As some of you may recall, last week my column (inspired by a discussion on this blog) was about etiquette rules. One of those rules concerned when it is OK to leave your shopping cart in the checkout line to go get an item you forgot. Basically I said this was acceptable only if (1) It was only one item; (2) You knew exactly where it was; and (3) You apologized to the people behind you.
So anyway, yesterday I was at my local Publix supermarket, and I got to the checkout line, and when the clerk rang up my package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs, she told me I was entitled to another package, free. Since there was a woman behind me in the line, and since people often recognize me at this supermarket, and since I didn't really need a second package, and above all since I had just written a column about not inconveniencing people behind you in lines, I said thanks, but I was fine with just the one package. But the clerk was insistent: She pointed out that I would be back before she was done ringing up my order. I still declined, but then the woman behind me also basically demanded that I go get my free hot dogs, insisting that she didn't mind.
So I sprinted to the hot-dog section, at the far end of the store, and I sprinted back, and when I got there, (1) the cashier had finished ringing me up, and (2) there were suddenly, out of nowhere, like eight new people waiting in the line, none of whom had witnessed the earlier scene in which I was basically coerced into going back for the hot dogs. I had to kind of edge past them all in an extremely self-conscious manner.
I am writing this only in case you were one of those eight people: Sorry.