Sometimes people just need to mind their business, especially if these people are complete strangers. These shoppers recall the time they snapped at an arrogant stranger while waiting in line. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
“There was a very nice older lady I used to see in the grocery store every time I shopped. She always spoke to me. Occasionally she would ask for help reaching something up on a top-shelf. Finally, I stopped her one time and asked her name. She was Nancy, the same name as my grandmother. We chatted, and after that, I made a point of shopping when I knew she would be there. She was about 85, about 4′11″. My grandmother was 4′10″. She walked slowly. We talked and shopped. She brought me recipes and tips. It was a lot of fun. I missed my grandmother so it was just a good feeling.
One day, there was this young woman in her 20s. You know that ‘look’ some people have that just makes you dislike them instantly. That was her. She rushed up behind everyone, saying that rude-toned ‘Excuse Me!’
She came up behind Nancy and me, and we were kind of blocking the aisle.
She loudly said, ‘Do you mind getting your grandmother out of the way? I’m in a hurry.’
Without missing a beat, Nancy said, ‘I’m not his grandmother. I’m his girlfriend. So, you hold your panties and I’ll be out of your fast girl way.’
The girl just huffed. I grinned from ear to ear until she was gone and then died laughing. Nancy blushed a bright red, tried to apologize. We laughed about that for days.
It was only a few weeks later that her daughter called me, telling me Nancy had passed peacefully in her sleep. I went to the funeral and was very happy to hear that the whole family knew about our shopping trips. Her kids told me how much she enjoyed our shopping trips and the times we had talked on the phone. Both of her children were out of state but visited frequently. But, they were all grateful for her young boyfriend and I was grateful for spending time with my other grandmother.”
“This Is Not Good Manners”
“My best friend and I bought some snacks in a shop, paid, and sat down on a bench right in front of that shop.
My best friend was very on the bigger side at the time and struggled with some bullying, though it never happened in front of me. She always told me that random strangers laughed about her and called her names wherever she goes and that this was the reason why she hated to leave her house. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe her, but I thought she might take unmeaningful things too much to heart or interpret them wrongly since I’ve never seen anybody even paying attention to her when I was with her. She insisted that it only happens when she was alone and she was sick of not having proof to show me.
But on that fateful day, I saw it live and in action.
So we sat on that bench, a bit apart from each other, I was looking at my phone and one could easily mistake us as two people just randomly sitting on the same bench without knowing each other.
Then, an old woman came out of the shop with her shopping cart, looked in our direction, stopped, and walked over. She approached my friend, completely ignoring me, probably thinking, ‘I’m just some dude.’
She tapped her on the shoulder and had the most superficial and fake-friendy smile I have ever seen on someone’s face other than on a fishy car salesman.
‘Excuse me, but how old are you?’ The old man asked.
My friend looked confused and said, ‘I’m 20?’
‘And you still sit like that?’, she said. ‘This is not good manners.’
My friend and I both looked confused. We sat on that bench in the exact same way. We had one leg up on the bench, while the other leg stayed on the ground. Yet, she completely ignored me, speaking only to her.
My friend apologized and put her leg down. I did the same.
Then the old lady added, smiling sarcastically, ‘But I get it! I mean what else can you do? I bet it’s hard for you.’ She turned around, intending to walk back to her shopping cart.
I thought there was something wrong with my ears. I gasped and said, ‘Did you just REALLY say that?’
She turned around looking confused, not expecting me to get involved.
‘I understand you may dislike the way she sat, but what incredibly rude remark was THIS!?’ I said.
She shrugged, ‘Well, sitting like that is without manners.’
‘But I was sitting right next to her in the exact same way. Yet you didn’t speak to us, you only spoke to her! Makes me wonder if you only approached her to comment on her body!’ I exclaimed.
She looked trapped and overwhelmed with being confronted about it. She said, ‘Oh really? Ah, I didn’t see you were sitting in the same way.’ That phony smile again. That annoying I-try-to-hide-my-bad-intentions-by-looking-overly-friendly- smile.
I was furious, so I said, ‘That was an utterly rude and unnecessary comment!’
