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Why Do Some People Hate Grocery Shopping?

If the impending need to go to the grocery store gives you anxiety, then you’re not alone! Going grocery shopping can be the most dreaded chore of the week, with over half of shoppers reporting that they hate going to the grocery store.

Some of the most common reasons people hate grocery shopping include:

  • Too few checkout lanes
  • Long lines
  • Overcrowded aisles
  • Inability to find items
  • Insufficient parking
  • Unhealthy food choices
  • Low-quality produce
  • Unfriendly employees
  • Time-consuming trips
  • Improper bagging

If you’re reading this list thinking these are all the reasons you also hate going to the grocery store, hang in there!

I will provide you with some solutions to make your weekly grocery hauls more enjoyable.

What’s the Worst Part About Grocery Shopping?

Although grocery shopping is an unavoidable part of life, there are several factors that make it a chore rather than an enjoyable outing.

The most common thought is that grocery shopping causes inconvenience.

Whether it feels like a time suck or a source of frustration while waiting around to find items and waiting in line, these inconveniences can often be avoided with some simple tweaks to your grocery shopping routine.

Top 10 Reasons People Hate Grocery Shopping

There are several reasons consumers dread a trip to the grocery store. Based on feedback from shoppers, below are the 10 common reasons people hate grocery shopping.

1. Too Few Checkout Counters Open

This is the number one complaint across several surveys taken from consumers. Having an easy and speedy checkout is often the number one priority for shoppers, as only having one checkout counter for a long line of customers can increase stress and frustration.

Although opting for self-checkout can relieve this problem in some stores, it is not a complete solution.

The best way to navigate long checkout lines is by reconsidering the stores you consistently shop at.

Consumer Reports show that Walmart is the worst when it comes to a few checkout stands being open, while Trader Joe’s is the best option.

Therefore, your solution may simply be switching to a different grocery store to find more open checkout counters.

2. Long Checkout Lines

Along with having too few counters open, long checkout lines can often be outrageously long!

Although this can come from having too few checkout counters open, there are several grocery stores where all the counters are open, but you may still have to wait in line for several minutes before checking out.

Stores like Costco are generally the worst for having long lines.

They can often be surpassed slightly by using the self-checkout stands; however, the best way to avoid long lines is simply to do your shopping during low-traffic times.

The lines at stores will always be worse on the weekends, the day before a holiday, and outside of regular work hours.

If you do your shopping in the middle of the day during the week, you will likely find that lines are shorter!

3. Overcrowded Aisles

Another downside to shopping during hectic times is dealing with overcrowded aisles.

This is a major downfall for shoppers who are in a hurry, as packed aisles can make it hard to find items.

The grocery store rated as having the least packed aisles is BJ’s Wholesale Club. But if you don’t have a BJ’s close by, there are other ways to avoid an overcrowded or narrow aisle.

For those who aren’t in a huge hurry, waiting until the crowd clears out of an aisle is recommended.

I wrote a separate article about finding the least-crowded times at grocery stores, so if you’re interested in learning more, you should check out that article.

4. Difficulty Finding Items

A major frustration when it comes to grocery shopping is not finding all of the items on your list.

Not being able to find what you need can quickly turn into stopping by several stores within your day just to find one item!

This can end up being an all-day grocery trip and, unfortunately, is unavoidable sometimes.

If there is a specific item you need and do not want to spend the day driving around, be sure to call your local grocery store ahead of time to see if they have the item you need.

Since many of your staples may be found at any store, if you call ahead about the specialty items, this can save you several trips to additional stores.

5. Insufficient Parking Space

Not being able to find a parking spot can be aggravating, especially if the weather is less than ideal to be walking a distance to the store.

This is also a major complaint from older shoppers who are simply unable to walk a long distance with their bags.

If you’re unable to find stores with larger lots, it’s ideal to shop during off-hours and days to improve your chances of finding a spot closer to the store.

6. Unhealthy Food Choices

Another major problem shoppers have is not finding affordable and healthy options in local grocery stores.

Unfortunately, for so many shoppers, there simply are no healthy options, which can make each trip to the store frustrating with processed and fatty foods.

This is an additional stressor for those who do not have a variety of options when it comes to finding stores with healthy foods.

A great option for those with the means is to order healthier food through delivery services like Misfits Market, Hungry Harvest, or Farmbox Direct.

These services will deliver healthy foods regardless of what you’re able to find at your local supermarket.

Unfortunately, services like these are not as widely accessible to lower-income households due to additional costs with delivery.  

7. Low-Quality Produce

This is a problem many regions that do not produce crops can suffer from depending on the season.

Unfortunately, as produce gets shipped across the country or even the world, it loses nutritional value.

Therefore, finding stores that do not have local or higher-quality produce options can be a big hurdle for many shoppers.

Subscribing to some of the services mentioned in the above section can be a solution to this grocery shopping downfall.

For others, it can help in finding higher quality produce by inquiring about when your specific store restocks.

Shopping on that day will minimize the amount of time your produce is sitting in the store and can result in better, healthier food with more nutrients.

8. Overly Time Consuming

Grocery shopping can often take way too long between the drive to the store, finding parking, waiting in lines, and trying to get out of the supermarket as quickly as possible.

Going food shopping for the week can turn into an all-day outing!

Try saving yourself some time by finding a store as close to your house as possible to trim off some minutes of your drive.

You can also save some time by taking shorter and more frequent trips to the store.

Rather than going once every ten days and spending an hour finding all your food for the week, try going twice in those ten days and only spending 15 to 20 minutes getting your food.

This will turn your grocery shopping trips into shorter commitments that will better fit your schedule.

9. Unfriendly Employees

Approaching a grocery store employee for help, or even just to check out, can often be a daunting task if the store staff is not helpful or friendly.

For those shopping at new stores, this is likely more of an issue as you may need more help finding items.

A great way to avoid interacting with employees, however, is to use the self-checkout.

10. Improper Bagging

Have you ever been to a store where the baggers only put one item in each bag? This can be so irritating, especially for the environmentally conscious!

Improper bagging techniques can often be solved by asking to bag your own items.

Whether you are using a reusable bag or the store’s bags, you can always request to bag your items to your liking!


I covered the top reasons people hate grocery shopping and provided you with some solutions to these common complaints.

Although going to the grocery store can bring several inconveniences and frustrations, by making small changes to your shopping routine, you can save yourself some time and stress!

Try adopting some of the small shifts I mentioned in the article to see if your mentality around grocery shopping changes at all.

To learn more about grocery shopping, check out the articles below.

Related Articles:

How Often Should You Buy Groceries?

When Do Grocery Stores Restock? (Here’s What to Expect)

Is Using the Grocery Self-Checkout Worth It? (Yes, Here’s Why)

What Is the Best Time to Go Grocery Shopping? (At Your Local Store)

Can a Grocery Store Ban You?

About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of He has over a decade of experience in consumer goods and launched many products sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

Eril loves food, traveling, and trying out new restaurants. Outside of work, you can find him on a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

June 5, 2023