Recently, I spoke with a fellow member of the community, and we got to talking our experiences of getting groceries or shopping at Walmart in small-town Minnesota. A large portion of the area population typically goes grocery shopping at the usual times – during lunch breaks, after work or a during the weekends.

Often during these shopping excursions we bump into fellow friends, family, co-workers and members of the community, and in true Minnesota fashion we chit-chat about everything from the weather to catching up on the latest gossip.

Recently, I had to stop by Tersteeg’s to pick up some orange juice. As I turned a corner to head to check out I ran into an old co-worker who mentioned that she never sees me around town. I explained to her my shopping routine and how I rarely visit stores during “peak” times such as 5 p.m. and weekends.

I have worked retail and do my best to avoid the masses. When I do visit a store I’m very methodical by having a plan in place, and I go from point A to B, to C – exiting as quickly as possible.

My friend and I in true small-town Minnesota fashion had a conversation catching up in the middle of Tersteeg’s. I have found in small-town Minnesota that one can often divulge their latest gossip or drama in the middle of a store for all to potentially hear.

I’ve overheard many shoppers discussing everything from family and work complaints, to the ending of relationships and marriages, all while standing in Aisle 5 of the local store.

I often wonder. Do these people notice or even contemplate that others can hear their discussions? I’m not bothered by the conversations, but I just know I have no desire to air my personal life while in Aisle 5.

Then again, in rural Minnesota is this part of our culture? With so few venues for us to visit locally, coupled with a small community, we are most likely to run into people we know while shopping or running errands. I have no qualms about this part of our culture. It’s just an observation.

I’m very much a homebody, and you will most likely never see me shopping, dining or running errands during the typical times. My take away from this topic is always to remember that just because you don’t see anyone, that doesn’t mean anyone isn’t listening.

Also, if you see me in Aisle 5 I’m most likely on a mission from point A to point B and oblivious to the people around me. I’m not avoiding anyone, I just want to complete my task and get home to change into clothes that I would never wear outside of the house. Carry on fellow Minnesotans.

Hopefully I will run into you during the beautiful upcoming spring weather.