There are few situations in which I feel less certain about how to proceed than when dealing with that divider bar that goes between my groceries and those of either the person behind me or ahead of me in line.
I am not a paranoid person by nature, but I’ve been on the wrong side of every possible handling of this potentially rude little wand, and I’m just weary at and wary of the prospect of having to make the decisions it might require of me.
People have their guards set so high these days. I recall placing it behind the items of the person in front of me–I only do this for others, as I am certainly agile-minded enough to know where their things end and mine begin–and getting that, “Oh, don’t worry; we’ll keep everything orderly enough that you won’t mistakenly have to pay for any of my stuff” look. I also recall putting it behind my things, so the next person can begin to empty his or her cart and getting that, “You can relax, man; I’m not going to try to gank any of your stuff” look.
I’ve also skipped putting the thing there and just started placing my things on the conveyor–when the only one is up near the cashier and I can’t get it without it being a thing–with a few inches to divide my things from the person in front of me. This has led at least one person to grab it and place it between our things with an “Ob, no, buddy; ain’t no putting your things up there without the divider. I know how you people are” look. You can relax, bro; I don’t even have foot fungus.
Am I being paranoid? I’d be interested to know if other people get these impressions.
And it’s like I said: I’m perfectly capable of keeping an eye on what is mine, when it’s all right there on the conveyor in front of me. I’m not going to have a lapse in judgment or memory and gain the certainty that your Peterbilt hat or nipple cream are mine.
Furthermore, I don’t think it’s too much to expect that the adults I shop alongside be able to do the same. So, why don’t we just get rid of those little dividers and manage those situations ourselves; who knows, working together to manage such a small issue might help us when we need to come together to solve bigger problems and dissolve larger barriers.