Most people don’t expect a fuss when they go to buy something from the store, but that’s not always the case. Just ask these shoppers. Customers on Quora share the rude things they’ve seen happen in a grocery store. Content has been edited for clarity.
She Shouldn’t Buy It If She Can’t Afford It
“Our local version of Costco is called PriceSmart.
Isn’t that a clever name?
A lady in front of me, at the queue to cash, decided she was cleverer than me and all the fine people employed at PriceSmart.
To shop at PriceSmart, you have to be a member. You do this by purchasing a membership subscription card, which allows you a year of membership. For the average Joe it’s a tad costly ($265 TT) but the savings you get shopping at PriceSmart, more than makes up for it.
I’m a very economical shopper and I tend to purchase only the bare necessities and would treat myself to something nice only once in a blue moon. This lady in front of me had a cart piled with groceries and also several treats ranging from frozen salmon burgers, Lindt, Toblerone, and Mars chocolates, smoked almonds, and ribs.
When we neared the cashier she suddenly turned around to stare me in the eyes. This is the conversation that followed.
Lady: ‘You don’t mind if I use your card, right?’
Me: ‘For what?’
Lady: ‘To cash.’
Me: ‘You don’t have a card?’
Lady: ‘No. Can’t afford it.’
I then stared at her pile of groceries tethering at the edge of her trolley. Her bottle of Grey Goose was almost $300, but she couldn’t afford a $200 (at that time) membership.
Me: ‘It’s only $200 for the membership and it takes just a minute.’
I saw her face suddenly transform into a look of complete irritation. It was as if I was asking her for the favor.
Lady: ‘I don’t have the money right now. I just told you. People need to help each other.’
Me: ‘Well, I can’t lend you my card.’
Me: ‘Because I don’t know you.’
Lady: ‘You need to know me to help me?’
At that point, I remained silent. I didn’t want to call her out for attempting to use random strangers for her financial convenience. I didn’t want to argue I spent my hard-earned money on this membership and she ought to make that sacrifice also rather than gorge on her four rotisserie chickens, as it was not my place to say.
Instead, she went to the man in front of her, giving him a sad story of how she just lost her card and this stuff is for her mother. The guy took the bait and lent her his card. She then stared at me as if to say, ‘Got anything to say now?’
Clearly, this wasn’t the first time she did this and it definitely wasn’t going to be the last.”
Why It’s Important To Wash Produce
“I live conveniently just around the corner from a large chain grocery store from my place of residence. This is precisely why I shop there.
I had a weekday off, so I decided I would get my grocery shopping accomplished for the week. So, off to the store I go.
The first stop for me was the vegetable\fruit section since it is the first portion of the store you encounter upon entering. There were five or six people in the section.
I am ALWAYS observing people. My friends will always comment, ‘How do you encounter so many strange people and weird situations?’
I reply to them, ‘All you have to do is observe what is around you and you will encounter MANY weird situations and strange people.’
It amazes me how people close themselves off to so much that transpires around them.
So I appraised the area and my eyes were immediately drawn to a woman. What was she doing, you ask? She was picking up fruit and vegetables and licking them. I watched for a minute or two. Pick up fruit, lick, put back down. Pick up vegetables, lick, place back in the bin. The other five to six people were completely unaware of this.
Well, this disturbed me, so I went in search of the store manager. One of the check-out clerks tracked him down for me. I told him what I had observed. We proceeded to the produce section. She was still there.
Both of us observed her perform this same odd ritual. The store manager approaches her and informed her that she cannot be licking the produce. If she persisted, she will have to leave the premises.
Obviously, she extrapolated I was the individual that interrupted her joyous licking fest. She did not say a word to the manager and just turned to leave, staring at me the entire time with an angriest countenance upon her face.
So where do I buy produce? The same place. I related this story to a few friends who shop there, and of course, their initial reaction was never to shop for produce there. That is, until I reminded them every other grocery store within this proximity is probably visited by produce licker as well.”
She Wanted The Best Of The Best
“I found myself recently at the deli counter of our local grocery store, behind a woman who had swooped in front of me to be helped first. I say ‘swooped,’ as she had indeed walked faster when seeing I was also approaching the slicing station.
This is a small specialty store I frequent, so there is only one person behind the counter. As someone that already knew exactly what I wanted and how much, I immediately became anxious when she asked, ‘What kind of meats do you all have?’
She was presently standing directly in front of all of the deli meats, which had clear signs and prices.
