I've shopped at Walmart stores in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Texas, Iowa, and now Missouri. Yet nowhere, except at the Walmarts in Missouri have I experienced this every time I go shopping.

That is, people camping out in the middle of an aisle and just catching up with each other. I mean families having a catch-up with each other right there in the middle of the cereal aisle. Sometimes I'll run into this not only in the cereal aisle, but by the meat cases, or the soda aisle. If it bugs me, I bet it bugs a lot of other people too.

Maybe it's because Sedalia and Warrensburg are small towns. Maybe it happens because in smaller communities a lot of people know each other. I can't tell you how many times I've run into someone I know at Walmart. That happens to me here, a lot more than it has in other towns I lived. So I do understand how tempting it can be to get into a conversation with someone you haven't seen in a while.

The problem is if you just stop in the middle of the aisle and start chatting away with your carts three-quarters full, your spouses hanging out, and your kids swinging off of your cart, or playing and poking at each other you make it difficult for the rest of us who'd like to get down the aisle, get what we need, and move on with our shopping.

I'm not saying don't catch up with people, or don't visit with each other at the store. If you want to do that fine. Just be aware of your surroundings and don't block the aisles. I don't want to have to reach around your cart and your kids to get my Cheerios or my Sam's Choice Cola Zero or that package of Oscar Mayer weiners.

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I don't want to have to try to navigate my cart around your spouse, your friend, your friend's spouse, two carts, and three kids.

Personally, I try to avoid this whole mess by using Walmart's grocery pick-up every chance I get. It's really spoiled me when it comes to grocery shopping. Yet there are times I do have to shop inside. So do us all a favor while you visit. Try and find a spot that's not in the middle of an aisle, or blocking one of the meat cases. I'd avoid blocking the cereal and snack aisle at all costs too.

Your fellow shoppers thank you, as does this cranky dude trying to get everything on his shopping list.

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