‘I know it wasn’t nice to say that. But sitting like that isn’t nice either!’ she said before she turned around, walking over to her shopping cart and acting like she was looking for something in her bag, visibly embarrassed by the situation.
I bit my lip, I had to really keep myself back from causing a serious scene. Then I got up and walked over.
I said very loudly and clearly, ‘I think it’s ABSOLUTELY disgusting what you just did! Bullying this woman in such a freakin’ shameless way! You old people always complain about young people being disrespectful. But what YOU just said wasn’t any better! I hope you feel UTTERLY embarrassed by YOUR manners!!’
I walked away, the woman completely ignoring me and acting like it was none of her business. Some people gave her a look. I apologized to my friend afterward because I had never fully believed her. She said it was okay. She was more grateful and astonished that I actually stood up for her.
And I would again. Always.”
“I was standing in line with my daughter who was about 14 months at the time. She was teething and had just got a fever while we were in the grocery store so as you can imagine she was not a happy camper. We obviously had to cut our trip short so we proceeded to the checkout line to pay.
As we were waiting to have our groceries rung up two older women got in line behind us. I could hear one of the women say to her friend, ‘Why would they bring her out like this?’
Her friend said, ‘Yeah, some people shouldn’t be parents.’
I turned around and said very calmly, ‘Excuse me.’
The one old biddy said sarcastically, ‘I was just commenting on your wonderful parenting skills.’
Wow, the thoughts that flashed through my head were not very pleasant, but I knew I needed to get out of there and it was not worth causing a scene.
So I calmly replied,’ Like you, yourself are demonstrating what a good person you are.’
She smirked at my response as I turned around and waited to get checked out. Fortunately, the young man in front of me overheard the encounter and offered to let me pass. This was great because he had a shopping cart full of products. I went past him and paid for my groceries. The two women behind him had assumed that the gentleman would allow them to pass as well since they only had three things.
So as they were making their way past him, he told them that they would need to wait their turn ‘because that is what good people do.’
If my daughter had not been feeling so miserable, I would have smiled all the way to my car.”
The Old Man Lost His Patience
“I was standing in a long line at the checkout at a crowded store one day—not enough people working, half the self-serve counters weren’t working, people were exasperated, tempers wearing thin—you know the drill.
Directly in front of me was a young mother with a toddler, a bored toddler and anyone who has ever been around toddlers knows what a recipe for disaster that can be. This toddler would pull his legs out of the leg holes in the cart and stand up in the seat, while all of us held our breath hoping he wouldn’t fall. The floor may have been only four feet away, but when you’re only two feet tall, that’s still a significant distance to a hard concrete end. But the mother was always immediately right there telling him to sit down. Without argument or tears, he would obey and sit right back down.
Then you could almost see the vibrations begin. He could not sit still for long and up he would pop again. The mother never lost her patience, she would tell him to sit, he would sit, boredom would ensue, and up he would pop yet again. This must have happened five or six times. Mom never started to cry or yell or demonstrate exasperation in any way. The little boy didn’t cry or yell and would sit back down every time she would tell him to.
They both had my complete and total sympathy. Having raised four kids myself, three of them active little boys who did not care for sitting still I knew that standing in a long line at the checkout was one of the miseries of life for everyone involved.
Behind me in the line was an elderly man. His patience was not the patience of the mother.
He spoke out, loudly enough for us all to hear, ‘When I was raising my children, they would have gotten a spanking for such disobedience. Parents nowadays let their kids get away with anything.’
I saw the mother’s face get red with embarrassment.
I’m normally a polite person. I avoid disagreements with strangers. I mostly avoid conversations of any kind with strangers. Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut, but this time, the feisty in me rose to the surface. I couldn’t help it, really. I turned around and spoke to the man.
‘He isn’t disobeying. Every time she tells him to sit, he sits. His mother is being extremely patient and kind and understanding of how difficult this is for him. The mother is handling him well, and the little boy is doing the best he can in the circumstances,’ I said.
The old man responded, ‘Well I raised four kids and spanked every one of them. My kids knew to obey me when I told them something.’
It was no doubt rude and downright mean of me, and I should probably be ashamed for saying it, but in return, I asked, ‘Do any of them still speak to you?’
He didn’t answer. He just glared at me.
