Just Behave

Just Behave: Stop This Basket Case

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.

BY June 12, 2018


I was in a checkout line at the grocery store and the person in front of me, in the 10 items-or-less lane, clearly had more than 10 items in her basket. I was incredibly annoyed. I know it would have been rude of me to say something, but don’t you think the checkout clerk should have mentioned it to her? There was a long line, and I honestly think she had close to 25 items. — Cindy, Fort Myers

Dear Cindy,

Well, this is the express line, and someone should express himself/herself on this rude and intrusive behavior. If the checkout clerk notices early enough, he or she should advise the customer to switch to an appropriate line. If not, you may need to get the manager to intervene. That may take a little longer, but shouldn’t justice be served here? Worst case scenario: Perhaps the checkout clerk should ring up the first 10 items only. That’s just desserts to me.


I’m on one of those dating websites and I see that someone who lives in my neighborhood is also on the site. I’d like to ask her out, but I don’t want to stalk her. Is there a polite way to ask her out without going through the website? — Matthew, Bonita Springs

Dear Matthew,

Do you have a dog (man’s best friend and, perhaps, wingman)? That could be an icebreaker on a walk through the neighborhood. And in conversation, you might simply ask if she would like to meet for coffee or join you for a walk, with or without your canine. I like that you know better than to stalk her. Failing a dog or the nerve to strike up a conversation on the street, maybe you should use the website. You’re both already there, and it’s a good way to get to know someone. Happy trails through cyberspace and the neighborhood.


I said something the other day that I’m worried may have upset my friend. I wasn’t thinking and said, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” My friend’s son is gay. I think being gay is a sin. She doesn’t. We were with a group of friends having lunch, and I wasn’t thinking. Should I apologize to her? Or just let it go? I’ve always loved her son, and I want everyone to be happy. I feel I’ve offended her. What should I do? — Samantha, Bonita Springs

Look, we’re all sinners and we all make mistakes. I wouldn’t bring it up. I’d let her know, in other ways, that you love her son. That’s really what’s most important. Support her. Support him. Love conquers all.


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