April 9, 2013 at 9:19 am

I’m sorry this happened to you. I agree with Admin’s take. She thought the pies had run out and that’s why she resorted to the tactic she did. Sad. I can’t understand how some people can be so callous, with no regard for the feelings of others.

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InNM April 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

I’ve found that asking people to put up or shut up ends the argument very quickly. “Helpful” people love to critique and give unwanted advice, but as soon as you ask them if they are the ones paying, they start to stutter.
An example: I’m buying two decadent and delicious desserts, when a “helpful” person comments, “You shouldn’t eat all those sweets. You’re fat.” So I turn to him and put out my hand. “I’m waiting.” I respond. “For what?” Inquires “helpful” person. “For the money to pay for these items.”
“Helpful” person, “I’m not giving you money.”
“Oh, we’ll then. When you start giving me the money to pay for what you think I should eat, then you can comment upon my choices. Until then, leave me alone.”

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Sazerac April 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

I’m increasingly aware of a very insidious double-standard – as a large guy, I’m rarely accosted about my weight/lifestyle choices, yet women my size are fat-shamed and ridiculed by others. It is a horrendous form of sexism that I would love to see disappear.

I would never presume to comment upon a person’s food choices or selections in a store or restaurant, but to actually go up and remove items from their cart? That takes a special form of gall I’m glad to say I do not possess.

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Moralia April 9, 2013 at 9:41 am

“You know, I think they have mind-your-own-business on special in aisle 5!” (Bonus if there is something appropriately amusing on the aisle you name.)

“My doctor says adequate doses of ice-cream (or whatevs) are essential to alleviating my homicidal tendencies!”

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Moralia April 9, 2013 at 9:42 am

Whoops! My faux SNARK & /SNARK tags didn’t show up. I don’t want to suggest the above as ACTUAL responses.

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Cat April 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

On the reverse, I, too, am a large (obese) woman. I buy 25 lb.bags of organic carrots, bananas, Romaine lettuce, green peppers, broccoli,etc. No one has ever mentioned my food choices in grocery stores, and I just realized they probably think, “Poor thing, she is really trying. It must be a medical condition.”
It’s not; the carrots, bananas, etc. are for my rabbits, horses, and donkeys. H, ha, ha…
As for replies, I think I’d use, “I beg your pardon. I do not believe I know you-nor do I wish to.” or’” Madam, I am not overweight; your obsession with strangers indicates you may have a psychological problem.” or, ” I know all about you! Stay away from my husband!”-this in a loud voice to carry to others. Nothing like a crowd if you really want to turn the tables.

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twik April 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

I suspect this was two offenses in one. First, she thought the OP had taken the last two pies, and was determined to get them. Then, when she realized she was making a fuss over nothing, she (for some reason) thought it would help her save face if she acted as if she were just concerned about the OP’s health.

I suppose that the first offense indicates a degree of narcissism that the second should not come as a surprise.

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Stacey Frith-Smith April 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

OP- I am sorry that anyone would be so rude, it’s ridiculous! I love the descriptive language you use, though. A Swooping Busybody, you say? It sounds like just the characterization for those who want to police all kinds of choices without having the standing to do so.

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Roslyn April 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

I would just smile and say “Well, skinny people get sick and die everyday.”

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Danielle April 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

I work at a big box superstore, and I also happen to be pretty heavy. I have two anecdotes about rude behavior regarding my weight, both while I was at work. This is the worst, because since they have the option of complaining to my manager if I am rude to them, it is very difficult to put them in their place.

The first rude boor was an elderly lady. I had purchased a candy bar, and was navigating toward the back of the building in order to take my break, when this woman GRABBED me by the arm and YELLED, “You don’t need that!” and snatched the candy out of my hand! I was so stunned I didn’t know what to do. She walked away, and I contacted our store’s security who escorted her from the building.

The second rude boor was a young mother. I was working at the customer service desk, and she was in line with her friend, and her young son, approximately three years of age. I could see them talking and laughing fairly loudly in the line, but of course I didn’t know what they were saying, and couldn’t care less until they got to the counter. The son told me. He was VERY excited. He happily engaged my attention by saying, “Guess what my mom told said!?” I smiled and said, “What did she say?” He said, “She said that you’re a cow!” It was obvious that this child had no idea that his mother was being mean and cruel, and viciously attacking a stranger behind her back, so I didn’t want to say anything that would hurt the boy, but yet I had to say something cutting to the mother. She at least had the decency to look away in shame when he said this, and her friend left the line entirely. She what I said, in my cheerful-talking-to-little-kids sort of voice was, “Well, she would know, wouldn’t she?” She gave me a stunned look, but said nothing, when I asked her with a bright smile on my face, “How may I help you?”

