You really don't want to be that person. Let's brush up on our shopping etiquette.
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Shot of a young woman shopping in a grocery store
Credit: Tassii/Getty Images

Whether you love your weekly grocery shopping trip or absolutely dread it, it has to get done at some point. But sometimes food shopping can feel about as stressful as the Hunger Games. We get it, heading to the market isn't always a fun experience, but it doesn't have to bring out the worst in us. So if you don't want to be the person everyone is shooting dirty looks at, you might want to make sure you're not committing any of these grocery store faux pas. 

You might not even realize some of the things are rude, but, take it from us, there's a lot of unspoken store etiquette that you should be following. We scoured the internet to find the most annoying things customers do at the grocery store, according to employees, managers, and even other shoppers. Here's what we found:

The Most Annoying Things You Can Do at the Grocery Store

Park Your Cart in the Middle of the Aisle

The aisle is small enough as it is to fit all those people and their carts, so there's nothing worse than someone leaving their cart in the middle of the aisle while they go to grab something. Now you can't get around without knocking their cart out of the way, so you're basically at their mercy until they return for their abandoned buggy.

Instead of just dropping your cart wherever you're standing to grab that pasta sauce from the top shelf, pull it off to the side. Try to give everyone enough space to pass by — especially if you're going to be in that spot for a while.

Go the Wrong Way up the Aisle

Driving a cart is like driving a car: the same traffic laws apply. Always drive on the right side of the aisle — even if you need something on the other side. If that's the case, park your buggy off to the side, cross the aisle (after looking both ways), and grab what you need. 

If you want to pass someone, make sure there is no incoming traffic from the left side, then pass on the left. 

The same goes for when you're exiting an aisle. Treat it like a stop sign: look both ways and don't rush out in front of someone else. No one wants a grocery store collision.

Loiter in Front of the Products

We get it, there are a lot of brands and products to choose from. However, you shouldn't block the entire coffee creamer section for 10 minutes while you're reading ingredients and trying to decide which flavor you want. If you don't have a plan in mind, stand back where you can still see the products, but aren't in the way of other shoppers. And, if you do have to stand in front of the section to see, make sure to move out of the way if someone wants to grab something.

Put Perishable Items Back in the Non-Perishable Aisle

Maybe you grabbed something and then realized you didn't need it or you found a better deal somewhere else in the store, we've all been there. But just because you no longer plan to buy it doesn't mean you can just leave it wherever you want — especially if it's a perishable item. 

There's no reason you should leave a gallon of milk sitting in the chip aisle. Chances are an employee won't be able to find it quickly enough before it spoils so it will end up in the trash. No matter how tedious it is, always walk your unwanted products back to where you got them. It'll save the employees from a big headache later.

Use the Express Lane With Too Many Items

When you just need to grab a few things, the express lane is like a godsend at the grocery store. So, it's incredibly frustrating to enter the 10 items or less line and see someone unloading an entire cart full of groceries. 

Some cashiers won't serve people with substantially more than the allotted number of items, but the cashier doesn't need to be put in that position in the first place. If you have more than what the express lane allows, we're sorry to say, you need to wait in the regular line (no matter how long that line is).

Unload Your Items at Checkout Before the Person in Front of You Is Done Unloading Theirs

We know grocery store checkout can sometimes be a long process, but you can't rush the person in front of you in hopes the line will move faster. When you get to the counter, don't start throwing your groceries on the belt while the person in front of you is still unloading theirs. Once the belt starts moving and your groceries crowd into their space, they'll have to make do with the little space they have left. No can towers, please!

Leave the Checkout Counter to Grab Another Item

We know you think it won't take long to leave the checkout counter to grab that one final item. But, you're not an Olympic athlete, and you're holding up the line. If you need to leave the line before you're at the counter, take your groceries with you and get back in at the end of the line when you return. 

If the cashier has already started scanning your products, you shouldn't leave the line. Instead, check out and if you really need that product, do another lap through the grocery store and checkout again.

Leave Trash in the Cart When You're Done Shopping

No one wants to grab a cart and find it filled with used coupons, receipts, and whatever else you threw in the buggy during your trip. So, when you put the cart back in the corral, empty it too. Most of the time there are trash cans near the store or in the parking lot — and if there aren't, add your remnants to your car trash pile.

Leave the Cart in the Parking Lot

You're done unloading your cart and ready to leave, what do you do? Definitely don't just leave the cart in the middle of the parking lot! Come on, a few more steps to the cart corral won't hurt you — they have those in the parking lot for a reason. 

Most grocery stores don't even ask you to take the cart back to the store — but places like Aldi have started requiring it. Aldi knows that this is a huge problem, and that's why they make you "rent" their carts for 25 cents. That way, if you want your quarter back, you have to link it back up to the other carts in the corral.

Be Rude to the Employees

The Golden Rule here is just don't be rude in general. The cashiers, baggers, and other employees are humans too, so please treat them as such. There's no need to start a fight with anyone over an expired coupon or your deli meat being an ounce off from your requested weight. Remember what your parents always said: treat others as you would like to be treated.