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Fanfare for the Common Man: Society’s Dregs

You read the headline.

If this is you – and it is because we’ve all done it at one time or another in our lives, even me – I hope this offends you enough to do something about it, especially in this COVID-19 world.

Dan Brown

You’ll see what I mean as we move on through this.

At the grocery story this morning between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m.

The parking lot is almost empty, but I see a woman, driving a nice SUV, one of the big ones, pull into the handicapped parking space.

The FIRST parking space.

The second parking space on this row was occupied.

The third and fourth were not.

Parking in the third, non-handicapped space would have cost her maybe 10 total steps more in and out and about 30 seconds of her morning. This would not have made her late for work. She came out of the supermarket ahead of me and when she finished unloading her groceries, she put her cart in that striped area in the handicapped space in front of her, considerate that it wouldn’t roll. Then, climbed into that giant SUV and left.

She is a dreg to society.

I read an Op Ed piece somewhere over this past COVID year, where the writer defined what he thought was a waste on society. Where, if this was a country that hauled such people off to work camps like the old Soviet Union and Eastern bloc nations, or just took them out to the desert and left them, in other places around the globe, this would be the benchmark on which consideration for work camps and desert abandonment would begin and end.

He said, and yes, I’m paraphrasing: “If you can’t take the time, or the effort, to return your grocery cart to the cart coral, wherever it might be located, you are not a contributing member of society. You are a waste. A dreg.”

That criteria would erase just about all our population here.

And I’d be first in line.

You don’t even have to raise your hand to tell me you’ve done this. I would be more apt to ask the question “Who hasn’t done this?” to save some time.

If you haven’t. It’s because of one of three things.

1. You’re flat-out lying.

2. You don’t remember.

3. Or you are Jesus.

I stand up and applaud you if you truly have never done this, but then suggest you call the church, the Pope, or somebody in authority to let them know you’re back.

If this is the case, even for those of us who are flat-out lying or don’t remember, I have created additional instances to decide if we are one of society’s dregs, and you notice I include myself in this, so there is no high-and-mighty preaching being done here on my part.

In today’s world, especially in the midst of a pandemic, it’s important we exhibit a modicum of consideration for our fellow human beings.

Here we go.

In fact, I’m going borrow Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if…” trademark saying when I do this.

In my case, it’s – “You might be a dreg of society if…”

• You didn’t return items in the grocery story you decided not to buy from the spot in the aisle from which you selected it. Guilty.

• And you can be considered waste-of-skin worthy if you ever slid a package of boneless chicken breasts, produce or something else from frozen foods that might either melt or spoil or make a nasty mess for stockers behind the Capn Crunch box in the cereal aisle. Sadly, guilty as well.

• You went through the “10 Items or Less” aisle with more than 10 items. Guilty. Now, 11 or 12 items might get you a pass. So might several items that are the same, like cat food or soft-drink 12 packs, if they don’t require individual scanning. But I’ve seen people with 20-25 items block up a 10 Item or Less aisle and not even bat an eyelash. Not guilty here. I’ve never done it unless invited by the cashier to come ahead. I’m usually standing behind that person with one item in hand.

• Okay, you are NOT a dreg on society, if while standing behind that offending customer in the 10-item-or-less checkout lane, you start talking about the offender to the person standing behind you, or everybody standing behind you, in a voice that is meant to be a whisper, but spoken loudly enough for all to hear, especially the person standing in front of you in line. And yes, I am definitely guilty of this. I call this act “The Me-Maw Commentary” as my grandmother – rest her soul – was so guilty of this. Usually this happened while I stood in line with her.

• You leave your buggy parked in the middle of an aisle while you walk to the other end of the aisle to select that one thing you forgot to pick up rather than make a grocery cart U-turn – and these carts of capable of making a 180-degree about face. Not guilty. I observe most all acts of grocery store etiquette.

• Leaving the grocery store now, last thing. You leave whatever garbage you had in your car in the grocery cart. Specifically empty drink cups or the spent grocery list. Sadly, guilty again, but not often as usually I forget to bring my grocery list to the store with me when my wife specifically made one for me, sectioned into what aisle I would use to select said items so I wouldn’t forget anything because I am always forgetting something. GUILTY. GUILTY. GUILTY. The three guilty proclamations would apply to just about every man on the planet, except for the three occasions I outlined at the beginning of this diatribe. Just two more, and I’m done. Promise.

• (And this applies to Walmart customers only). You do not observe parking lot etiquette by done one of these three, wait four, things.

1. Not observe lane and parking lot markings as you cut across the parking lot at a diagonal slash to get that single open space all the way on the other side of the parking lot close to the front.

1A. You weave through the one single sparking space where you weave through the parking lot at a snail’s pace as if you are navigating through Pan’s Labyrinth.

2. You leave half your big honkin’ truck extended into the driving lane because you have to drive the biggest honkin’ pickup truck ever made.

3. You take up two lanes when you park because… A: you drive an expensive Porsche and we have to respect your Porsche by not parking our 2002 Honda CRV anywhere near it because we might ding the front fender, Or… Your big honkin’ truck is too big for one parking space. Not Guilty. Though, I am guilty of placing a grocery cart to touch their door handle, so they think someone pushed the cart into their beloved vehicle. Oh, and a big honkin’ truck is any pickup truck that requires a ladder to enter. The only time I’ve taken up more than one parking space would be due to poor parking skills.

4. You park in the fire lane and leave because you’re just getting one item from the store, or you park in the fire lane and stay in your car because your spouse is getting just one thing from the store, that in reality is five or six things.

* You order lunch for the office or dinner for the entire family, including all six kids, grandparents, and a few aunts and uncles FROM THE DRIVE-THRU. Not guilty. And those guilty? I want to go all medieval on them. The drive-thru is for no more than four orders. Mom, dad and the two kids.

There are more I’m sure.

Write me and let me know if I missed anything.

But I’ll have to catch y’all later as I am sitting here in the throne room as I write this and someone failed to leave a fresh roll of throne room paper when they finished.

Oh wait.

That would be me.

Dan Brown writes as D.P. Brown because of the other Dan Brown. Dan has published 13 novels since 2013. His books can be found on For signed copies, questions and other comments, email Dan is also on Facebook and his books can be found under the D.P. Brown page.