Home>Other Rages> Shopping Rage

December 10, 1998

Long lines, short tempers spur holiday shopper rage
Attack on clerk shows how stressful time of year can be

By Nicole Volta Avery and Wendy Case / The Detroit News


An increasingly agitated Hudson's shopper waited impatiently in line for a busy sales clerk. She asked for a different sized dress. The salesperson reportedly rolled her eyes. Angry words ensued. The shopper turned on another salesperson, throwing her to the ground and punching her in the head.

The horrifying scene captured on videotape by a security camera at Oakland Mall last week stunned Metro Detroit shoppers.

And it serves as a reminder how tense and ugly the retail scene can turn during the holiday season. A shortage of store workers and less-experienced seasonal help has led to longer lines and shorter tempers in stores.

And while law enforcement and retail experts agree incidents of violence in stores are uncommon, they do say that verbal confrontations and irritation between shoppers and store staffers increase as the stores become more crowded.

"The lines are long and the prices are jacked up," said Karen McClure, 53, of Detroit. "The clerks have been pretty good for the most part, but every now and then, you run into one with an attitude problem."


"I'm horrified that somebody would actually go to that length. It is obvious that she had a lot of pent-up frustration and that she didn't control it," said Melissa Simpson of Hazel Park, a shopper at Oakland Mall.


"People put themselves under pressure because of expections," said Sandra Schiff, a psychologist and director of planning and development for Eastwood Clinic. "It leads to irrational behavior. They are taking gift-buying way too seriously and they are taking the fun out of it. The first thing people should do is lighten up."

Harried sales clerks, such as Shenetta Dudley, 23, who also manages Superstar's sports clothing store in Northland Center, said customers don't realize that clerks have multiple duties that range from ringing up merchandise to restocking shelves and racks.

"They (customers) go through and knock T-shirts off of hangers and drop jerseys on the floor and we have to pick them up," Dudley said. "It gets frustrating after a while because you've got three or four people who want your attention. You try to give them all the same treatment, but at the same time you have to watch the floor.

"At the end of the night you find all these empty hangers on the floor and you have to wonder: 'Did we sell these items, or were they stolen?' "


"We try to assist everyone that comes in the door," he said. "But sometimes, you can't wait on everybody as fast as they would like you to. If you're already helping somebody, you just have to point the next customer in the right direction. Some people get mad, but you can't lose your composure just because they do."

Most shoppers interviewed at local malls this week said they try to be understanding of what salespeople are up against.

"Yesterday we had a clerk that was quite rude to us. And we didn't like that at all," said Keith Barowicz, 14, of Grosse Pointe, who was shopping with his mother, Pamela. "We just laughed and handled it the best way we can. We tried not to lose our cool."

Neither police nor retail industry groups keep statistics on holiday-related customer violence.

"If you look at the industry in general there are more than 175 million people that go to malls monthly. The vast majority of people shop without incident," said Malachy Kavanagh, a spokesperson with the New York-based International Council of Shoppings Centers. "You are talking about a small number of incidents."


Retailers also need to do a better job training their help in defusing volatile situations, said Susan Newton, who runs Development Strategies Plus of Ann Arbor, which trains sales help.

"Salespeople are taught what they need to know about running the registers and things like that," Newton said. "But they don't get what will happen if somebody is upset or frustrated. That is where I think some of these issues are coming from."

In statewide "Hiring for Attitude" seminars conducted for the Michigan Retailers Association earlier this year, Newton encouraged potential employers to hire people with dispositions that fit the job.


Posted on 10/20/1999

by PasnThru

"Anyone who wants to carry a hidden gun should have to prove to a judge that he or she has a legitimate safety concern. This is not the Old West, and we put ourselves in jeopardy when every driver suffering road rage and every shopper bumped in the shopping mall can pull out a gun and blast away."

I challenge this guy to look at the statistics from Concealed Carry states and show me that these people are blasting away at the least provocation, as he is saying. What he will find, without a doubt, is that those with permits are among the most law abiding and responsible people in the country.

found it here


Attitude adjuster
Best Antidote for Shopper's Rage


by Tracy Squrlin

You decide an excursion to the mall will help you either forget your problems or sort them out, so off you go.

Once there, you encounter Sandy the Salesgirl, who has an I-could-care-less-that-you-need-help attitude.

If that’s not bad enough, you can’t seem to find that hot-looking outfit in your size. When you finally head on over to the checkout line, you see it’s unbelievably long, because the stupid store has only one sales rep on the cash registers.


