General Etiquette > Life...in general

Please stop pawing my keys.

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Possum:
Last week, I stopped at a chain drugstore to pick up a soda.  While I checked out, I put my keys on the edge of the counter in front of me, so I could dig out my money.  The store is one that has shopper reward cards, and when the clerk asked if I had one, I just replied, honestly and without thinking, "Yes, but I don't have it on me." 

So she motioned to my keys, which have a bunch of store tags, and asked if I had one of their tags.  I said no, but it's not worth it for a soda, she smiled and rung me out and I was on my way.

Wait, no, that's not what happened.  Instead, she started going through my keys.  (To note, in her favor, she did not pick them up; they stayed on the counter.)  She was stopping to check each one, despite me saying not to worry about it.  I kept trying to deter her ("It's not worth it for a soda," "Look, it's okay, really") rather than pulling the keys out of her reach, but she wasn't listening.  It took me three tries and she made it halfway through my key tags before I made it very clear (in a polite but firm way) that I didn't have the time or desire to use my shopper card for a $1.50 soda.

I have never had a clerk assume they could go through my personal belongings--including keys--before.  I mean, it's one thing if I offer the keys up for the tag to be scanned, and I have the wrong tag up and she sees the right one.  But this wasn't that.  My tags weren't even on top, she just presumed to sort through my key ring! 

I hate having people strangers handling my stuff, and I found that to be quite rude--especially since she was basically checking out where else I shopped.

Is it just me?  Am I overreacting? Would it have been rude to remove them from her reach the moment she started?

EllenS:
It absolutely would not have been rude to take them back, any more than it would be rude to pick up your purse off the floor if someone started rifling through it.

You needn't say anything nasty, or as we say down here, "pitch a fit about it", but a firm "No, thank you." while retrieving your keys would be perfectly correct.

There is no rule of etiquette that says you must allow your belongs or your person to be pawed at will.

BeagleMommy:
She should not have handled your personal property unless and until you handed it to her.  Would she have rifled through your wallet if you'd had the discount card in there?

MrTango:
It would not be rude to take them back right away.

When I'm not either home or at my desk at work, my keys stay in my pocket unless they're in my hand being used.  At work, they're locked in my desk (and the key for my desk is attached to my ID card, which I wear on my belt), and at home, they're in their spot so I never have to go searching for them.  No one touches my keys without my permission unless they want to have my keys forcefully ripped from their hand.

barefoot_girl:
I don't really understand why you didn't just pick up the keys and put them back in your handbag or pocket. Its none of her business what you have on your keyring! it certainly isnt rude to pick up your keys in simialr circumstances. I work in a high-security environment, and NO-ONE is allowed to touch my keys at work, so it has made me terribly careful of my personal keys even when I am not at work.

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