When we find our refrigerators suddenly barren, we all have to take our lives into our hands and brave the grocery store parking lot, deal with infants pooping in their diaper where your produce will soon be, and spend 15 years of your life waiting in line at the checkout. Every time I go grocery shopping, I experience things that make it feel like the first time… only it more often induces rage than nostalgia.

The Cart Caravan
The same highway driving rules apply to cart driving in the grocery store: yield coming out of the aisle, pedestrians have the right of way, and double parking makes you a selfish human being who wants to watch the world decay around you. Some people take the cart driving a little too seriously. I’m glad you’re able to turn your cart on a dime to parallel park next to the Captain Crunch…that I was standing in front of because I was looking at it. Thanks a lot.

Then the same elderly people that almost killed you in the parking lot come into the store, hunch over a cart, and seek you out to finish the job. Let’s not forget the moms competing in some secret competition to find out how many children they can fit in one shopping cart. I don’t think everyone should be allowed cart privileges.

The Deli
The lunchmeat counter—where dreams go to die. I’ve come to the conclusion all old ladies eat is lunchmeat. Not only is this all they eat, but they eat different brands/flavors of the same animal. I’m always stuck behind some lady getting ½ pound of brown sugar ham, 2lbs. of honey ham not too thin, 2lbs. or black forest ham, 5lbs. of green eggs & ham… Who needs this many varieties of ham???

The Check Out Experience
Like being in a long line isn’t bad enough, I’m always surrounded by people with a strange combination of items. For example: air freshener, carpet cleaner, and marshmallows. Okay, so there’s some kind of disgusting stain at home that’s stinking up your house…but you’re craving…marshmallows? Allow me to introduce you to the Grocery Buffer Rule. For every unusual/embarrassing item you have in your cart (cold sore medication, tampons, enema kit, outfit for your decorative front porch goose, etc.) you must also buy a certain appropriate amount of mundane items (batteries, gum, magazines, cereal, etc.) to blend it into your groceries so you don’t look like a freak. You can’t just buy two cleaning products and marshmallows. You’re not abiding by the Grocery Buffer Rule.

I’m also always behind some jerk that slaps down that little divider between my groceries and theirs like I have some kind of disease. It’s always when I’m buying innocent things, too, like just toothpaste or crackers and milk. It’s never anti-fungal cream or anything deserving of that kind of divider disdain. Even if it was… seriously? It’s not like I’m just going to stand idly by and let the cashier group my groceries with yours. I’m not a barbarian.

Also, why is there always someone talking to me while I’m waiting? No worthwhile conversation can happen in the checkout line. One time a man said to me, “I’ve never eaten this brand of cookies before, have you?” “No.” …Conversation adjourned.

More than anything else, I hate when fellow grocery shoppers take their own receipt before it’s given to them. I understand the printer is within our reach, but taking your receipt prematurely is the biggest faux pas a grocery shopper could make. I think the receipt granting (for the clerk) is the climax of the whole interaction. When you take that receipt yourself, you’re ruining the order of the grocery universe.

15 Items or Less
I think the cashier they put at the 15 items or less line should be a huge intimidating guy in the leather jacket. If there was some buff guy working that checkout, no one would abuse the 15 items or less rule, because they’d be afraid. I can forgive 16 items, maybe even 17, but when you get in line with a full  cart, you’re openly flouting the rules. There should be some kind of penalty for this. A labor fee added on at the register or something.

Navigating the grocery store scene can be pretty dicey. What are your grocery store gripes?

24 thoughts on “Grocery Store Gripes

  1. The maximum number of items bears further discussion. Of course, I completely agree. So someone standing in front of me has at least five more items than is allowed. This is not so bad because it’s typically the shortest line that I go to. What gets me is when she says, “Ohhhhhhh…” in response to someone pointing out that she is in the 15 items or less line, like she had no idea. Another point that deserves recognition is when a fresh line is opened up, and the three people behind you scramble toward it like zero fighters to a freshly minted American carrier. Ok, awkward reference, but it works.

    1. I hate when people pretend they didn’t notice! Everyone else in that line has the few bare essentials they need, but here comes some person with the entire snack aisle in their cart. I’ve even seen someone try to argue this point. Like they had five bottles of Pepsi, and they were trying to argue those five bottles were all one item because they’re all the same thing. Sorry, that’s not how this works. If it has its own barcode, it counts as an individual item.

      Thank you for bringing up the new line opening. I knew I’d forget something. There’s literally always those people behind you, like you said. I love when you actually semi-confront them, and they know they’re caught so they sheepishly ask, “Oh… Were you going to go over there?” “Why yes, seeing as I’M NEXT IN LINE.”

