The Annoying Things I See At The Grocery Store

Mini Rant Ahead

I have to confess that grocery shopping is not one of my favorite past times. Now, when I was morbidly obese, I loved to go the grocery store. My favorite aisle? The candy aisle. My second favorite aisle? The cracker and cookie aisle. My third favorite? The frozen confections.

I never, ever looked at a nutrition label. “Who cares about what is in it?” I’d consciously think if I saw another women looking at the side of a box. All I cared about was what the food inside the box tasted like. I looked forward to pulling out the brightly colored packages and showing John and the girls what I had purchased. If I had been honest, I was the one who was really looking forward to eating the contents of the donut bag, the Oreo package, the Breyer’s ice cream in the black box, or the chips inside the crinkly bag.

I don’t really love to go grocery shopping anymore for a variety of reasons, but the most compelling reason I have for not loving grocery shopping is reading the front of the boxed foods.

I’m tired of seeing claims on foods that are misleading at best and untrue at worst. Have you noticed that many, many foods claim to have 0% trans fat when they never had any trans fat in the first place. And the more worrisome fact, there may not be any trans fat in those foods, but there are loads of other ingredients from high fructose corn syrup to chemical additives. Someone who wasn’t paying attention may choose that food because they make the assumption that because the food is devoid of trans fats, it is healthier for them. This annoys me a lot.

I also get annoyed with the whole sugar cereal thing. I mean, really, children do not need to eat cereals with dye-laden pieces of sugar-filled rice. The ads on television that kids see make them beg their moms for those cereals while sitting in the grocery cart. I can’t tell you how many times I see a mom reluctantly give in. That mom knows it’s not great, but the mom may be like I was and justify the selection. The front of that same cereal box also declares how the cereals are fortified with vitamins and a good source of “whole grains.”

I freely admit to buying Oreo cereal, Reese’s chocolate puff cereal, and Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles. I honestly didn’t think too much about what was in the foods – just about whether the kids would eat them. Sadly, when I stopped buying them, and switched to healthier cereals like oats and those from Attune Foods, the kids initially complained because they had developed a taste for sugar in the morning.

I also get annoyed by the fact that many foods have less product than they used to and cost more money. Foods that used to have 16 ounces now have 13 ounces and cost $1.00 more. Think crackers. Think diapers. Think family sized cereal boxes.

Another pet peeve of mine is when stores put signs on the store shelves under foods that says “NEW LOWER PRICE.” For example, a brown rice that I buy used to cost $2.49. The next week I went in and the sign said “NEW LOWER PRICE” The new price? 2 for $5.00. Now, my degree is in Finance, but even for the mathematically challenged, this is not a lower price.

Well, I don’t often rant on my blog. But, yesterday was grocery shopping day and I came home thinking about how these practices still annoy me after all these years! Do you have any grocery store/food packaging pet peeves?  Diane

29 thoughts on “The Annoying Things I See At The Grocery Store

  1. Diane Carbonell says:

    Wow those pictures were very telling. I don’t think all cereal is junk though. Here are the ingredients for Uncle Sam’s original: Whole wheat kernels, whole flaxseed, salt, barley malt. Also I have a brown puffed rice cereal that has only natural ingredients, and Post’s shredded wheat has only wheat. So there are some that are good, but I agree that on the whole, the cereal aisle is full of brightly colored boxes filled with little nutrients, a lot of sugar, and tons of chemical additives.

  2. Faye says:

    I completely agree. It is so annoying to have to be careful with what we buy, but I guess that’s the price of convenience. It makes it all the more important to know what we are buying and what’s in it.

    One of my pet peeves is convenice items such as “pre-boiled eggs!” Really? I don’t even want to know what is in the liquid surrounding those eggs that someone in some factory boiled and shipped to my grocery store. Yuck.

  3. Gail says:

    It’s everywhere in the grocery store, from one end of it to another. I am very budget conscious so I get annoyed with the playing around with prices as well. I remember numbers well and it galls me when I see them advertise a product as “on sale” when it was exactly the same price two days before. Really.

    And from a nutrition standpoint, it just shows that we as consumers have to take charge and not believe anything we read.

  4. Esther Mayo says:

    I have only recently moved to this country. Where I was from we did not have grocery stores this big and we bought fresh mainly. I try to eat like I did in Mexico and that is hard because the kids want the junk boxes on the shelves.

  5. Mark Miller says:

    I am the primary shopper/cook because I get off work earlier than my wife. After having lost about 50 pounds I have finally learned that I cannot rely on labels and need to investigate for myself.

    We do buy cereals but they are ones with few ingredients that I can pronounce. I find it interesting how heavily marketed the processed foods are – I suppose thats where the money is – not with fruits/vegetables.

  6. Sarah Kewer says:

    Amen to this post. I feel like a policeman when I go shopping with my kids. I am constantly telling them “no” to the bright boxes of cookies, crackers, cereals. I choose healthy versions and would not take them shopping with me but I have to because of childcare issues.

    We definitely pay a price with our health for convenience.

  7. Contemplative FItness says:

    This is not original, but it rings true more and more: If your food needs a label, it;s not food.

    That said, I LOVE to grocery shop. I do so daily. Maybe because I work from home and I live in a small town, so the produce section is my social life. I just love all the colors and textures.