All of this is starting to make your blood boil, so what do you do? Cut to the front of the line? Curse out the management? Try to do major damage to your space in the fitting room? Nope.

According to Metro Times readers, the answer is to head to the bar or the party store for some liquor – because when the going gets tough, the tough don’t go shopping until they grab the Jack Daniel’s.

original here

Yard sales

My recent column about yard sales, and those who appear at them hours early, unearthed a new species of humankind: those who are hideously rude but try to justify it.

I wrote about the sale we had in our front yard in October. It was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Early birds by the dozen were arriving as early as 8. They seemed disappointed to find that we hadn't set up the sale yet.

I french-fried these people for being unkind and uncaring. Would they show up two hours early at Starbucks or Blockbuster and expect to be waited on? I doubt it very seriously.

The early birds claim I don't understand their methods or traditions.

"If we don't get an early start, all the good stuff is gone," wrote Gloria Allman, a yard sale regular who lives in Hyattsville.

"It's kind of a custom to show up early. It's understood," said Beth Millman, of Bethesda, a yard-saler (and an early bird) for more than 20 years.

"You're lucky they didn't show up the night before," said George Palumbo, also of Bethesda. When George had his sale, a year ago, they showed up two nights early, he said. He had to call the police to get one persistent soul to leave.


original here

July 17, 1999

A historic walk
down the aisles of the supermarket


1950s and '60s - Technology takes hold, bringing automatic doors; widespread use of air conditioning; refrigerated wall units; automatic, belt-driven checkout counters; price-computing scales; cash registers that compute change (revolutionary!); closed-circuit surveillance TVs to catch shoplifters.

1960s - Primitive computers work their way into the industry. By 1967, 21% of supermarkets own or lease a computer.

Express lanes are introduced, reducing shopper frustration while foreshadowing the current era of shopper rage ("She has 13 items! This is the 10-item-or-less lane! Terminate her!")

1964 - The first warehouse food store opens.

1970s - Inflation rules. In one two-year period, food prices jump by 29%.


continued here

Date: 1999

Shopping carts push customers to load up

By Joseph B. Cahill, The Wall Street Journal


Beyond mere convenience, there are psychic returns in cart use. Few sounds are as satisfying as the thump, thump, thump of a shopping cart's wheels rolling across a tile floor, the tone deepening as the cart fills up and becomes heavier. Carts provide personal space between shoppers. And the angry shopper can bang into another's cart, releasing rage with no harm done.

To be sure, the unattended cart poses a danger. "They can put some pretty good scratches and dents in a car," says Joe Miller, police chief in Palos Park, Ill., where cart-and-car incidents are reported at least once every two weeks. Even more serious, people leave children unattended in carts: In 1996, the last year for which the Consumer Product Safety Commission has precise figures, about 16,000 children were hurt in falls from carts. Two-thirds were treated for head injuries. The grocery industry responded by installing little seat belts.

The retailer who offers a cart must, at times, deal with ugly stereotypes. Kohl's Corp., a fast-growing clothing chain based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., used carts and wanted to sell the Dockers brand of casual clothes made by Levi Strauss & Co. Not in those carts you don't, came the reply from Levi Strauss, according to Susan Maher, co-owner of Central Specialties Ltd., Cary, Ill.


No need to apologize for the look of a shopping cart, says Patrick Whitney, director of the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He says carts are a beautiful example of form following function. "They look like what they do, and that's a good thing," he says. If anything, Mr. Whitney would like to see more function; he suggests a drop side, like on a baby's crib, so that merchandise could more easily be unloaded onto checkout conveyors, counters and into cars.

The boom in discount retailing makes for good times in the cart business. Rehrig International Inc., Richmond, Va., makes plastic carts and says sales have doubled in the past four years to more than 500,000 carts a year. Unarco Industries Inc., a unit of Chicago conglomerate Marmon Group, controlled by the Pritzker family, sells about 600,000 carts a year.

Unarco is the successor to Folding Carrier Co., the cart company founded by the shopping-cart inventor, Mr. Goldman. He dreamed up his invention after noticing that his grocery customers headed to the cashier as soon as their handbasket was full. One night in the office, his eyes fell upon a folding chair. Add wheels and a basket, he thought. It wasn't quite that easy: The first prototype folded up rolling over a matchstick and lost its wheels when it hit a bump.

