Grocery Cart Etiquette


Whenever I hear a story about evil people on food stamps buying junk food, I think to myself “That’s none of your nosy business.” Maybe the judgment isn’t hostile; maybe it’s pitying. Maybe someone is getting their poverty porn rocks off feeling so sad about the poor nutrition of others.

That person in front of you in line buying nothing but ice cream and chips might be planning a party, or nursing a broken heart, or have a fridge full of healthy food at home. Or maybe they’ve decided to pig out on junk food. Maybe they have an eating disorder or maybe they’re going through chemo and picking foods they think they can keep down.

Whatever their reason,  it’s none of your business.  No stranger owes you a healthy diet or lifestyle.  They don’t owe you an excuse or explanation.  And they certainly don’t owe you an opportunity to judge them.

If you are going to snoop and you are going to judge, at least do the strangers you spied on the courtesy of keeping your judgement to yourself.  Don’t tell them what you think of their food selection and don’t post the story online.

Your opinions of strangers based on the incomplete data of their shopping cart does not contain valuable insight or new understanding of poverty,  obesity,  or habits. Your opinions are not truths or facts or data points. They are judgments, formed more by your preexisting biases than the contents of their cart.

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