If you wish to be refined
as you stand in the checkout line
always grab one of those bars
that separates your food from thars.
Nothing makes people so edgy
as mixing with a stranger’s veggies.
Do not allow your pecan pies
to slip the line and socialize
with the next person’s frozen peas.
Much better have some rare disease
than infringe on someone’s space.
Keep your produce in its place.
Isolate your own bananers
if you wish to please Miss Manners.
Only the ruffian commingles
his corn chips with another’s Pringles.
True, that while in the aisles
all that food was stacked in piles,
crammed together on the shelf.
But in line, keep it to yourself
and etiquette shan’t be demeaned.
Keep your foodstuffs quarantined.
Oh, never let your ice cream melt
and leak on the conveyor belt,
and always try to avoid
slowing the line for a tabloid.
But the most heinous check-out sin
is forgetting to fence in
your food with those little rods.
This offends the grocery gods.
Take it from your local grocer.
No other grocery crime is grosser.
(This was my entry for a contest sponsored by the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs. It won 1st place, I’m guessing because people can relate to those little rods!)