But Mr. Goldman kept on, and in 1937 advertised the carts in newspapers: "Basket juggling is a lost art at your Standard Food Stores." One of his early models is enshrined at the Smithsonian Institution. And a 1978 biography, by Terry Wilson, seemed to know something about the future of retailing. Its title: "The Cart That Changed the World."

original here


March 8, 2000

Police officer guilty of assault in shopping cart dispute

BY LOU MISSELHORN, The Virginian-Pilot Copyright 2000, Landmark Communications Inc.

CHESAPEAKE -- A Chesapeake police sergeant has been convicted of striking a woman in the face because she wouldn't give up her shopping cart in a busy supermarket parking lot, according to court records.

The officer, Sgt. Pamela S. Kennedy, has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation, police spokeswoman Cheryl Sitler said.

Sharon Pacheco, 50, sustained a black eye and a bruised face and said she still suffers headaches and nosebleeds stemming from the Jan. 22 assault at the Farm Fresh supermarket on Cedar Road.


After the testimony of two eyewitnesses, General District Court Judge Robert Simpson Jr. on Feb. 28 threw out the charge against Pacheco and found Kennedy guilty of misdemeanor assault. He ordered her to pay a $350 fine and attend an anger management course.


In a sworn criminal complaint, Pacheco said Kennedy asked to use the cart after Pacheco had promised to give it to someone else. When Pacheco refused, Kennedy took the cart, with Pacheco's groceries still in it. This led to a tugging match between the two women.

``Next I knew, I felt her hit me in the face with such force I was knocked onto the ground and the cart fell also,'' Pacheco wrote.

She said Kennedy took the cart but could not be found after she and eyewitnesses contacted the store manager.


Vegetarian Times April, 1997

Timeless secrets for lasting weight loss

Author/s: Ronna Kabatznick


The Buddha made a crucial distinction between the suffering you experience because of the inevitability of change and the suffering we create for ourselves because we want things to be different than they are. When you forget that everything changes, you set up a struggle that creates suffering. You're not accepting what's really going on -- you're struggling against. You want things to be different than they actually are. When there is a struggle, there's suffering.

Let's say you hate to go grocery shopping. The checkout lines are long, the items you want are rarely available and the aisles are narrow and crowded. All in all, it's a frustrating and maddening experience. Where is the suffering? It comes from your response to shopping, not from the experience of it. Shopping is just a series of actions involving pushing a shopping cart, pulling items from shelves, lifting things from bins, moving in certain directions, etc. You may not be able to choose whether or not to shop, but you can choose your reaction to it. The hate and frustration you feel are optional, not required.

continued here

Google Links:

USATODAY.com - Road rage flares in shopping-cart aisles 

Road rage flares in shopping-cart aisles ... When I got to the checkout line the woman who felt insulted was in front of me. ...

Digg - Wait in the self-check line? Thatís so last month 

You still have to go to the front and pay at the self check-out lines .... is akin to a Kafka-esque moment of rage against fate and the universe - why me? ...

Dave's Daily - Strange News - Checkout Stand Rage Results In Fight 

LOWELL, Massachusetts -- Checkout rage has officially reached new levels. ... woman faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of shopping cart rage. ...

Why NOT Road Rage? 

Aside from the fact that a shopping cart ó even an overloaded shopping cart ... Why is it totally unacceptable to cut into line at a supermarket check stand ...

Letter to the Editor A Holiday Salute to a Famous Economist Sunday ... 

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
be in a rage, a shopping cart or a. check-out line can do just fine. Some. people seem to think that by pushing. their shopping cart into your butt, ...

Crystal Wergin's Content Producer Page - Associated Content 

How I Survived Shopping Cart Rage in the Grocery Store Parking Lot ... you are mentally adept enough to use the self-checkout line at the grocery store. ...

Carbonboy's Blog Oct 21, 2002 

Before I critique the shopping cart design, a little sidebar somewhat related ... So why is it when I approach every check-out line there is always a sloppy ...

Yahoo! Answers - What annoys you the most? 

-I hate it when people are too lazy to put a shopping cart in it's designated area .... desk if you have a question--don't do it in the checkout line, etc. ...

The Cynic's Sanctuary 

Meanwhile, we watch a shopper in one of the Pampers lanes -- a shopper who got on line precisely when we did -- pass through the checkout, pay the cashier, ...

Blog details for Citizen Vancouver - Blog Toplist 

Shopping cart rage 2007-03-01 22:59:02 With all the shopping Iíve been doing lately, .... ď Check out more of his work here. More About: Eyes ...


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