Being a young parent is hard enough without know-it-alls making comments like that. The mother smiled at me. The old man never said another word.
We all quietly got through the checkout and went our separate ways.”
“I was probably about eight months pregnant at the time. My husband asked if I would pick him up a six-pack on my way home. I told him I would, and stopped at the local grocery store. I picked out his favorite and took it to the cash register.
There were a couple of people ahead of me in line and soon after I got in line, an older woman got in line behind me. While I was waiting patiently, I kept hearing the woman behind me chuffing and clicking her tongue. I felt like she was trying to get my attention, so I turned around and looked at her. She immediately began to tell me how inappropriate it was for me to be drinking while I was so obviously pregnant and didn’t I know what drinking would do to my unborn baby?
I was tired, achy, and fed up. I told her in no uncertain terms that what a complete stranger did or did not do, is of ‘no’ concern to her.
I then told her, ‘And since I’m of no concern to you, you should mind your own business! But just for the record, this pack is for my ‘husband’ who didn’t have time to stop at the store himself. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be buying it because I get tired of all the Nosy Nellies tsk-tsking me and giving me dirty looks!’
Then I told her to stick it and turned back around to continue waiting in line.
I heard her mumbling to herself and continue to grumble. When I got to the checkout, I paid for the six-pack and began to leave. The woman approached the cashier and immediately said how rude some of their customers were.
The audacity of this woman never ceases to amaze me.”
Mom And Son
“My mom gave birth to me when she was 23. Some might say it’s young nowadays, but it was pretty common then (I was born in 1996).
This happened a few years ago. My mom was around 43 and I was 20. Being in her ‘golden years’, my mom looked pretty and younger than most of her peers. Some confused her for my sister a few times.
Anyway, one afternoon we were grocery shopping. While we were deciding how many lemons we needed, I noticed an elderly lady looking straight at us, jaw dropped. I ignored it. Also, she was with her peer friend. The same thing happened a few more times while we were strolling through the supermarket. I ignored it every time and my mom wasn’t aware of it at all.
Finally, we got to the cash registers. How it always is, out of 15 registers only four of them worked so the queues were pretty long. My mom hates to wait (queuing, software updates, for someone to call her back, etc.) but I don’t mind so I calmed her down and entertained her with some chitchat while standing in line. One last time, here came that elderly lady with her friend. They stood right behind us.
They had been quiet the whole time, just looking at us. It was our turn to put the groceries on that conveyor belt. The cashier scanned them all and I put them in the bags. My mom paid. We took the receipt.
While turning around to go and exit the supermarket, my mom stopped at the spot and turned red. That elderly lady said to her friend that my mom should be ashamed of herself and called her inappropriate names all because she (the lady) thought my mom was dating me.
The lady also said something like, ‘He’s just a kid, find yourself someone your own age.’
My mom is tolerant and always knows what to say. This time she was speechless for a good 30–40 seconds. Then she (mom) told the lady that I was her son and schooled her about minding her own business. The lady didn’t say a word. She, her friend and even the cashier were all blushing and a bit embarrassed for the lady. We just left.
Nowadays, every now and then when this thing crosses our minds, we have a laugh. This taught me never to judge people before I get to know them at least a bit.”
“I was in Target on a Sunday afternoon with my seven-year-old and two-year-old sons. My toddler was riding in the cart and my seven-year-old was walking with me. He had had a great week at school and received an award in his STEM class. He asked me for a seven-dollar dinosaur, so I said yes.
We walked on and he asked me for something else. I told him no. He told me he didn’t like me. I told him to put the seven-dollar dinosaur back, that I wasn’t going to buy a toy for a little boy who didn’t like me.
He freaked out. He was screaming and crying like a crazy person. I calmly walked to the checkout with him acting as my personal siren through the store.
He kept screaming, ‘IF YOU BUY ME THE DINOSAUR I’LL STOP SCREAMING.’
Uhhh, no. Life doesn’t work that way. I wasn’t about to give in to him and reward him for being rude to me or for having a tantrum. There was an older lady in front of us in line. She proceeded to put her hands over her ears in a very dramatic fashion.
She then looked at me and said, ‘People like you don’t deserve to have children.’
