Food & Drink

The 12 worst things about every grocery store

grocery store

For all the magic contained in its automatic doors -- the free samples, snacks, the Luna bars you definitely don't eat, the super fun coin-operated horsey machine -- going to the grocery store can be a huge headache... a non-stop barrage of cart traffic jams, blank-faced zombies trying to operate the self-checkout, and horrible temptations. These are the reasons you resent the grocery store, making it barely worth it to get on that horsey and have the gdam best time of your life.

The Produce Section
You've decided you want to try vegetables… good for you. Just get ready to get wet as the auto-waterers spray out of control and hit you in the eye. Some stores try to be cute and play thunder-noises as the rain falls, which is either annoying or terrifying. Worse still, the wetness makes it impossible to open the little plastic bags you're supposed to throw your tomatoes in. Between that and shaking from thunder fears, you're screwed.

The Center-Aisle Dominator
We can sympathize with the plight of choosing between so many pasta sauce options (Italian sausage w/ garlic? Just straight up SpaghettiOs?), but that doesn't mean you need to park your cart perpendicular to the aisles smack-dab in the middle, blocking the flow, and forcing us to make a detour into the next aisle full of impulse buys like Luna bars.

Expiring items
Andy Kryza

The Expiring Items Trap
Hell yes you're gonna buy 36 donuts for $1, especially when they're right next to the checkout to remind you that you totally forgot to buy 36 regular-priced donuts. But you get in the car and discover they're going to expire in a half-hour. Time for a donut-eating binge… waste not, want not.

Aisle Gentrification
Beans are beans. Except when they're refried, in which case they're not allowed to hang out with baked beans or limas, and instead are put way across the store in the "Latin" section. And lord forbid spaghetti share an aisle w/ yakisoba noodles. They're in the "Asian" section. The grocery store is a textbook example of gentrification gone wild.

Bag Shame
Want a clerk at Whole Foods to look at you as though you spent your morning pouring gas on a burlap sack full of kittens? Ask for a paper bag to carry your stuff. You'll be charged $.05, but the leering condescension is an even stiffer penalty. Next time, consider re-using that burlap sack.

The Erratic Amigo
No disrespect to people who need motorized carts to do their shopping, but maybe a training course should be required to operate one. It would prevent dozens of displays from being destroyed, and dozens of run-over feet courtesy of old people who ramp these things up to full speed, then cruise around like they're playing Mario Kart after huffing paint.

The Cell Phone Wanderer
Because there's no better time to answer a random call than right this minute, this species of jackass will immediately abandon his cart in the middle of an aisle, then spend 15 minutes wandering around the store, picking up random crap, looking at it, and putting it back as he talks about everything from socks to weekend plans. It's best to relocate his cart for him, then track him as he gets even more confused and frustrated.

Cart Clog
Even the most miniscule amount of debris can turn a normal cart into a squeaky-wheeled nightmare that simulates pushing a car through wet sand.

The Temptation of Off-Brand Chips
They're $1 less than the real deal, and there are 499 different variations on them, so why not try the Fauxritos to see if they match up? Ugh. Nope. But you're still gonna try 498 more times.

The Self-Checkout Clusterfu*k
The idea of self-checkout is an amazing way to make the experience of shopping quick, independent, and efficient. Sadly, its designers forgot to factor in the fact that people use them. Some ignore the 12-item limit and empty an entire cart. Others are buying 30 kinds of produce, and can't figure out how to key in the bar code. Others just stand there, staring at the screen. Nobody notices the three express checkout lanes to the left manned by bored clerks.

It's So Cold!
You expect to get chilly in the beer section, or while you're scouring for the biggest bag of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. But even the blanket aisle is cold. How are blankets cold, unless they're the delicious ones with pigs inside... like in the frozen section?

Kids Carts
Seriously, why can't I fit into these?! Stupid kids have all the fun.

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