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Goldie April 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

When I lived in an apartment a few years ago, I used to walk to a nearby grocery store to buy food for myself and my two teenage sons, and then carry it home. I used large cloth bags and naturally would put the heavier groceries (milk, apples, pineapple, vegetables) on the bottom of my bags and the more fragile items (cereals and an occasional bag of potato chips) on top. So I don’t rule out the possibility that, coming out of the store, I may have looked like I was carrying two giant bags full of cereal and chips. One day, a casual acquaintance saw me, snuck up on me from behind, and hollered: “WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING YOUR CHILD?”

I didn’t say anything. I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open. One of my sons did have some extra weight at the time, so that was probably what the guy was referring to. When I came home, we all shared a good laugh about how crazy the guy was. Now that I’ve read the post and comments, I see that it could’ve been a lot worse – at least he didn’t try taking my groceries from me!

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Jenn50 April 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

I do the same thing as Annie; buy all of my fresh produce and meat in a different store due to concerns about quality. And recently, I was shopping in a big box store, stocking up because I’ll be out of town for a week, so I was buying a lot of prepackaged meals and snacks to make my husband’s life easier. He’s not used to being the sole caregiver to three kids including one with special needs, and he tends to get stressed, so I thought I’d cut him a break on meal prep and packing school lunches, and allow some less healthy but kid-pleasing and easy stuff. A woman behind me in the checkout line told me off because my “frozen pizzas and Oreos are the whole problem with the health of kids today. Not a single fruit or vegetable in that cart! I bet your kids just sit around playing Xbox and watching tv too!” (Far from true. All three of my kids are super active, spending every opportunity outside.) I said, “I BEG your pardon? You don’t know me. You don’t know who I’m shopping for, how long this will last, how many people will be eating it, or where else I shop. And frankly, it’s none of your business, any more than it’s my business to judge the aspartame-loaded diet soda in your cart.” She stood there fuming as I paid and left, and I heard her tell the cashier what a witch I was as I walked away.

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Ergala April 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

OP I am so so sorry :( As a heavier woman I’ve had to deal with the looks and the comments. I recently started taking Alli after several years of eating healthy and working out not doing anything. My doctor actually suggested it since I had been to seen the nutritionist and even she was scratching her head. Well Alli is working and I am down 11 lbs in a month so far. Someone asked me in a weight loss FB group how I was doing it and I said I was eating very low fat but also taking Alli with 3 meals. She went off on me saying I was cheating and that Alli is a gimmick. Well no it’s not, it’s actually the ONLY FDA approved weight less over the counter medication you can get in the states. And the fact that I am eating as I always have and dropping weight screams “IT WORKS!”.

Whenever I go grocery shopping people love to look to see what I am buying. I’m 5’6 and down to 279 but I don’t look my weight, I look smaller. But you can tell they are surveying what I am buying to justify their preformed judgement of why I am overweight. Sorry guys, fresh veggies and fresh fruits, whole grains, skim milk, egg beaters….that’s what’s in my cart. No twinkies, or chips and soda. Not everyone who is overweight is that way because of diet.

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Ashley April 9, 2013 at 11:11 am

My fiance and I have experienced similar things. Neither of us are larger, but due to our shopping patterns, it can sometimes look like all we eat is junk. In reality, there is one store that has the best prices on all our frozen items and some snack items we RARELY treat ourselves to, but we don’t trust the fruit and veg. One day we were at the store with our frozen items and we had decided it was a good day to treat ourselves. So he ran off to get snacks, leaving me to pick through our list of frozen things. I stopped in front of one case because I noticed a brand we buy from time to time had a new item, and I was looking at the ingredients. Some woman came up behind me, scoffed and said “It would be much healthier if you made that with fresh chicken and vegetables rather than that bagged crap”. A) We do cook fresh things more often than we don’t. We just keep several heat and eat meals on hand on the off chance we don’t feel like cooking that day. B) Even if all we ate was bagged meals, it’s none of this woman’s business. My fiance came back just then so I gave the woman a frosty look and carried on down the aisle. I’m glad my fiance hadn’t heard because he had a bad day at work and WOULD have said something to her.

