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Dec 1, 2011 08:02 AM

Grocery store pet peeve. Is it just me?

This is my first post on Chowhound! Hello.

This happens to me all the time and I can't decide if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill in my brain or if this is legitimately annoying.

When I'm done shopping and I'm wheeling my cart toward the checkout lines I inevitably am led by an employee toward a "15 items or fewer/less" line if the other lines are occupied with customers. I always have a full cart (40+ items easily). Someone will then come up behind me with say, 1 gallon of milk & some apples and glare at me like I'm a selfish idiot for going to that line.

It drives me batty. If I have more than 15 items I want to wait in the regular line and I don't mind. Maybe I should just decline their offer to move over to the fewer items line?

Both scenarios/options make me feel like I'm a paranoid weirdo, but I'm the first to admit I have weird grocery store "preferences". For example, the self checkout can be wide open, and an employee will tell me so, but I don't want to scan my own groceries. I don't want to look up the vegetable codes, and I always seem to do something to set off the "an employee has been notified to help you!" alert. :-/

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  1. When I'm done shopping and I'm wheeling my cart toward the checkout lines I inevitably am led by an employee toward a "15 items or fewer/less" line if the other lines are occupied with customers

    You can simply decline.....problem solved

    1. Be bold: Just say no!

      1. Here's a crazy idea: you could let that poor person stuck behind your massive shopping palooza holding only two items get in front of you!!! Revolutionary, I know '-)

        4 Replies
        1. re: linguafood

          I took it to mean that the customer with only 2 items would walk up behind her while she's already in the middle of checking out. So, 25 of her items are already rung up, but there's still plenty to go, and now she's being glared at by someone who thinks she was being rude for using the express lane.

          And UTGal, I feel the same way! You're not crazy. I've had the same thing happen, and I feel awkward as well. So now I do the "polite decline" route. I'd rather say no and wait a while longer than have another shopper think I'm being rude to them. It's goofy, but it makes me feel better!

          1. re: Ditdah

            Ah. I guess I just read it w/out interpreting it. Yeah, if she's already checking out, it's too late, obvy.

            1. re: linguafood

              Linguafood, being the nice guy I am I once let someone with fewer items in front of me. Turns out he was the one who came face to face with two gentlemen waving pistols and shouthing as they proceeded to rob the in store bank. Robbing banks in grocery stores is a big thing here in Houston!

        2. I think your pet peeve is justified. But like a few others have suggested, I just say "no thank you" and stay in the line I am in.

          1. Pretty much everything about the grocery store experience annoys me. I have issues.

            I adored the self-check out. Sadly, my local store removed all three lanes of self-check out.

            My top pet peeve is the checkout clerk that comments on how expensive my produce is.

            12 Replies
            1. re: cleobeach

              At the market I shop at, the clerks are well trained. Really. They are friendly, service-oriented, and they limit their comments to mostly non-food topics. In the past, at other stores I've had judgmental comments on a number of my purchases.This is really irritating.

              Last year I encountered a store clerk with serious boundary issues. I noticed that he did not stay long at that store. I almost complained. Another incident, and I would have. This is very unusual where I do most of my shopping.

              1. re: sueatmo

                I have no issues at all if someone asks what a particular ingredient is used for -- or how to use something - I might even accept a comment if I had ground beef, mozzarella, parmesan, and canned tomatoes about how lasagna sounds good.

                But comments passing any kind of judgment on my groceries? You might just need a proctologist before it's over.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  The judgmental comments came many years ago, and if memory serves were made by young men who knew nothing about anything, except how to use the cash register.I have had bad experiences in 2 local markets (we have a plethora of food stores in my area) and I quit going. My favorite is my favorite because they make shopping pleasant. I talk to the produce men, the deli counter people, the checkers, the manager. And I get no hassles when I check out, except for those few from the checker who is no longer there. My market schedules a bagger on rainy days to stand outside in rain gear, and help us get our groceries into the car. Astounding, but true. And there is never any trash in the parking lot. And the place is bright. If we have to spend time and money somewhere every week, it should be pleasant, I think.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    Sounds like our local Wegmans branch. I love shopping there.