The clerk mentioned a couple and when he said, ‘Smoked turkey,’ she said, ‘Oh I never had that, can I try it?’
He cut her a slice and handed it to her. She took a bite and said, ‘OH NO, oh my! I don’t like that! That is dry! Uh-uh! What else do y’all have?’
He mentioned a couple of other options. She picked a different type of turkey, which he suggested perhaps she would not like because it was similar to the first one. She then just started pointing to things, and he began to slice her a sample.
While he was cutting, she turned to me and said, ‘Oh that turkey was DRY! I can’t believe. I never had anything like that.’
Then she shoved the rest of that piece in her mouth.
The clerk handed her the sample slice. She ate it, and liked it.
‘Now that’s what I had before (it’s their base deli turkey, no flavoring, just turkey), I’ll have that! I will take three slices of that!’ she said.
Three. Slices. Of turkey.
‘What kind of ham do y’all have?’ I am not even close to joking, she did the exact same thing with the ham. Three samples. Then three slices.
Then she moved on to ‘some kind of beef?’ Her question mark. Not mine.
At this point, we were over ten minutes in and I left without the one specific cheese I actually went to this store for and picked up a substitute in their cheese display on the way to the register.”
He Turned The Other Cheek
“This didn’t happen in a big box store but in a tiny mom-and pop Asian grocery store. This store is located in the Baltimore City center and has been there for many years, serving residents in what would otherwise food desert. The customers range from long-time residents to newly-arrived students. It’s the only Asian grocery in town (closest one is at least 1/2 hours’ drive away) so it’s a lifeline for Asian students as well as people in the area.
The owners are friendly and they take the time to help customers find obscure Asian ingredients – not all Asian grocery stores are so helpful. Despite being located in a rougher area of the city, they don’t have visible security or plexiglass, unlike other most other places and they don’t treat their customers with suspicion. This is why I felt annoyed by the behavior of a pan-handler dude who was bugging customers for change right outside the store.
Ok, that’s pretty typical stuff but then he came into the store and started bugging the owner for change. The small Asian owner just shook his head and tried to ignore the bum who didn’t leave and decided to hang out, pestering customers inside the stores. Somewhat obnoxious. The owner started to sweep the floor with a brush and this was the most obnoxious part: The bum starts making fun of this and says ‘You should use a vacuum cleaner, buddy!’
He left soon after that snark, but it was not only obnoxious but an unsettling reminder that why the city is a food desert. Nobody wants to set up a neighborhood grocery store and deal with the constant harassment. Small business owners can’t afford to hire security to keep the bums out. The people who run this store could have moved out of the city or switch to selling drinks but they continue to provide the service being the only place you can buy fresh vegetables and something other than cup ramen.
The funny end to this came a few weeks ago when I went back and snarky bum was also in the store, but this time, he was the one doing the sweeping! Apparently, the owners decided to give him a job helping out at the store!”
A Stickler For The Rules
“I was in the grocery store with my 80-year-old mom, who is in a mobile scooter due to illness and mobility issues. We were sharing a cart because, obviously, she cannot push her own. She had nine items to pay for and I had eight. Because of this, we decided to go through the ‘express’ lane as there was only one other checker open and the self-checkout, which we refuse to use because it takes away jobs from people.
Halfway through the checker scanning my mom’s items, she saw a friend. She handed me her credit card to pay and scooted off to talk. I paid for her items and then the checker started scanning my items. There was an elderly man behind me who went nuts and started yelling at me, I had over 10 items. He was going nuts and insisted on the manager coming over and kicking me out of the line because it is for 10 items or less. I tried to explain to him the situation, but he still was furious. The cashier was obviously embarrassed, gave me this sorry look, and said to the man, ‘The ten or less items isn’t really enforced, anyone can go through the line and you are welcome to use the empty self-checkout line.’
The man was now shrieking and spittle was flying from his mouth. He was yelling how he is a US Veteran and I am disrespectful. People were staring at me like I was a horrible person. The manager came over to try to calm the guy down, but he’s worked himself into a frenzy and won’t stop yelling. The checker finished with my items and I paid and walked away to this guy screaming more obscenities at me. My mom was still talking to her friend, oblivious to the whole situation, she caused by leaving me to pay for her items. Thanks, mom.”
Putting A Bully In Her Place
“At Christmas last year, I was in line at the local grocery store waiting to pay for that one item I always seem to forget or I suddenly require at the last minute. The woman approaching the line was a well put together woman in her early 70s, with a very high-end designer pantsuit, Jimmy Choos on her feet, and she was very austere and dignified in her bearing. I was deferential and polite and invited her to go ahead of me, since she was older than I, despite the fact she had a cartful and I had, well, um, just butter. One pound.
