The Decline of America

The Major and I have noticed a disturbing trend here in WNY.  We suspect it may be a trend that is sweeping the nation.

We have come to accept the fact that Americans are not known for their fashion sense when running every day errands.  It is not uncommon to see people at the grocery story in pajama pants.  I suppose you could call this a fashion choice, but some might call it lazy.

The Major and I try to instill a sense of pride in our children.  If you will recall a post here about a hole in a pair of jeans.  We will occasionally say to one another, “You’re not going to wear that out in public, are you?”  The person will slip upstairs to change into a more appropriate outfit.

We’ll skip over the clothing choices and move on to this new trend.  We call it “the lean”.  We come across it both unexpectedly as we turn a corner, or we spot it from all the way across the produce section.  It can be a person who is young, old or in anywhere in between.  They are slouched over with their forearms resting on the bar of the grocery cart.

If we see a leaner who is an older person, we tend to give them a pass.  Grocery carts can aid a person who might not be as sturdy on their feet as they used to be.  I do think keeping two hands on the cart might be a better way to go, but that’s my opinion.

Here's a cozy nap partner for you, if you're having a hard time remaining upright.

As for everyone else, if you are too tired to stand up straight, perhaps you need to go home and take a nap.  That or take a trip to your family doctor to see if you are anemic.

I know trips to the grocery store can be boring.  Believe me, I have waited for The Major to debate the benefits and downsides to a bottle of Kefir verses Greek yogurt for what felt like hours.  Those moments bring me back to the days of my childhood when my mother took us either to the bank or the sewing store.  Those trips often made me want to lay down, spread eagle, on the tile floor in sheer boredom.  Cut me a break, though.  I was 3 or 4 years old.

These adults at the grocery store need to stand up straight and put their hands on the cart’s bar.  This bar was built for steering.  Have you tried to steer a cart with your forearms?  It is neither fast nor efficient.

There seem to be two types of slouchers.  There are those who don’t seem to care at all that their slow slouch is causing any inconvenience to anyone at all.  In fact, they often don’t even appear to realize that they are moving at a snail’s pace.  They will  encounter another person with a cart and will continue to meander along on their course.  They will neither move to one side or another to allow people to pass by.

Think you look pretty or coy? Showing us your cleavage? Stand up straight! Get shopping. Some of us don't have all day.

Then there are the other kind of slouchers who seem genuinely surprised that there is anyone else at Wegman’s on a Saturday at 1 pm.  Imagine that?!  Other people are actually shopping.  They’ll turn a corner and say, “Opps!  Sorry!”

Now, in general, the surprised person with the cart does not remove their forearms from the bar.  They’ll will offer their “opps” and continue on their way, scootching over slightly to allow you to pass. I wonder if they continue to be surprised as they make their way to the dairy aisle and find more customers around the next corner.

I can’t do anything to raise the debt ceiling.  I can’t do much about the downgrading of America’s credit rating.   In fact, I can’t do much about people slouching on their grocery carts.  I can only smile and say, “Oh, that’s okay.” as some people offer an apology for their leaning ways.  I’ll continue to watch as our country continues to slouch toward mediocrity.

–Running Girl


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by stacy urick on August 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Oh Running Girl . . .I don’t know if you will ever forgive me. Not only am I a parent that lets their children go to the grocery store in their jammies. (Let’s face it. I’m exhausted at the wait I have to endure to while the children s.l.o.w.l.y. get dressed otherwise.) . . .BUT I am also said leaner . . .I didn’t realize I do it until one day Madeleine with the little cart (shopper in training) was leaning on her cart the exact same way . . .the only difference was she even had her thumb in her mouth. After reading this I’m not sure if I will ever be a leaner again. I make no such guarantees about the clothing though. The wait otherwise is just brutal.

    I have one for you though. Good manners go out the window in the grocery store. Is it really that hard to say “excuse me?” I’ve gotten to the point where if a rude person cuts me off with their cart I say “excuse YOU!”


  2. Posted by Cecily on August 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Luckily I’m so short that leaning down onto the bar isn’t really an option. As for the clothing, I’m not one for PJs out in public but please tell me yoga pants get a pass?!


  3. Posted by JenT on August 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I was a leaner after I herniated my disk. It allowed to me GO to the store with Noel or James to help me lift everything. But now that I am better, I am no longer a leaner.
    Living in a college town, I see way too many young people, mostly girls, in the stores in their flannel jambes and, sometimes, slippers!!! I would NEVER have dreamed of doing that in my day and age!


  4. Posted by Melania on August 12, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Ugh. I caught mysekf doing the cart lean-slouch yesterday. Thank you for the reminder!


  5. Posted by Teresa Lancer on August 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I believe you should not judge until you’ve walked in someone elses shoes! Whether they be young or old it’s like “judging a book by it’s cover”.


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