I have a confession to make. I've always been a people watcher. Not like a stalker or anything.(well there was that one time ... but I digress.) I just find it entertaining to watch folks sometimes. It might stem from my days waiting on tables. Actually it probably DOES come from those years. If you are going to be a good food server it's pretty much a prerequisite. You have to be able to anticipate your customers needs. Everything from filling drinks to clearing plates and everything in between. The better you are the more money you will make. Contrary to popular belief most servers across the United States work for $2.15 an hour. That hasn't changed in over twenty years either. So a server literally works for their tips. If you are good at it and good at watching people you can make an ok living. Oh, and it doesn't hurt to be able to shoot the bull either. *wink*
Why am I sharing all this with you? OH, now I remember! People watching. I've been known to sit in a parking lot just watching folks do their thing. WalMart parking lots are especially entertaining. Parking lot People Watching isn't really all that uncommon. I've met lots of folks who do the same thing. You would be amazed at what all goes on in parking lots.
Here's where my having a confession to make comes into play. I watch folks in the grocery stores too. Not just the people themselves but I watch what they have in their grocery carts. I don't know if many folks do this too but I find it fascinating to watch what they are filling up their carts with.
I see the harried business guy/gal tired from working the daily grind with what who looks like picking a few things up after a day sitting behind a desk somewhere. There are what looks like fresh organic vegetables some 2%milk, orange juice, a bouquet flowers and grass fed beef in their cart.
Conclusion: They are watching what they eat and trying to eat healthy as well. Except for that carton of ice cream. Gotta have a snack now and then right? These are the folks that get snowed in and panic because they only have a day or two's worth of food in the pantry.
Then there's the little old lady with her small careful choices. A couple of banana's, maybe a small package of chicken breasts that have been marked down, one of those small loaves of bread, half a gallon of milk and maybe some lettuce or a little package of cheese,two or three cans of cat food and a couple of small yogurt cups.
Conclusion: She probably lives alone with her cats. and buys small portions of her groceries at a time. Not only to be frugal but it gives her an excuse to get out of the house if only for a little while. She's probably got food at home but likes to get out of the house and actually talk to someone, even if it's just the brief conversation with the cashier.
There's the 18-19 something guy who loads up on chips, Fruit Loops, and frozen burrito's. He's probably never even lit a stove.
There's the pregnant woman who can't be more than 22-23 with three small screaming ill mannered children running amuck and picking up everything in their line of sight, and running down the aisle. They scream at the top of their lungs running into folks like they were bowling pins and trying to make a strike. All the while the mother sweetly repeats over and over "No Johnny stop running, Ronnie what did I tell you about using your "indoor" voice" yet they still run wild. Her basket is filled with frozen pizza's, sweet sugary cereals, 2 liter bottles of soda, hot dogs, chips and all manner of boxed "meals" (think Hamburger/Tuna Helper) and other processed foods. I'm quite sure she has no idea that her screaming children's actions are not just a matter of bad parenting but the awful foods she feeds them regularly paid with her food stamp card.
There's the older widowed gentleman who has some milk, butter, and a half dozen eggs. I assume he know how to make breakfast but apparently that's the extent of his cooking his own food because he has a pile of TV dinners, frozen pizza and some pot pies. Maybe he never learned to cook because his late wife always took care of the meals.
There's the 30ish lady with a fist full of coupons and a list. Unfortunately her basket is full of processed foods cookies and diet sodas, because it's on sale and she has a coupon for it. I didn't mention she is obese? She stands defiantly in front of the cashier making darn sure that not only does the cashier ring up the sale price but also the corresponding coupon.
I've often wondered if grocery store clerks do the same sort of thing. I'd imagine that their focus would probably be on getting everyone in their line out of it as soon as possible. If it were me though, after hours of standing on my feet swiping item after item across the scanner I'd probably be cart watching. I bet they have all sorts of horror stories about the people that come through their lane though.
Maybe because no matter what line I choose to check out from something is bound to happen to make my wait longer. It gives me time to shopping cart spy, eh? The cashier needs change or runs out of paper, someone presents a hand full of WIC vouchers, ( I didn't mention this shopper on purpose) something has been rung up at the wrong price, a manager has to do a code override, someone forgets "one little thing and I'll be right back" or it's shift change and another cashier has to tag in and take the others place. I've got a friend who I used to go shopping with that refuses to let me pick which lane to check out from. If I pick a lane, she'll just look at me and say "Seriously?" It's like that!
So I guess my question is ... Are you a people watcher? A shopping cart spy? Maybe a bit of both?