She glanced at me, over her eyeglasses, and said, ‘I would say thanks, but I was next in line anyway.’
I looked at her for a long moment expressionless.
Huh. Whatever helps you sleep at night lady, I think,
She exhibited the flouncy body language of a mean girl, despite her evident age. She began tapping her long lacquered nails, sighing, challenging the veracity of what the poor cashier had rung up, hand on hip, and other displays of ill-temper. I was floored, and watching the young lady at the register, I became angry.
The clerk at the register had tears standing in her eyes. She was unable to utter a word as this awful woman criticized her job performance, appearance, and state of education. It was clearly her first job, and probably among her first few days on that job. She was flustered and as the ugly words flew at her she became more flustered.
The tirade went something like this, ‘Well. This place will hire any ignorant little slattern to work this time of year, won’t they, dear? You must be the bottom of the barrel though and are the stupidest cow I’ve ever seen. A monkey would do a better job. Can’t, you see this was on sale for $2.04? You rang it up at $2.05! What kind of pathetic creature from the trailer park can’t ring up a simple purchase? Oh, yes. I will make sure to mention this to Mr. Jones when I see him. He will fire you on my word, and believe me, my word is good. Hope you can find other work since you are intellectually incapable of flossing your teeth, obviously, much less serving a customer.’
She paid for her shopping and turned to leave. I watched her in horror. I told the clerk she had handled that well, and she had done a fine job. To just ignore that old woman. The clerk’s tears spilled over, and she stuttered a, ‘Thank You.’
I ran to catch up with the vicious old lady, who was putting her key in her car door.
‘Ma’am! I heard what you said to that young lady in there,’ I said.
‘So?! What business is it of yours?’ she snapped.
‘I have never seen such a cruel, arrogant, selfish, tacky display in all my life. I cannot imagine you were raised to be such a horrible person, but the pain you caused is unconscionable, and your mother would have been ashamed. I’m sure at your age, your abusive nature has cost you many friendships. You deserve to die alone,’ I told her.
And I left. It was an awful thing to say. I regret it. My temper got the best of me.”
She Wouldn’t Take “No” For An Answer
“I work at my dad’s store in a pretty rundown section of a rather nice town (My state’s capital).
Here’s something that happened on Halloween Night:
Halloween was super busy at my store. Tons of trick-or-treaters, people stopping by for party supplies, or just your average everyday shoppers.
While there were about four other people lining up at our single cash register at the front of the store, and obviously high-out-of-her-mind woman barges in and exclaims
‘WHERE IS YOUR BATHROOM, I NEED TO USE IT,’ she yelled.
I calmly respond, ‘Sorry, but we don’t have a public one, it’s employees only.’
She stood there with a face so dead it looked like it was straight out of the morgue, not moving an inch. After about 30 seconds of being a mannequin, she opened her mouth and yelled even louder:
‘I NEED TO USE THE BATHROOM RIGHT NOW. SHOW IT TO ME NOW.’
Now, at this point I’m mad. I’m trying to keep up with the increasing flow of customers, and this entitled pothead wants me to drop all of that to show her our private employee bathroom, which I’ll probably have to clean when she’s done. I’m not having it.
‘There’s a laundromat on the other side of the road 10 seconds away. They have public bathrooms. Please leave,’ I said to her.
She stood there lifeless again for about a minute. I kept doing what I’m doing because I don’t want to upset the customers filtering through with a long cash-out time.
I check to see where she is, and she’s standing in front of our ATM. She turned her head back when our eyes cross:
‘SHOW ME THE BATHROOM,’ she roared.
I gave up. I didn’t have time to argue and I’m not the type to kick someone out, so I go turn on the lights in the back (where the bathroom is) and turn back to go get her.
While I’m walking toward her, she just looked at me, still lifeless.
‘Follow me I’ll show you our bathro-‘ I started.
I heard running water.
My face turned hot and red with anger.
‘I’ll clean it when I’m done,’ she deadpanned.
Oh, the rage.
‘ARE YOU PEEING IN MY STORE,’ I screeched.
‘I’ll clean it when I’m done,’ She repeated, dead-faced.
‘YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO GET THE HECK OUT,’ I screamed.
‘I have to finish first,’ she said.
She didn’t move an inch.