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PM April 9, 2013 at 11:13 am

@Shalamar, while your mayo swapper might not have been right in the head, I also think this is a technique used by some men to determine whether a woman is a good “target” – whether it’s for their dubious, controlling romantic attentions or actual harm. They float something silly like telling a total stranger that they should use a different brand of XYZ or telling an acquaintance that they shouldn’t eat the fattening dish they’re planning to order and stick with a grilled chicken salad. They watch how the woman responds. If she wilts under the implied criticism and says, “OK, I guess I’ll just have the grilled chicken salad,” she’s a prime target for being easily manipulated. If they respond as you did, refusing to be controlled you’re not a good candidate.

Of course, screaming at you in another aisle might have been evidence of him being mentally ill or he could have been pressing his “suit.” Either way, good for you for not falling for it.

(I swear, I don’t mean to man-bash today. It’s just that the tactics of abusive men and boors happen to land in the same place on the Venn diagram.)

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Stepmomster April 9, 2013 at 11:27 am

I have also had this happen to me in the grocery store.

My daughter, who was 4 at the time, was laying in the main body of the cart. she looks very healthy, but has spinda bifida, which affects her lower body. As a result, she was not able to be potty trained, but could move around enough to sit up and generally did not look like a child with any medical issues. I had a large pack of diapers in the front of the cart for her, and as she was lying in the cart she had curled onto her side and was looking at a picture book. her shirt was up slightly in the back, just enough to show a bit of her diaper.

This woman comes up to the cart, looks at my daughter, looks at the diapers and then proceeds to lecture me on “not letting your daughter grow up right because you are not weaning her from stage to stage” She actually reached for the pack of diapers like she was going to take them, and I stepped in front of her. Unfortunately for her, she was not the first person to be rude to me because of my daughters healthy look and delayed stages, so by then had gotten over the shock of strangers making huge presumptions about us and was just angry.

I tightly said “I’m sorry, i’m buying these, my daughter has spina bifida, and can’t be potty trained. I need you to leave us alone now”

She then says “well you can’t blame me for not knowing, she looks so good i didn’t know she was handicapped, you are lucky she isn’t worse”

I stared at her for a few seconds, looked her up and down, and then coldly said (trying not to snap her head off) “Some days, I feel more fortunate than others”

I turned around and continued checking out. She stood behind me in awkward silence until I left.

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Justine April 9, 2013 at 11:28 am

Same thing happened to me while pregnant! I was about 7 months along. We were having my parents over for dinner. I didn’t want to bake a dessert so I told my DH that I was going to walk up to the grocery store and get something. He asked me to pick up a 6 pack of soda for him. I got that and 2 packages of dad’s favorite cookies (one to serve and one for him to take home) since they were on sale. Busybody older man in line behind me said “If you feel the need to eat all those cookies in your condition you could at least wash them down with milk.” I did say that they weren’t all for me but I don’t know if he believed me.

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The Elf April 9, 2013 at 11:31 am

I feel very fortunate that nothing like this ever happened to me – not when I was skinny and not now that I’ve gotten a bit heavier than I like. I don’t know what I would do; who expects something like this?! I think it would be a toss-up between something particularly foul-mouthed and something like what OP did. BTW, you handled it quite well and I hope I could be as gracious under the same circumstances.

The closest I’ve gotten is when I was berated for the food I was buying my “baby”. I had purchased a half dozen jars of pureed meat baby food – for my sick ferrets! I was told that babies need vegetables too, and I responded (after a moment of WTF) “Not these babies. They’re four legged and furry.”

If anyone else out there is a ferret or a cat owner, baby food makes excellent medicine cover-up. Put a spoonful on a dish, nuke it a few seconds take the chill out, and mix a little liquid medicine in there. They’ll snarf it right up! Plus, since it’s pure protein it’s very healthy for the obligate carnivores. I also used it to socialize kittens. And all the times I’ve bought it, only one person thought I was a “bad mother”.

