Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Slitherers

On Sunday I accompanied my daughter and her children to Costco (a membership only warehouse-style store) on Morena Boulevard in San Diego.  This was the only day my daughter had free.  The parking lot is always crowded and that day was no exception.  As my daughter waited for a shopper placing their purchases in the car, a driver (about 30 to 40 years old) in a white car passed her and made a u-turn in the aisle.  As the first person was backing out of the parking spot, the person in the white car slithered into the now empty spot.  As my perturbed daughter now drove on around the lot looking for another spot, we found ourselves on line behind some others also waiting to park.  Then, we saw the same occurrence we personally experienced.  A man (looked to be in his 30's) passed others, made a u-turn and slithered into the spot just vacated, robbing the person who had been patiently waiting for that opening.  We just nodded to each other as we agreed, "This is a ME society."

When I've accompanied any of my young grandchildren on a shopping trip, I've always told them that I had to be on the outside nearest passing traffic because the people, speeding by, seemingly oblivious to the safety of pedestrians, could see me.  I jokingly tell the children it's because I am larger and taller than them (an obvious statement that is received with smiles).  This practice is especially needed in the Costco parking lot as people speed down the aisles just to get a spot.

Inside the store, Costco has employees who provide tasting of the food products they sell.  The children love this.  My daughter likes this practice because she can observe if the children like a product before she buys it.  The children politely waited for the person putting food on the tray.  My daughter told me that when the employee put food on the tray, adults just reached down over the children's heads and took all the samples.

Costco seems to attract shoppers who appear affluent.  Does privilege extend to incivility?  Does being fortunate and having more money automatically determine that you can act anyway you like to the detriment and inconvenience of all others?  

While this is an age-old problem, it is quite noticeable at this store.  I suspect that what we saw and experienced is more a product of "new money" and lack of education in the way of discipline and respect of others.  Or, maybe it is just selfishness....  We've shopped at stores in LaJolla, Cardiff and Encinitas, which really are affluent communities, and have not experienced this.

As we were leaving, my daughter made the observation that the Costco workers were much nicer than their customers. While Costco is not responsible for the actions of their customers, they could provide a live person to monitor their parking lot on weekends and especially busy times.  Thankfully, the people who lost their parking spot to the "slitherers" did not lose their patience and confront these slimy characters, but just moved on.

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