                2. re: sueatmo

                  I had a similar clerk issue this last year at one of our favorite neighborhood import grocery stores. I don't mind some chatting about my purchases if the clerk has used deductive reasoning to judge by my purchases what I'm cooking, like they conversationally ask if the canned tomatoes and fresh basil I'm buying are for a pasta sauce, etc. But this obnoxious clerk commented on almost every purchase that he rang up and I found his running commentary loud, judgmental and intrusive. I was just waiting for the day I would buy some personal hygiene item at the store and hear his comments/input on that, too (lucky for him, this scenario never happened or I would have gone batty on him, I'm sure). After every encounter with Crazy Clerk, SO and I wondered if we should find a manager at this Mom and Pop place and mention the issue to them, but we felt a little like it was making a tempest in a teapot and held our tongues. It seems Crazy Clerk isn't at the store any more, at least when we've been by recently.

                  ETA to add side topic on clerks and chatting: I live in the Pacific Northwest, USA. When I was dating a Southerner and spent a lot of time in Atlanta and around Georgia/Kentucky, I was a bit floored at the friendly chitchat every clerk would initiate with each and every customer. I understood the cultural difference, but it still annoyed me when I felt EACH and EVERY chat between customer and clerk in line went on and on about the weather and life minutiae when all I wanted was for the damn line to move forward. Now THAT was my pet peeve. I think if I'd re-located to the South, that would have driven me a bit nutso after awhile. I mean, on one level I appreciated the effort and it seemed like very polite and sweet exchanges between clerk/customer. On the other hand...People, ok enough talk more walk, let's move this line along so my life can continue.... ;)

                  1. re: team_cake

                    Things move a bit more slowly here in the south. We are known for being friendly, chatty even, hence "southern hospitality." It may be aggravating to some but it is a way of life for us and though it can be annoying when you are pressed for time or otherwise in a hurry, I find it comforting. In this world, some days, the idle chatter you get from a store clerk may be the only kind words you hear, lol ;)

                3. re: cleobeach

                  Normally I hate small chit-chat...I always can't help but feel like the cashiers at Trader Joe's must be judging all of the frozen/junk food we get there (we go there for treats mostly and do our legitimate shopping elsewhere), but I actually don't mind the comments I get at the produce store we go to (Russo's for Bostonians). We have pet bunnies and thus buy enormous quantities of a full grocery cart full at a time. I've gotten many the incredulous comments from cashiers about how many veggies we eat, but when I point out that they're for our buns, they always get really interested and ask questions. I get to tell them that yes, rabbits are great pets and they can live inside like a cat or dog and they eat just about any veggie you can imagine. I always feel good when I can educate people.

                  1. re: tazia

                    Hi Tazia, I used to have a wonderful pet bunny and she was housebroken too. She would snuffle up on the couch with me. I love all animals and yours must be lots of fun. Bev

                    1. re: tazia

                      <Normally I hate small chit-chat...I always can't help but feel like the cashiers at Trader Joe's must be judging all of the frozen/junk food we get there?>

                      I use to be the same way until my last time at TJ's (Memorial Drive in Cambridge). The cashier got really happy that I asked him how his day was going. He said bad because no one was making eye contact or talking to him so it was making him feel like a robot and "not there". I cheered him up. So as annoying as they can be, I try to now deal with the chit chat for the couple minutes it takes for me to check out. One thing I like about Russo's is that they don't do chit-chat and I can get out quick.

                      1. re: viperlush

                        Good anecdote. Grocery checkers are people too. I find the Whole Foods checkers very talkative, and they always talk about the food, and they are always enthusiastic about whatever I buy. Has to be training.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I recently had an experience at my usually great WF that left me shaking my head. I was purchasing a vegan sandwich and a vegan cookie, and the cashier went on an unprompted diatribe about how he didn't like vegan baked goods because he had a Mighty-O (local, nationally recognized vegan donut) and it just tasted like crisco and how "real stuff" is better. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, and if I had asked for his opinion that would have been one thing, but it felt weirdly judgy to me.

                          Oftentimes WF cashiers will see I'm buying vegan stuff and will ask me if I like the product or if I've tried another vegan product that they enjoy. That's a great, value-added experience that I appreciate as a customer and makes me want to return to the store. I totally am not looking for validation from a cashier but sheesh, if you don't have something nice to say, then maybe keep it to yerself. I get enough static from others about eating vegan food in my day-to-day life and WF is the last place I would expect any.