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Shalamar April 9, 2013 at 11:39 am

My friend, who’s a fairly large lady, was once out with her sons, and they ran into someone she knew. This person didn’t know that my friend had kids, and she asked “Who are these two young fellows?” My friend answered “My sons.” The person looked stunned and blurted “But they’re not fat!”

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girl_with_all_the_yarn April 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

I had this happen in a grocery store once, but I knew the person involved. I may not have liked the person all that well (if, after one disastrous date I say no to a second, please stop pestering me for another chance), but we knew each other, and therefore he knows I’m lactose-intolerant.

That being said, when I meet someone I know in a grocery store I usually say hi and then go about my business. This time, because his attention in general was bordering on harassment, I patently ignored him. He followed me around anyway. Yeah, totally stalkerish behavior, I know.

When I got to the frozen isle, I picked up a container of ice cream. It was a roommate’s birthday and she wasn’t a fan of cake, but she was a fan of pie and root beer floats. I’d already made her a pie and was just picking up the rest of the ingredients for the floats when this guy comes up to me, grabs my container of ice cream and shoves it back in the freezer with way more force than was necessary.

“You’re lactose intolerant!” He shouted. “You can’t have that! Also, you should be watching your weight if you want to date anyone other than me again!”

… and that was when my new boyfriend who is a 210lb marine who also happens to be built like a truck, 6′ 4″ and a sweet, protective teddy bear of a man, and was still in uniform since he’d just gotten off work for the day, walked around the corner and joined me.

“Hey, darlin’. What’s up? You get the ice cream for the floats yet?”

I haven’t seen or heard from the annoying, rude guy since. I’ve gotta say, having a large, awesome boyfriend is a wonderful boor deterrent.

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Tsunoba April 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm

This reminds me of a story my grandmother tells sometimes. She was shopping, and as she was getting fruit, this old guy saw her and chastised her for getting fruit because it was so expensive. My grandmother merely responded that she was the one buying it. She then glanced at his cart. She didn’t say anything, but she wanted to point out that her fruit may be expensive, but it was healthy…unlike the expensive carton of cigarettes in his shopping basket!

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Jay April 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

“Eating pies makes people ruder, so you clearly shouldn’t be buying any.”

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Jay April 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm

@InNM: That’s excellent.

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Din April 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm

This extends to people who fat shame other people in store scooters and handicapped parking spots. The assumption being that as fat people, they have no right to these things, because fat is a moral failing rather than a physical disability in itself. Besides the fact that why someone is fat is nobody else’s business, there are plenty of reasons why someone might gain weight because of another condition, or medication for.

To continue on a trend, minding your own business extends to handicapped parking in general. There are plenty of “invisible” disabilities. Can you see someone’s heart condition that makes it difficult to walk long distances without getting fatigued (as an example)? No. Then MYOB. As long as that person has a valid Handicapped sticker, plates or tags, that person has a right to that space.

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dee nile April 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Would it be ehell-approved to look deeply into the rude person’s eyes and say, “Mom? Is that you?”

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Lita April 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Ugh. That is just plain rude, and who the heck reaches into someone else’s cart???

I’ve actually had the exact opposite happen to me – I’m painfully thin, and at the time I was even more so (think walking skeleton, and I honestly could not help it.) I was doing a bit of quick shopping, nothing much as I was short on money, and I’d stopped down an aisle and turned away from my cart to look at something on the shelves. When I turned back after deciding against whatever item I’d been looking at, an elderly lady was standing there piling packages of cookies into my cart! I assumed she had meant to put them in her own, so I politely said to her, “Excuse me ma’am, but this is my cart. Is that yours right next to you?”

She gave me a completely flabbergasted look and said, “Oh no, these aren’t for ME. You need them! You’re so thin! Girls like you need to quit starving yourselves! Now make sure you eat these all up now!”

I admit I was then far less than polite. I tightly replied “My weight is due to a medical issue, and I’d appreciate it if you’d quit putting items in MY cart just because YOU think I need them!”

She looked at me like I was dog poo she’d just stepped in, took her own cart and went off in a huff.

It still baffles me to this day.

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Barbarian April 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I must be lucky-all my shopping cart conversations have been pleasant. If I see something appealing in someone else’s cart, I’ll ask whre they found it. Or other people. An older lady at Sam’s really like a rug I had put in my cart and asked me where she could find one, so I got one for her to put in her cart to save her some steps.

