Everything the Most Hated Grocery Stores Have in Common

Not every grocery store can be the most popular grocery store in America. Unfortunately, there are just some really bad stores out there. Read on to learn the qualities of the most hated grocery stores.

1. Not very many deals

Woman In Grocery Aisle Of Supermarket
Everyone wants to save money. | iStock.com/Cathy Yeulet

As annoying as it is to have to carry several rewards cards around in your wallet, they do save you a lot of money. Boutique grocery stores, or stores that don’t offer very many coupons or sales are generally not appreciated by customers.

Next: Bad grocery stores tend to not carry the freshest produce. 

2. Produce that isn’t the freshest

Beautiful women shopping vegetables and fruits
Grocery stores should offer fresh produce. | nd3000/iStock/Getty Images

Trader Joe’s is one of the most popular grocery stores in America, but it does have one downfall that almost every customer can agree on: the produce isn’t the best. It shouldn’t be out of the questions to expect fresh, in-season fruit and vegetables from your local grocery store.

Next: Every grocery store should at least have enough people working.  

3. Understaffed

walmart employee in grocery aisle
You should be able to find an employee when you need one. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Understaffed grocery stores are especially annoying. They have long checkout lines and not enough people walking around making sure everyone can find everything. It’s important to remember, though, that this isn’t the fault of the employees who are working.

Next: Bad grocery stores don’t put much effort into this department. 

4. No seasonal touches

Christmas cake with festive decorations
It’s nice to see a decor change. | iStock.com/merc67

It’s so nice to see holiday decorations and enjoy a grocery store’s seasonal specialty items during different times of the year. You go to the grocery store a lot, it’s refreshing to see the decor change every once in a while.

Next: You can’t buy this item at the grocery store in every state.  

5. It doesn’t sell hard alcohol

That drink may hit you harder than you think.
The store might be bound by state law. | Bogdanhoda/iStock/Getty Images

This has more to do with state alcohol laws than a grocery store’s preference, but it’s a definite bummer if you’re local grocery store doesn’t (or can’t) sell liquor. If you’re in a household that drinks hard alcohol, you know just how annoying it is to have to make a separate trip to the liquor store after you’ve already hit the grocery store.

Next: Two carts should be able to fit down one aisle.  

6. Small aisles

grocery store aisle
Aisles should be able to accommodate multiple carts. | iStock.com/Sakkawokkie

Every aisle should be able to fit at least two carts side-by-side. Sure, not everybody uses a cart, but when there are two people headed in opposite directions down the same aisle, they should both be able to fit. If they can’t, the aisle’s too small.

Next: Bad grocery stores don’t have this in their store. 

7. No florist

Young woman making fashion modern bouquet of different flowers.
A florist really comes in handy. | Malkovstock/iStock/Getty Images

For holidays, recitals, parties and other special occasions, it’s really nice to have a floral department right in your grocery store. Whenever you’re in a pinch for time and need to grab a last-minute gift, grocery store flowers are just the ticket.

Next: Sometimes you don’t want to interact with a checkout person. 

8. No self-checkout

Mother Paying For Family Shopping At Checkout
Sometimes you’re not in the mood to interact with anyone. | iStock.com/bowdenimages

Some grocery stores don’t even have self-checkout stations, while some do but they’re hardly made available to customers. Sometimes you’re not in the mood to interact with anyone at the grocery store (i.e. a cashier) and you want to check out your own groceries.

Next: Bad grocery stores don’t have nearly enough of these …  

9. Not enough checkout stands

Male cashier with customers
Waiting in a long line isn’t fun for anyone. | Noel Hendrickson/iStock/Getty Images

The last thing you want at the end of a long grocery store trip is to have to wait in a line that’s so long it goes back into the aisles. Not having enough checkout stands, or checkout attendants, is a surefire sign of a bad grocery store.

Next: Finding out you’ve purchased expired food is the worst. 

10. Many of the items are close to their expiration date

Grocery store prepared food
Shoppers shouldn’t have to worry about expired food. | Niloo138/iStock/Getty Images

Everyone’s experienced picking up an item from the grocery store only to find that it’s expired or close to expired once you get home. Good grocery stores phase out their bad food and keep a fresh supply available for their customers.

Next: Items should be where you’d expect them to be.  

11. Strange placement

Trader Joes grocery store entrance with sign
The layout should flow logically. | iStock.com/ablokhin

A grocery store should have a natural flow to it. At bare minimum, things should at least be in the general area you’d expect them to be in. If the cereal is next to the canned goods for no apparent reason, you’re probably not at a very popular grocery store.

Next: Not everyone can go grocery shopping in the middle of the day. 

12. Bad hours

shopping cart in a grocery store aisle
Not everyone can shop during the day. | shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

Not everyone can do his/her grocery shopping during the day. When a store is strict about closing in the early evening, it can be hard for a lot of customers to squeeze a trip in. When a store offers late hours it also helps keeps crowds at a reasonable level.

Next: At least the staff should be friendly …  

13. Unfriendly staff

Staff members set the tone. | Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

This often has to do with the culture of the store, starting with the attitude of corporate, trickling down to store managers and employees. If a store’s employees are unhappy, they likely won’t be the most accommodating to customers.

Next: Bad grocery stores don’t have a good deli section.  

14. No or bad deli section

deli meat turkey sandwich
Great grocery stores have amazing delis. | Rez-art/iStock/Getty Images

Really good grocery stores have a killer deli. Having no deli section, or a bad deli section that doesn’t taste or look fresh, is the mark of a subpar grocery store.

Next: The store has a horrible parking lot. 

15. A poorly designed parking lot

A car drives through the parking lot
A cramped parking lot is the icing on a terrible shopping trip. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The only good thing about bad grocery stores is that, generally, their parking lots aren’t ever too crowded because they aren’t ever super busy. But if a store has a small lot with spaces that are hard to get into, it can put a damper on anyone’s grocery store trip.

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