Please keep distance!

About personal space

It happened to me again. Shopping in Germany became an unpleasant experience. As I was waiting in a checkout line this Monday, a woman came and joined the line after me. There are no shopping baskets in a local Kaufland, and I did not have a coin to unlock a shopping cart, so I carried my purchases in a plastic bag I held in my hand. As I shop with a plastic bag instead of a shopping trolley, very often, people behind me in a checkout line do not notice that I have like 5 kg in my hand and try to put their purchases before me as soon as we approach a conveyor belt.

Not only the woman behind me assumed I stood there without having any groceries, but she also kept placing her bag full of food products on the floor next to me. Moreover, she stood so close to me that I could feel her breath down my neck! Oh God, I really wish I was not so shy and told her to move back!

Finally, as I started to get items from my plastic bag, she realized she put her bag on the conveyor belt too early . At the same time, she did not move away. As soon as I emptied my bag, she started emptying hers too. My handbag that was on my shoulder and it literally touched that woman! I wished I could move away from her, but as I did my small steps forward, she immediately moved after me! Even if I went all the way to a person in front of me (which made no sense, because I wanted to keep my distance on both sides) she would come as close to me as possible.

As it was my turn to pay, she stood next to me. Only when she saw I was paying with my debit card, she stepped back. Luckily, in Kaufland,you can pay without entering your PIN, so I did not feel uncomfortable about her seeing me paying. I could not wait to leave the store! I wanted to get some fresh air.

My question is: do you really think a line will move faster if you stay less than 20 centimeters away from a person in front of you? Does pushing another person make you feel better or bring you some type of joy? Don’t you think that it takes you less than a second to step toward a cashier when it is your turn to pay?

Please think of others and keep some distance! If you have no problem with the lack of personal space, I do! I do not know you, I do not want my bag to touch you or, better to say, you to touch my bag. 🙂

If I did not put my bag in between that woman and me she could come even closer!

If you agree with the classification giving on Wikipedia, she was in my intimate space! I do feel awful about it. We were not in Tokyo or New York on a busy subway. If that was the case, I would understand. But, I do not understand why people get so close to me in an empty supermarket at 13.00 on Monday. Please stop doing it. I do not want to feel a stranger so close to me. Please, please respect a personal space of another person even if you do not respect yours!

In the past, I was told about an American man who cried after he got off a crowded bus in Russia. That’s how bad he felt about being cramped! Yesterday I understood that man. It took me a while to get rid of an unpleasant feeling. I noticed that people do not keep much of a distance in a checkout line in Germany, but yesterday was the last straw.

Is that me only or do you feel the same way about someone you do not know coming too close to you? 🙂



4 thoughts on “Please keep distance!

  1. Ugh. I come from America, and we often take for granted that our country is the size of a continent. Because of this, everything is bigger. This manifests in the sizes of grocery store aisles, sidewalks, roads, breakdown lanes etc. It also manifests in the space we give one other. The general rule is if someone’s breath is making your hair move, they’re too close. Heck, if you can extend your forearm and make contact with the other person’s chest, they’re standing too close. We consider New York, five hours away, to be “fairly close,” and we’ll drive two hours to visit family for an afternoon. But Europe seems to interpret space in smaller dimensions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still believe that it depends on a personality. I noticed that I have never had such a problem in Finland, which is also a small European country. Maybe that’s just because I did not stay in Finland that long.:) I think it does not matter where you are from, it is just a common sense to me that when the supermarket is empty, there is no reason for you to stay so close to a stranger. Everyone can enjoy some space.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience at the check out line. I came across your website when I read It surprised me that some Germans stand very close to the person in front in a line at grocery stores. In the U.S., where I live, we generally do not have that problem. Your blog is timely because I will be visiting Munich in about a month. Hope I will not have any bad experience in grocery stores there. BTW your blogs on the German language are very helpful.


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