  2. LOL @ “I think the cashier they put at the 15 items or less line should be a huge intimidating guy in the leather jacket. If there was some buff guy working that checkout, no one would abuse the 15 items or less rule, because you’d be afraid.”

    Grocery checkouts are enormously annoying. I recommend ordering everything in advance online and then just swinging by to pick it up (or better, getting your fella to do the picking up).

  3. Oh my…I needed to read this today. Especially this morning as I am having a bad day. THANKS! So hilarious. You type the way I enjoy to do… just let it fly ! Grocery stores … or any store… I hate them all. Now that my schedule is SO tight with work, volunteer jobs and working out at the gym, I end up at the grocery store on Saturdays. My ideal time to shop is 7 am in the morning, not 10 am on a stickin’ Saturday!

    People are just RUDE in general and on weekends they come out of some “hole” and decide to parade themselves into stores and make as many people miserable as they possibly can with one visit. They show up in their PJ’s as though they have nothing else to wear. Now I honestly don’t mind the old lady who needs help getting something off a higher shelf. I don’t even minding helping someone price compare… but if I need something, your in my way and I say “excuse me”…it is polite to MOVE, not stand there for five more minutes while I watch you read every label !!
    that’s just ONE of my beefs. This is your blog..so I will spare you my other thoughts. HA HA.. 🙂 Great article… absolutely LOVE it.

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Going to the grocery store at any point during the mid-morning to mid-afternoon on the weekend is like competing in the Hunger Games. I can’t stand the rude people that don’t move out of the way, too! The grocery aisle is really not the place to let your indecisiveness run away with you.
      Thanks for your feedback. Hope your day improves! 🙂

  4. Oh my god….I seriously laughed out loud throughout this whole post. You made my morning like you wouldn’t believe! The worst for me is people who leave their carts in the middle of the aisle, not bothering to put it off to one side. It drives me absolutely nuts! That and whenever I get to the cash, there seems to be a problem (changing cashiers, printer broken, the lady in front says they charged too much for carrots and they need a price check, etc). Every time. EVERY TIME! *rips hair out* When people bring too many items in the “8 items or less” at the store I go to I want to yell at them. It makes me wish I could apply and get a job as a cashier so I could work that cash, have a person who unloads their 40 items and then tell them they have to put it all back into their cart and move to another cash. Am I a terrible human being?

    1. Ha, I’m glad! 🙂
      I hate the cart abandoners! You mentioned the price check people, too. One that’s common for me is some elderly person that was alive when grocery stores were first developed and they took expired coupons and eggs cost a nickel, etc. Save it for your memoirs, please.
      Also, definitely not a terrible human being! That to me seems like a perfectly appropriate exercise of passive aggression toward selfish shoppers. 😉

      1. My sister works at a Grocery store and she used to work “the express lane”. She’s a pro! Now, if more people were like her, food shopping would be a breeze!

  5. My favorite is the indulgent mother whose kid blocks my way in the aisle. She sees it and ignores it. And then after my third, “Excuse me” she leans down to child level and says, “Now, remember we talked about being polite? Tell the lady you are sorry and move to the side.” Then she goes about her business and the 2 year old looks at me dumbfounded. At that moment I usually scream “MOVE!” and the kid cries, the mother bitches, and I give them both the bird.

  6. “I’m always surrounded by people with a strange combination of items. For example: air freshener, carpet cleaner, and marshmallows. Okay, so there’s some kind of disgusting stain at home that’s stinking up your house…but you’re craving…marshmallows?” I’m still laughing at this — great post!! Every time I go somewhere and only need a couple things, the express lane is ALWAYS closed — never fails. And of course, I’m ALWAYS two steps slower getting in line than the idiot with two shopping carts full of shit, and 200 coupons to go with it all — one or more coupons for every…single…item…One of these days I’m going to snap. Look for me on Yahoo News. (:

    1. Ditto those thoughts! I swung by this post via Adam’s trophy case. Next time I get groceries, I’m going to hand out copies of Katie’s post to people who are abusing the Grocery Buffer Rule . . . or ordering too many different kinds of ham. :mrgreen:

  7. The person behind me who keeps bumping my backside with his cart. He can’t get through the line any faster by being closer to me. He’s the same guy who walks up to the cashier before I’m done with my purchase. Um . . . excuse me, can I swipe my card?

  8. If you put a huge, hunky, buff boy as the cashier for the 15-items-or-less lane, I guarantee you that I’ll go through THAT line regardless of my item count! Heck, I’ll probably go through that line 15 times, one.item.at.a.time. 😀

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