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Supermarket Hades

Updated on July 21, 2012

A Partial List

I shop at the same supermarket week after week every Saturday. I can only visit the place once a week because of my loathing. This loathing is based on things that most people will find trivial, and perhaps they are, but not to me. The following list of pet peeves is in no order of preference.

  • The parking lot: Most car accidents occur in parking lots, so I have to enter as if facing a bumper-car amusement attraction, minus the amusement. People (usually in SUVs) have all sorts of blind spots but don't seem to care when they are backing out of their parking space. Driving a Honda Civic, I have to give them a wide margin of error. Others like to just park their cars in front of the nearby Starbucks, figuring it will only take them seconds to get their cappuccino. Then there are others who pay no attention to driving in the wrong direction of a parking aisle. And there is invariably someone (usually in an SUV) who simply doesn't know how to park between the lines, and you wait while they back-up, go forward, back-up, go-forward.
  • Carts designed as kiddy cars: While probably a lot of fun for the kids inside or hanging outside the kiddy cars, they are a royal pain for normal shoppers, as they take up extra space and stall intermittently while one or more kids scream for something they see along the narrow aisles.
  • Some charitable institution or voter registration gauntlet swarming in front of the entrance.
  • Ambiance: My supermarket plays music for the shoppers. I suppose the music is selected on the basis of a general audience. A few of the tunes are fine. Some are annoying. Some are unbearable. The music also seems to be on some kind of loop, as I hear almost the same tunes week after week. When an unbearable tune is played, I cringe and something within me withers. The songs are often interrupted by various loud speaker messages (e.g., so and so has a call parked on station 958; or welcome shoppers, we've got a great deal on bread freshly baked in our deli section; or manager needed up front, etc.).
  • Obstacles: Stockers who block an entire aisle with boxes. Older folk who like to stand in the middle of an aisle to peruse the goods. People who bring their entire families with them. People on cell phones, talking with someone about whether they need more toilet paper. Clerks who are polishing the floor. Free-sample stands peddling whatever. Flimsy, cardboard stands filled with snack foods located in the frozen food section. Hard-core coupon shoppers. Clerks wheeling out a mammoth dolly containing at least a thousand cases of canned Coke.
  • Top-shelf items that have sold out the first few rows and the remainder require stilts to reach.
  • Spotting a provocatively dressed, highly attractive female but being unable to look at her because your wife has eyes on the back of her head.
  • A shrieking child somewhere in the store that causes your ears to ring.
  • A shrieking child somewhere in the store that causes your ears to ring, and the parents make no attempt to shut it up -- even when you confront them.
  • Protein bars: You have a favorite brand and flavor of protein bar. You buy the entire box because you know the supply will not be replenished for months. (At check-out, the cashier cannot simply scan the box. No, each bar has to go through the scanner.) She stands there and swipes the same bar thirty times.
  • Odd placement of products: In the store I visit, frozen egg rolls are located in two different aisles. Why?
  • Price incentives: Get a price break -- buy ten of a particular product and each one is only going to cost a dollar. Ten for ten, they say.
  • The smell as you pass by the fish department.
  • Disappearance of items usually readily available. I like Progresso's brand of beef barley soup -- haven't been able to find it in weeks. Where did all those nice little cans go?
  • Security caps on spirits that fall off when you try to pick up the bottle.
  • Continually shrinking packages of everything with no price reduction.
  • Fingering out a product that is so tightly packed on the shelf that you risk creating an avalanche.
  • Picking up an item and finding that it is covered with something very sticky.
  • Remembering to bring the re-usable canvas bags you bought -- even though they can usually only contain about five items.
  • People nibbling on grapes, cherries and other fruits.
  • Replacement of brand name labels with store generics.
  • Cat food cans: We happen to buy Friskies canned cat food, but the cans are arranged without any order whatsoever. Is it too much to ask that the store segregate the cans by beef, chicken, turkey, fish, or at least by pate, shredded, chunky? They'll never do it, so we spend a good ten minutes every week seeking the flavors that our cats prefer. And couldn't they at least arrange the cans so that the labels are faced forward?
  • A long, weaving line of shoppers waiting to check out with only one register open.
  • Some cashier telling you "I can help you over here," and your preferential treatment is usurped by a couple of storm trooper shoppers.
  • Someone standing behind you with a loaf of bread and a six pack of beer only, and you've got a hundred items to get checked out. You tell him to go ahead of you out of courtesy even though the 15 items or less checkout is empty.
  • The mad rush at check-out: You've got several people behind you, with one maybe two registers open. Having a full basket, you frantically throw your food onto the ever-moving, rubber conveyor belt. As all the checker has to do is scan your items, you can't keep up. By the time you're finished unloading she's asking for your card membership. You haven't had a second to see that she scanned everything properly or that the running total on a mini-screen isn't displaying three cartons of milk instead of two.
  • Cashiers that like to make comments about items you're buying.
  • Finding out that you needed to buy three items of something instead of two in order to make use of a coupon, or learning it has expired.
  • Going through an interrogation when you present a coupon and the store's computer system didn't pick up the sale. It's into the already packed bags we go for the big hunt.
  • Scanning your debit card multiple times because the checker happened to overlook a frozen burrito lodged somewhere along the conveyor or beyond.
  • The bagger who unconsciously throws your canned food onto potato chips or produce.
  • Flimsy plastic bags that dissolve as soon as you try to load them into your car.
  • Unpacking bags at home only to discover one or more items are missing.
  • Noticing that one or more cans you bought are dented -- and you have to think about botulism.

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    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Hi Rjbatty, As requested, I stopped by to read, and I have to say, it's an Excellent Hub on Supermarket Shopping. You've certainly covered all grounds and ALL the PITFALLS...It's a Wonder that we stay SANE! We made me Laugh, Nod in agreement and Smile. Thanks for Sharing, worth coming by!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      These are the reasons I shop during the off hours as much as possible. I have the luxery of being retired so I can go to shop at early morning hours before the crowd gets there. Even when I was working I sometimes went to the store for non perishable items before work. Stores that are open at night also work out well except that the staff is mopping floors and such.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      rj - You are speaking for so many of us. I thought maybe I was the only normally nice person that turns into a bit of a curmudgeon in grocery stores, well actually in most stores. Great Hub! :)

    • michiganman567 profile image

      michiganman567 5 years ago from Michigan

      My favorite is when someone parks their cart on the left side of the isle then kneels next to it to find something on the right side. It effectively blocks the entire isle, especially if the in store display is close by. I enjoyed your list, sharing.