I enjoyed talking to some people ins Sams’s checkout who were buying several giant bags of cat food for the 40 cats on their ranch. I told them that I admried them for taking good care of them.

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Rug Pilot April 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I wonder what one of these obnoxions would say about my grocery purchases. About once a month I sponsor an event at our local realtor association. I buy bagels and cream cheese in large quantities and maybe some boxes of donuts. My co-sponsor will pick up the fruit and juice. Every once in a while I will restock with “office supplies”, cases of soda and crackers and snacks.
If soneone tried to empty my cart I would pull out my rape whistle and blow. Getting physical about food choices is beyond antisocial and seems criminal.

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Helen April 9, 2013 at 1:12 pm

This is unbelievable.

I’m a petite female, and one of my biggest pet peeves is people commenting on my eating choices. I cannot imagine doing that to others. Unless you’re saying “Ooh, that looks good, where did you get it?” You probably shouldn’t be saying anything.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

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Erin April 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

@Danielle “Well, she should know, shouldn’t she?” Awesome comeback! That made me happy.

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AS April 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm

OP – you have my sympathies too. What that woman really needed was several bags of good manners, which unfortunately is not sold in a grocery store. I don’t blame you for not being able to get back at her in time. It is hard to find the words when you are taken by surprise. You at least managed to keep the pies for yourself. Reaching into your cart to take your stuff??! Unbelievable!

I have had a similar experience, albeit in a lesser scale, once while shopping at Walmart (there is a good reason we don’t go there; the employees in our local Walmart are quite rude). DH and I were putting our stuff at check out. The elderly man at the counter saw us buying a 4-pack Starbucks iced cappuccino, and gave us a lecture why it is a waste of money to buy these as we can make them at home, and caffeine is bad for you anyways. (A) We were graduate students then, and went in early, and didn’t get home until 7PM at the earliest, 7 days a week. (B) We would often purchase Starbucks coffee, and it is convenient to have something that we can store in our office refrigerators so that we don’t have to go out (it was a particularly hot summer that year, and my lab was quite a distance from the food court); and (C)We are not heavy caffeine drinkers, but we need some to keep us going.
We could not wait to pay and get out of there ASAP!

On a slightly different note, another time DH was accused of shop-lifting by the employee standing near the door at the same Walmart because he bought a bottle of milk and didn’t want a carry bag. The only “mistake” he did was to throw the receipt in the trash. The employee saw DH check out and throw the receipt, but made him get it out of the trash can to prove that he paid! DH was so embarrassed to (1) be falsely accused of shop-lifting and (2) having to scrounge a public trash can (that too without gloves!) for a receipt, that we stopped going to that particular Walmart.

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Anonymous April 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm

The really rude part of the OP’s story was, there WERE more pies in the cooler. So, the rude woman could have easily just done what any decent person would have done, and taken what she needed from the cooler, and moved on. Instead, she chose to berate the OP for the “crime” of being a larger person, and buying desserts anyway. She also made a very Interesting Assumption that the OP planned to partake in the pie. For all she knew, the pies were for the OP’s friends and family members, and the OP was planning on having fruit salad or something for Thanksgiving herself. Even if the OP did intend to eat pie, it was none of that woman’s business, because she wasn’t the OP’s doctor or nutritionist, and the OP didn’t ask her for her input.

Also, Tsunoba, I agree that the man who harassed your grandmother for buying fruit was rude too. It’s very possible to buy groceries on a budget, but still get healthy things. I’ve been in that position before, and I’ve bought fruit that was in season, for very reasonable prices. It got a little monotonous eating mostly apples, pears, and oranges, depending on what was on sale, but I figured that it was better for me than no fruit at all.

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Bint April 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I just cannot believe people do this. This is on a whole new level of horrible, rude and unnatural behaviour. If anyone tried taking anything out of my trolley, I’d be so shocked I’d shout, “Get off my stuff!” and probably smack their hand.

But the one about the little girl with spina bifida is just heart-breaking.

“She then says “well you can’t blame me for not knowing, she looks so good i didn’t know she was handicapped, you are lucky she isn’t worse”

This actually makes me want to vomit. How you did not stick your nail file up her nose and offer to give her rhinoplasty, I do not know.

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