Grocery store etiquette is a delicate thing, and we all wish to abide by the unspoken social codes that prevent our supermarkets from unraveling into a landscape of pure chaos. We don’t want to pressure other shoppers with the sense that we’re waiting for them to get the fuck out of the way. So follow these tips to convincingly pretend you’re looking at frozen peas when someone is standing in front of the ice cream section.
Keep your distance.
The last thing you’d want is for the person standing motionless in front of the ice cream section to suspect they’re being waited on. Would you walk right up to someone standing in front of a small painting at a museum and gaze upon it by their side? Some people would, and those people suck. So keep your distance, and stare intently at the frozen peas you would absolutely never buy with the conviction of the morally righteous. Your time will come to look at ice cream, but not yet.
Play the part.
It can be difficult to convincingly look at frozen vegetables when you know in your heart you’d never do so save extreme circumstances, such as waiting to see how much of Ben & Jerry’s oeuvre is available at this Pioneer. Get into it by creating a character with a rich interior life that includes a love of frozen peas, broccoli, and even that weird diced broccoli-carrot mix. Who are they? What motivates them? Hopefully by the time you come up with these answers the ice cream real estate monopolizer will have made their choice, and you can drop the psychologically traumatizing exercise of getting inside a frozen carrot lover’s head.
Try the deep lean?
More advanced territory, but if the first two approaches don’t cut it, you may have to get proactive and try the deep lean. This involves inserting your head into the frozen pea section and attempting to peer into the ice cream section from inside the industrial freezer. It’s risky, it’s dangerous, it’s discouraged by employees, but it might all you’ve got. If the ice cream peruser does notice you pulling this move, they’ll likely feel unnerved by the Lynchian horror of your slender neck wrapping around the thin metal column and just grab some popsicles and bounce. Not a bad result!
So try these grocery store hacks next time you’re waiting your turn to stare at the ice cream section for a few minutes before getting whatever has the most cookie dough in it. Bon appétit!