This past Sunday I made my usual trip to Shop N Save to buy groceries for the next two weeks. I had quite a basket full and headed to check out which isn’t too crowded. I choose a lane with only one other person already checking out. Right when I go to get in line, a tall African American man comes from the side and sort of cuts in front of me. I wasn’t officially completely in line (in his eyes) so I didn’t really say anything. But his girlfriend even said, “Are you just going to cut in front of him?” And he replied that we got there at the same time. I just gave a stern “Go ahead!” to which he replied to his girlfriend, “See, he said go ahead!” They only had 4 items, and although it did make me a bit mad, I dismissed it. No thank you or I’m sorry though which isn’t anything out of the normal these days.
But they didn’t even stay in line 30 seconds, and then they moved to try to find a quicker lane I assume. I would like to point out that the other lines were not very busy. I’m sure the fast lane or the self-checkout would have been quicker for them, and I assumed that’s where they moved to. So, I moved my cart up and started putting my things up on the moving belt since the lady ahead of me was almost done.
I had half my stuff up on the counter when the man returned behind me and said, “Excuse me sir, are you going to let me back in line?” This began to make me mad so I turned around and said, “No, you got out of line. You didn’t ask me to hold your place.” He said, “Excuse me!?” I repeated myself again. He mumbled a few things that I didn’t hear, but I turned around and kept putting my groceries on the counter. That’s when he said, “Asshole!” So, I turned around and said, “Oh, so now you are going to call people names? Well Merry Christmas to you, sir!” He replied with “Merry Christmas my mother f–king ass!”
Now, a few choice words and phrases came to mind but I turned back around and held my tongue, after all, this was a very large Black man. And yeah I’m gonna say it, I half expected him to pull a gun out and start shooting. But then, something came over me despite my blood boiling by now. I’m sure it showed in my face. But after I finished putting all my groceries up on the counter and right before the checker started ringing me up, I moved my cart to the side and I turned around and said to the man, “Because I’m a better person than you are and I don’t call strangers names, I’m going to let you go ahead of me and once again, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.” He jutted ahead of me to check out and never said a word. No apology, nothing. I didn’t really expect one though.
His girlfriend had wandered off and returned about that time and walked in front of me. She actually turned and whispered to me, “Thank you.” I said to her, and very loudly so he could hear, “Thank you m’am for saying that and Merry Christmas to you, and I actually mean it when I say that to you.” She nodded and smiled and walked on. I expressed my anger to the cashier who shared my anger and couldn’t believe how the man had acted, but then she told me other customers had actually been much worse at times. My blood pressure soon returned to normal, but as I drove home it angered me even more that someone would act that way.
Now, complete strangers who might read this who might even be African American are going to label me a racist. That’s fine. Go ahead. I’ve been called worse, and apparently in the grocery store. Think that if you want. Believe me, some of the things I wanted to say to this man would have labeled me as such and that’s why I held my tongue and didn’t say them. But just because I wouldn’t give up the space in line to the Black Man, doesn’t make me a racist. And had it been a large thuggish white man, I would have thought the very same thing about the gun comment I made earlier. So, if you want to play the racist card, go ahead. It’s old. It’s tired. Grow up. You aren’t owed anything. It’s 2011. Get over it.
This is more about being rude in public, and during the holiday season at that, no matter what the color of your skin is. You practically cut someone off to get in line, when you could have probably gotten through self-checkout or the express lane quicker, and then you leave the line without saying anything and return and expect to get right back in line. I would never do that! And if I came back to the same line, I wouldn’t dare ask if I could have my space back had I not asked the person behind me first if I could come back. And I wouldn’t ask them if I could come back anyway, especially if I almost cut them off to get in line in front of them.
As the years go by and our society grows and changes, our tolerance and impatience gets weaker. And apparently our ability to be rude to one another and be selfish gets stronger. Yes, I cuss out the car in front of me when I see they are on their cell phone. I roll my eyes at the mother with the loud rowdy kids in the store. My patience is just as thin as anyone elses. But I haven’t lost all respect for myself and for others. Had this man in the grocery store apologized, I don’t think I’d even be venting now and writing this post. But because he didn’t, that’s why I’m speaking out about it now.
Thanks to cell phones, internet, and all the other advances in technology, we hardly have to have ANY interaction with other people which is sad. And even though my situation didn’t even involve a cell phone or anything like that, when you are in public and you do have to interact with other people I think you should be respectful and un-selfish as much as possible, as much as you can tolerate even. And that should be year round, not just during the holidays.
And that’s all I have to really say about that. Oh yeah, and stop texting while driving or I will honk at you. That too!