I dialed 911. She screamed, ‘You won’t be ruining my Halloween!’ and ran off.
I’m left with a lake of urine on the floor, customers backed up, mortified, watching the whole thing go down, and a 911 operator on the phone.”
Angry For No Reason
“My wife and I were at a restaurant last week.
Sitting at a table alone was a young man (maybe 13-years-old). He was doing something on his phone (videos, music, etc).
My wife and I both asked him politely if he would turn it down. He did, and replied in a polite way, ‘Yes, sir, no problem,’
Well, then his mother who had not noticed how much he was infringing on others got all fussy about how dare either of us talks to him. Mind you, I had no clue she was even with him as she was across the room from him.
Before long, she was telling her son ‘they had no right, since we didn’t own the restaurant, and to just turn it up all the way.’
The mother then started yelling at both my wife and me about how we had some nerve to attack him, then she starts calling people on her phone about how we threatened him, and starts screaming more and more rude comments at my wife and me while trying to push her into a physical altercation (getting all up in her face, etc).
Then, someone she called walked into the store and started getting in my wife’s face, and started poking her in the nose, again with insults, as my wife and I both replied with, (while sitting down) ‘Please just leave us alone.’
The two women now were standing over us as we are sitting trying to eat our meal, lobbing insulting comments trying to get more and more of an escalation, and telling my wife how stupid she is for not standing up for herself (she was sitting down). Even poking my wife with a finger as if to get her to throw the first punch.
By this time, the man behind the counter was yelling for everyone to just take it outside. I instead replied to the man to call 911.
The two women were now threatening to wait outside for us when we leave.
So, my wife finally called 911. No sooner did the police show up, than the boy’s father also showed up (having been called by the boy’s mother).
I’d love to tell you that I didn’t take the threat of bodily harm seriously. I’d love to tell you that I was able to relax and go back to enjoying my meal. However, I can’t say either thing.
When the police finally arrived, the officer walked us to the car, and we left.”
Caught In The Act
“I saw someone try to get gasoline at a grocery store gas station for $.88 a gallon. The pump said gas was $.88 a gallon. The signs posted everywhere else said gas was $3.88 a gallon. The lady went inside and tried to make the cashier give her gas for $.88 a gallon. I watched as the cashier calmly point to the signs and to the other pumps nearby that showed the correct price. The cashier also pointed to the defective pump and noted the lightbulb burned out where the dollar amount was.
The customer started to scream and screech she should get her gas at $.88 a gallon because that’s what the pump said. The cashier was having none of it. She told the customer she was trying to pull a fast one and nobody else would have thought the gas was only .88 cents per gallon when, at the time, it was over $4.00 a gallon (California).
I watched the cashier go back into the store and come back out with the customer’s receipt and a bag to put over the defective pump. She told the lady to leave and call her boss in the morning if she wanted to complain. I went up to the cashier and offered to be a witness in case the lady tried to get her in trouble. She thanked me and took down my name and phone number.
I found out a few days later the customer did try to complain but the cashier’s boss yelled at the customer and called her a scam artist and a few other choice words and banned her from ever coming back.”
They’ll Take Anything
“Costco’s return policy is legendary and they really do take anything back. However, it seems way too often when I go to return something, I’m standing behind someone bent on abusing the heck out of their return policy for food.
Once I stood behind a guy who tried to return a tray containing a single pork chop. Given the typical size of a Costco package of meat, I figure he and his family ate seven or eight pork chops before bringing it back. He wanted a full refund.
Another time, a lady tried to return a giant clamshell of croissants or cookies or other baked goods. I couldn’t tell what it was… because the box literally only had crumbs left inside. She wanted a full refund.
Another time, I stood behind a lady who tried to return a bag of salad. This gigantic bag had maybe a handful of salad leaves left and was disintegrating into mush and brown liquid at the bottom of the bag. She wanted a full refund.
Another time, some lady returned a giant dead basil plant in the pot. It looked like she took it home and then neglected the heck out of it. The dirt in the pot looked so dry it was like gravel. She wanted a full refund.
And yet another time, I saw a guy who came back pushing an entire pallet of fruit. He had changed his mind about how much fruit he wanted. He wanted a full refund. Sadly, all the fruit had to be thrown out because they can’t resell it once it leaves the building. He still wanted a full refund.
To their credit, Costco never raised a fuss over any of these ridiculous abuses and just gave them their money back, no argument or obnoxious behavior needed.
Doesn’t make me any less mad though.”