Whether you love it or hate it, grocery shopping is a must. For most, it’s a routine errand that’s built into your ongoing to-do list. Perhaps you stick to the same list every week, or maybe you’re more likely to stroll through every aisle to see what speaks to you. Whatever the case, the contents of your cart can say a lot about you — at least that’s what your grocery store clerk thinks. After all, that conveyor belt is nothing but a window into your deepest, darkest secrets.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s relax for a minute. It’s not that serious. However, it’s certainly entertaining, which is why we’ve searched for the one item that seems to warrant the most reaction. And according to Reddit, there are a few products that made several clerks’ lists. (The overwhelmingly agreed-upon item you’re being judged for? Condoms, of course! But more on that later.)
It’s time to get to the top 15 things that store clerks judge you for, and what they’re thinking as you make that purchase.
1. Bottled water
Don’t they know it’s cheaper to get the filters, instead?
Whoever decided to put water in plastic bottles is a genius. He’s definitely not an environmentalist, but there’s no question he’s laughing all the way to the bank. By now, plenty of folks know just how bad bottled water is, at least for the whole global warming crisis we’re in. Not to mention, it’s way cheaper to use filters, a fact that grocery store clerk and Reddit user PauloPelle94 points out.
Next: Too much junk food is never a good thing.
2. Ice cream and candy
Don’t they know it’ll kill you?
Even the cleanest of eaters may occasionally splurge on sweets. Cashiers sometimes pass judgement on those junk food purchases, even when they’re not doing it intentionally. “There is this guy who is quite overweight. Every night without fail he buys ice cream and candy,” one Reddit user writes. “I know it’s none of my business, but yeah I judge him a bit.”
Next: Wine time!
3. Wine — first thing in the morning
I kind of feel sorry for this poor guy.
We appreciate a nice glass of wine as much as the next guy, but there’s no denying that slight judgement comes with consuming it before an hour that’s considered socially acceptable. In case you’re wondering, 9 a.m. is not that hour. So when Reddit user doinkypoink was met with a man who was buying two boxes of wine along with anti-hangover pills at that early hour, he knew what that guy’s day would look like, and it wasn’t pretty.
Next: Too much of a good thing can go bad.
4. Condiments in bulk
How long is it going to take you to get through all those?
Some people can get carried away with the idea of scoring something for nothing. The lure of a good deal overshadows the reality sometimes. No, they probably won’t ever consume 217 bottles of dressing. But they bought them simply because they had enough coupon clippings to do so (without paying a dime, we might add.) Impressive, yet a little OCD? Possibly. Redditor Juiceboxheero seems to be just as confused as we are.
Next: You knew this one was coming.
5. Condoms and frozen pizza
They know what you’ll be doing later.
As we mentioned earlier, there were tons of comments about people buying condoms, so we just picked out one of our favorites. While Reddit user Kwuahh says there’s not much judging with these purchases, they certainly create a mystery worthy of trying to solve. Clearly, there’s only one thing cashiers can assume when they see condoms and frozen pizza in the same cart. That shopper is obviously “some sort of sex-god who lures in victims with delectable food.”
Next: More creepy stuff coming your way
6. Kleenex, lube, and pantyhose
Is he keeping someone in his basement?
Sure, the guy could be buying some items for his lovely wife. But when an individual repeatedly buys these items every other week, he’s bound to raise suspicion. According to Redditor Kittykittymeowz, there’s reason to wonder: “[The customer] stocks up on condoms, lube, Kleenex and pantyhose. Minimum 3 of each item.” And the running joke between this Reddit user and coworkers? The customer has little girls locked in his basement. Clearly, that’s not funny — just very, very creepy.
Next: Ew. Just, ew.
7. Wet produce or leaking meat
Put these items in little plastic bags, or clerks will hate you forever.
Although Reddit user amyorsomething says she tries not to judge people she only sees for five minutes each week, there are some things that drive her absolutely bonkers. She says, ” … if you buy wet produce and leaking meat and bags of clams and don’t put them in the little plastic bags, I hate you. Oh my god, I hate you.” So, there you have it. Never, ever go to the checkout with products that aren’t properly contained.
Next: Here’s to you — a real man.
8. Feminine hygiene products (purchased by a man)
You are awesome.
