OPINION: Everyone’s not shopping in the same direction

They would appear to be rather self-explanatory, but I’m starting to think there must be more to those arrows that have popped up on the floors of supermarkets and other stores in recent weeks.

There are no signs that explicitly direct customers to “Walk Only in the Direction of the Arrows,” but I assume, since I’ve graduated pre-school, that’s what management had in mind when they put them in place. It’s a low-tech way to manage traffic flow as we attempt to navigate our way through the new normal brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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As simple as this approach appears, there’s obviously something more to it as I’ve encountered quite a few people who have clearly been given exemptions from adhering to the arrows, although I’m not sure whether these have come from store management or they’re more of a self-bestowed right.

It’s not always easy to ascertain why certain folks have been granted special privileges, but it seems, at least from my observations, wearing a mask can pretty much give you full run of the place, to the point where I think you’re even entitled to stand on my shoulders to get that bag of Doritos off the top shelf. To add to the confusion, many mask wearers have not been granted powers, while some of the mask-less among us have been exempted from following the arrows. It can all be quite perplexing.

It appears exceptions have been granted to those who are only after one item in the aisle, particularly if that item is near the end of said aisle, or if the item is a really good deal or in short supply. From what I can gather, you also don’t have to observe the arrows if you enter an aisle when it’s empty, although if you subsequently encounter someone coming the correct direction you are compelled to stare blankly at them.

If you’re so deep in concentration that you must furrow your brow in search of an elusive item, then it stands to reason you can’t also be expected to adhere to the arrows, while those who walk backwards down an aisle, going in the wrong direction but facing the right way, have obviously found a creative loophole.

It’s a whole new world in the grocery store these days where the eyes of fellow shoppers are always on you, and not just because you have too many items for the express checkout.

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