Showing Grace in the Grocery Store

This wasn’t supposed to be an eventful grocery store trip. I was just grabbing a few items that Aaron had so curteously left on the magnetic notepad we have reserved on the fridge for a grocery list. I was however, in a bit of a time crunch. So much so that as I was entering the grocery store and my phone rang with Aaron on the other end, when I told him that I was grabbing a few things on his list before heading to a meeting he informed me that he was “worried about my time management” at that point. Not to fear. I was a focused grocery shopper with each stop planned before I arrived at that section of the store.

I had already made my way through the fruits and veggies, grabbed all of the condiments and boxed items that were needed, and was bold enough to grab the frozen items before I made my way to the deli section to grab one more bag of shredded cheese. Shredded cheese is an important item in our home and I was beginning to second guess myself as to whether I had purchased enough. In our house we just can’t be short on the shredded cheese. My indecision should have only cost me a few seconds in returning to the cheese section.

I was winding my way down the canned veggie aisle back to the cheeses when I was met with a sudden obstacle; in the middle of the aisle was a grocery cart that belonged to a middle aged man with over greased hair, flip flops – but not the thong kind, the sports kind – wearing a button down oxford shirt with a belly bulging out as though it belonged to an 8-month pregnant woman, and jeans that were sliding down his waist because they had no hips to hold onto. This was the obstacle to my sharp shredded cheese, a timely checkout so my ice cream wouldn’t melt, and eventually the meeting I was to attend immediately after my grocery trip. He was very engrossed in making the painstaking decision of which brand of ranch beans to buy. I assumed that this was to be the side item to his Sunday barbeque and had I not been so worried watching the sweat drip from my precious Blue Bell gallon of Rocky Road, I might have had more empathy toward his decision because beans are, of course, the magical fruit.

I approached his buggy that was blocking my path and for what seemed like an eternity – a whole 4 seconds – I looked at him intently, hoping that we could make eye contact and he would realize that his buggy was blocking my progress, briefly apologize, and quickly move it out of the way, embarrassed that he had done such a silly thing. This wouldn’t have been a big deal. I wouldn’t be writing a blog post if this was what happened.

Second after second passed and no eye contact was made. I put on my most polite smile, perked up my attitude, and very politely exclaimed, “Pardon me. May I get by?”

Waiting for what I thought would have been the obvious reaction of moving the shopping cart, Mr. Greasy-Hair-No-Hips-Preggo-Belly lets out a huge sigh and as he slunk to his buggy to move it out of the way the unthinkable happend; He rolled his eyes at me.

Rolled. His. Eyes.

And not the kind that wasn’t meant to be seen. This was the I’m-letting-you-know-you’re-bothering-me eye roll. The kind that would make your 80 year old grandmother beat you with her purse.

Inner monologue: Oh, I’m sorry sir. My walk-through-solid-objects super powers were off kilter today so I couldn’t turn them on to walk through your stinking shopping cart. AND, wouldn’t you know that I left my wings at home so I wasn’t able to fly over your buggy. So I’m so sorry to have to inconvenience your painstaking decision of choosing which brand of beans should accompany your less than mediocre steaks by politely asking you to please scoot your shopping cart over 10 inches so I might be able to pass.


Homey don’t play that. For the few seconds after his eyes took a backstroke into his empty skull I thought of a dozen different ways to address the situation. My initial reaction was to go all Jerry-Springer and continue to snap my fingers from one side to the next, making a crescent shape, while exclaiming “Oh no you di-int.” The next was to simply say, “Really? I’m bothering YOU?” But I did nothing but say thank you with a smile and pass.

I grabbed my shredded cheese and gunned my way to the check out, avoiding the aisle he had been living, purchased my items and made my way to the car. When I made it home and my ice cream was safely in the freezer, I realized the most obvious way to handle this unfortunate situation.

I took it to social media….

To the man standing in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store who rolled his eyes at me when I made the absurd notion to say “pardon me” so I could get by: May your milk expire, your carton of eggs crack, and your bread get smooshed in the car on your way home.

I was surprised to hear that some people thought this was harsh. I would like to say that I’m a very nice person. I would like to say that with honest intentions I always try to show grace because you never know what someone is going through. It’s a question I’m constantly asking myself when dealing with the human race, “What could they be dealing with and how can my small interaction with them make a difference?” But for the life of me, I can not stand blatant rudeness. And to have my polite request be met with something as rude as an eye roll is blatantly rude.┬áIt sparks the Madea in me.

So yes, while on Facebook and Twitter I cursed his dairy products to meet their fate on their journey to his home, in the real world I did maintain that grace and simply smiled and said “thank you.”

Grace in the grocery store. That’s how it’s played.

Just smile then talk about it on your blog.


  • Old Fashioned Marria - Great writing, Ms Hannah. Thanks for sharing your experience. "I always try to show grace because you never know what someone is going through." THAT is a very wise way to live – it takes the emphasis off "me" and puts it on serving others. Something as simple as a smile, a kind word, or forgiveness for the way someone treats us, can be a precious gift to someone who feels unloved. You can't live a life of love without this attitude turned on 24/7 (and applied to everyone, including the rude guys who don't deserve anyone to be nice to them). Here's a very rewarding thing to try one day when someone is annoying you: speak a blessing over them (or compliment them, if the concept of speaking a blessing sounds weird to you) right there and then. Those simple words of love may change their life and it will certainly do something special for you. ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Greer Forsman - You have such an incredible way of wording things! I was captivated till the end! ReplyCancel

  • Jake Foote - I agree with Andrea. You are a GREAT writer! Very descriptive and visual. I believe in music writing they call it something like, "putting the couch in the room." It's when you place items there to paint an imaginary visual in the readers/listeners mind. I always tend to click on your blogs when I see them on FB because I always get something out of them! ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - The description makes me laugh. I just went back and read that paragraph a second time. Here in NYC we just push the buggy (we call them carts) out of the way and keep going. And it isn't even rude because you know they've done it too.

    Also, I think it is appropriate to be a little harsh in social media, because really don't people know when you're joking and that you wouldn't really do that. Then again, maybe I should work on being less harsh… ReplyCancel

  • Janet Hernandez Wild - Love it! ReplyCancel

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