Wait, what? I just looked at her, smiled, and said, ‘I have two more at home.’
If I’m a bad mom for having a kid meltdown in Target, or not giving in to tantrums, then so be it.”
Home Depot Lady To The Rescue
“I am an adult male and I was recently at The Home Depot, waiting in line at the garden center. There were three other customers in front of me. Everyone was wearing masks and trying to maintain a six-foot distance. A man got in line behind me and, though he was masked, he was so close that his chin was touching my shoulder.
Before I could say anything, the cashier quickly said, ‘Back off! Maintain your six-foot distance!’
She had to repeat it before he backed up. It was then the man tried to strike up a conversation with me.
He said, ‘I need to get a hair cut badly. How old do you think I am? I’m prematurely gray, I’m only 45. I am prematurely gray as well so he asked my age.’
Before I could think of a reply, he then asked, ‘What color is your armpit hair? Is it gray, too?’
At this point, the cashier came from around the counter and yelled, ‘Out! Get out now before I call security!’
The man then left, with me standing there speechless. The cashier was very apologetic and she even offered me a discount.
In most circumstances, I would have had a snarky reply, but this time I was floored. This was broad daylight, in a crowded environment, and I didn’t want to create a scene.
Thank you, Home Depot Lady, for coming to my rescue.”
“I was grocery shopping with a friend. She is blind, so she can’t drive. OK, she can drive (she learned how from friends at University), but she doesn’t drive on public streets. Anyway, I was the driver for the day.
We went about the store, finding what she wanted. She knew where everything was, but she needed somebody to make sure she got the right can. Her guide dog is brilliant, but hard to understand. Were those beans? Tomatoes?
Anyway, we found everything and got in the check outline, and a woman in the line loudly told her child (maybe 10 years old) that my friend was blind, and it was because her parents did something really bad, so if you do something really bad you could end up blind.
My blind friend spoke up and told the woman she was born blind. She said nobody was bad, it just happened. She spoke to the child and told him about her guide dog. The child liked meeting the dog. My friend was very gracious, educating the child about blindness and guide dogs.”
Why Would She Do That?!
“I was at a pet supply store with my 18-month-old black lab Tootie, who had just been diagnosed with knee problems that required surgery on her hind leg. She hadn’t had the surgery yet, but the vet said she would always sit a little funny because she would keep her bad leg stretched out straight.
While we were standing in line at the checkout, three people were ahead of me. Then Tootie was sitting at my feet in her weird way. Some older lady with a small fluffy dog under her cart stepped into line behind me. She mentioned how sweet my dog seems to be, asked how old she was, etc. As the line moved forward, Tootie stood up, took three steps, and sat back down again with her leg sticking out.
This woman reached past me, grabbed Tootie’s collar, pulled her up to a totally straight position, and used her foot to push her leg back into place.
As she was doing this, she said, ‘You have to teach them how to sit upright.’
I think I yelled, ‘Stop’ or something to startle her. She gave me a look like I slapped her or something, then got back into line behind her cart. Everyone in line turned to look at us.
I said with my back to her, ‘This dog needs leg surgery. You don’t know anything. Leave her alone.’
A cold silence after that. Poor Tootie just slumped back into her regular position and looked at me like, ‘When will this be over?’
Mother Or Kidnapper?
“My cousin has a rare physical deformity from birth. After many years of doctors telling her she would never be able to conceive, she had a healthy baby girl only a few years ago. A year after that, she was waiting in line in the post office with her baby in the pram when a woman came up to her.
The woman said, ‘Is this your baby?’
My cousin was shocked and taken aback by this woman’s comment and said, ‘Yes.’
‘But she doesn’t look like you, ‘ she said.
My cousin couldn’t understand why this woman was saying this and asked why it was a concern of hers.
‘You kidnapped this baby!’ The woman claimed and proceeded to call 999 (the Irish version of 911) but people came to my cousin’s aid.
Though some were suspicious. Thankfully the police didn’t arrive and have more of a strain of embarrassment for my cousin. She, like many others, did not have to explain themselves. The fact that the woman, without saying, was threatened by my cousin’s appearance and was afraid. It still makes me sick to this day.”