We love this one because we’re all about equality here. The least a man can do to show support for what women have to deal with every month is by offering to run this errand for the important ladies in his life. Whether the feminine products are for his wife or daughters, this guy recognizes the need, and that’s pretty great. As Redditor Belle1010 simply puts it, “When a guy is buying tampons and/or pads. I am silently thinking, ‘You are awesome.'” And we wholeheartedly agree. Keep it up, gentlemen.
Next: Don’t be this person.
9. Exact change
It’s nice … until you make everyone behind you wait in line forever.
Sure, having exact change is great, but don’t waste everyone else’s time digging in your bottomless purse for it. And that’s not the only money-related faux pas cashiers can’t stand. Apparently, there are some customers who ask if the cashier will let a few cents slide. As Redditor Davey_J says, this kind of request is, of course, totally absurd.
Next: Really, guys? Really?
10. Lottery tickets with cash, while using EBT cards for food
It’s just not right.
Government assistance programs, like food stamps and WIC, are great for those who really benefit from them. But like most things in life, there are the few who take advantage of the system. When it came to sifting through store clerks’ comments, judging shoppers on how they used their EBT cards was pretty high on the list.
One Reddit user said, “Lottery tickets. I see people dropping twenty bucks a day on them and then using their EBT for food purchases. I just can’t understand that mentality.” Trust us, this guy’s not alone in his sentiment, either.
Next: This is just poor judgement.
11. Soda for kids
You know your kid doesn’t need soda, right?
We’ve seen a lot from folks who get infuriated at parental behavior at the grocery store. For instance, buying only junk food with kids in tow really seems to get cashiers on Reddit fired up. Is it only for the parents? Probably not, considering there’s no other healthy food in the cart. So, what’s GruffalosChild’s response every time a parent claims that soda is all their children will drink? “If there is no soda around, they won’t drink it.” There’s no arguing with that logic.
Next: Do the work before.
12. Expired coupons
Coupon-clipping is a true art form. The time it takes alone is enough to steer some folks far away from giving the task a try. But it’s not the coupons that clerks mind. It is, however, the wrath bestowed onto the poor, innocent cashiers each time they have to tell a customer his or her coupon has expired.
“People don’t bother to read the fine print,” Brandon H., a supermarket chain employee who’s worked as a bagger, cashier, and supervisor, told Rodale’s Organic Life. “You haven’t truly seen the worst of what humanity has to offer until you tell an old lady that her 49-cent coupon expired two days ago.” Save your cashier the trouble of having to be the bearer of bad news, and make sure you check the expiration dates before you check out.
Next: There’s no fooling the store clerk with this one.
13. Fancy fruit you can’t name
You’re not as cultured a cook as you’d like clerks to believe.
Getting creative in the kitchen is a wonderful undertaking. But if you have little experience or know-how, don’t think you’ll be fooling your cashier anytime soon. In fact, they’ll probably be turning to you to figure out what something is, which means there’s no escaping your true novice identity.
“Sometimes, people will bring up a produce item without a tag, and I don’t know what it is,” Brandon says. “But when I ask them, they don’t even have a guess.” Save yourself the embarrassment and make sure you look at the product label before you bring it to the register.
Next: Who knew you actually had to wash these?
14. Your filthy reusable shopping bags
You do realize those could make you sick, right?
Reusable grocery bags are great. They’re good for the planet and even better for your wallet in states that charge extra for paper or plastic bags. But be careful when it comes to the cleanliness of those environmentally-conscious food carriers of yours. Turns out, they could be harboring E. coli.
Wash your bags regularly, so the grocery store clerk will stop giving you looks that insinuate just how dirty of a person he thinks you are.
Next: This is never a good look.
15. Your bad attitude
Clerks deserve respect, too.
Of course, we found a lot of store clerks who say they don’t judge people based on what they have in their carts. It’s either none of their business, they understand the human condition, or they just don’t care. But one thing that’s never in style, regardless of where you are or the company you’re in, is treating others poorly.
Not at all surprisingly, cashiers like when you treat them with respect — just as you should anyone else. They appreciate folks who acknowledge their presence and aren’t yapping away on their phones throughout the transaction. Give a little kindness, and it’ll go a long way.
Read more: 10 Grocery Store Foods That Are a Rip-off