I have had this disorder in varying degrees my entire grocery shopping career. And right now I am at a high point. Or maybe that's a low point. I guess it depends on who you're askin'.
I like to put things on the checkout belt in categories. This habit became more ingrained when I lived in the mountains and needed to put all of my cold things in a cooler for the half-hour drive home. One would think that a bagger would do that automatically. Uhhhh, no. One might then think that if a customer specifically asked that all of her cold things be put together, that they could manage it. Wrong again. I always had to look through my bags to take out the stragglers. And if I'd asked, I would become extremely irritated at the necessity of that obnoxious, time consuming task. So I stopped asking and became extra diligent about my categories.
Boxed items all are put on the belt together. Then meats. Freezer, refrigerated, and deli items. Cans and jars. Any bottled juices. Baking goods. Fresh produce. Breads. That's pretty much it. I do group non-grocery items together after the food items.
This really doesn't take as long as it may seem it would. That's why the boxes tend to go on first. Those are bulky, easy to spot. Once they're out of the cart, it's easy to sort the rest. A lot of it is already grouped in my cart that way, just because of how the aisles are arranged.
I never thought that anyone noticed this. Maybe they haven't in the past. But the last time I went grocery shopping, the cashier, who was also bagging, commented on my anal behavior (her words). Rather than criticizing, she was thanking me. It was so much easier to bag that way, she said. I told her she was welcome and felt gratified. I instantly realized that any hope I had at rehabilitation was just dashed. Reinforcement like that will sustain my OCCD for quite a while.
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