    I scan the isles from the ends and think as I scan them, “Do I need anything down there? Nope.”

    Of course my child is grown so it’s easier….

    • Janis says:

      I shop like that — peering down the aisle from the edge going, “Nope, nope, nope, wait a minute I need toothpaste … ” My mantra whenever I shop is in and out as fast as possible so I can get back to whatever I was doing before I had to go shopping. I’m even like that for clothes. I cannot stand those hours-long grazing expeditions that some people do when they shop for clothes. Know what you want before you go, get it, and LEAVE.

  8. Babbalou says:

    Cereals can be the worst! There are some good options but they’re greatly outnumbered by the poor options. When my kids were young, I’d occasionally buy a box of the sugar bomb type of cereal but it had to be eaten as a dessert, they weren’t allowed to eat it in in the morning before school. They thought I was weird then, but now neither of them eat much sweets or processed foods. I buy hardly any processed foods, 90% of my grocery store time is spent in the produce section. It drives me crazy to see the crap people buy – multiple cases of soda, big bags of chips and cookies and most of the cart filled with food in boxes. I always think, “So, you’re going for the diabetes, are you?” in my best Fargo accent (to myself, not out loud).

  9. Dr. J says:

    The thing that I dislike the most at a grocery store is seeing people who lay on top of the cart when they shop instead of standing up straight and pushing it! Didn’t their mom tell them to do that as a kid?

  10. Marc says:

    My pet peeve is the over the top friendly/chatty and chummy cashiers. I don’t want to share your something funny happened the other day story, what happened on your last break, or that you have 25 more minutes till your shift is over, and then you’re free from bondage for another day rant. Just ring up my groceries and let me get the hell out of here.

  11. Laura Jane says:

    I know, I hate the labels on the front of the box, especially on things that never had the “bad” thing in them to begin with (like a “fat free” label on marshmallows). Also, don’t get me started on the “organic” junk food. Yes, the cookies might be made with real sugar instead of HFCS, and I suppose that’s marginally better for you, but they are still loaded with empty calories. Really, the whole HFCS aversion irritates me. I don’t think HFCS is good for us and I think it’s best to avoid it when possible, but replacing all that with sugar isn’t a whole lot better. It seems most people feel comforted when a food doesn’t have HFCS, even if it has a ton of sugar and empty calories.

  12. emmaclaire says:

    At my regular grocery store, I’m known as “The Produce Lady”, and the newer checkers panic just a little when they see my pile that needs to be punched in rather than just scanned. As my daughter said, better to be known as that than “the Twinkie Lady” or something!

  13. Joe says:

    The trans fat annoys me as well as “whole grains”. There is a lot of unhealthy foods that us “whole grains” in the labeling to appear better for you.

  14. Lori says:

    One of the hugest peeves I have with the cereal industry is the touting of “Contains 30 grams of whole grains per serving” – which a lot of people probably think is actual fiber. Ummm… all cereals start out at whole grain at some point, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been refined to the hilt before hitting the box. Like Lucky Charms is chock full of whole grains. Big eye roll there.

  15. Gwen says:

    Not only the sugar, fat, and salt, but I’m finding real issues with HIDDEN MSG. Food manufacturers are so darned sneaky. Did you know that fresh produce is being sprayed with MSG, in the field? For those of us sensitive, we can’t eat most fresh produce anymore unless it’s carefully regimented organic. Any time you see ‘natural flavors’ or ‘spices’, that’s their key-phrase for MSG. Read up on it. You’ll be shocked.

    But it’s not only food/markets. I got an ad from Coach Factory for “an additional 50% off”…I looked for a bag I was looking at last week that was 30% off. For the 50% off, they ADDED to the ‘regular’ price, so the 50% off was the SAME EXACT price as the 30% off the week before!

    You just can’t trust any of them. Honestly.

  16. Cindy says:

    Growing up my mother thought she was feeding us the healthy cereal for years. We couldn’t have the junk cereal. Now as an adult I check the labels and although the cereals we had were better than most they sure are not the health food we were lead to believe.
    My problem at the store is the large family that shops. Why do you need 4 adults and 4 children to grocery shop? Some of you people could be enjoying the park while the others shop. Instead entire isles are blocked by a group of people standing around. I don’t get it.

  17. MamaBearJune says:

    You know, I used to get the Special K dark chocolate cereal. Then I started reading labels. I love how Special K centers their whole advertising campaign around women’s HEALTH and puts total CRAP in their products. Almost everything I checked had high fructose corn syrup in it! It’s the same thing with energy “health” bars. The list of unknown, unpronounceable chemicals is as long as my arm most of the time! That’s why I only buy Larabars for me. Three or four ingredients, healthy natural foods!

  18. Janis says:

    My fave was always “cholesterol-free!” on enormously high-fat things that aren’t made with any animal products. Cholesterol is an animal product. We’re animals. Eat a lot of fat, and guess what your body will manufacture just fine on its own?

  19. julie says:

    The odd thing, if I see a label that says 0g trans fat, that generally means that it has 0.4999999999999 g trans fat/serving. But I fully agree as far as “cholesterol free” vegan products, “fat free” anything, or “made with whole grain”. I do eat a fair amount of cereal, but hate it sweet, especially in the morning, which really freaked out the moms when I was a kid, and would refuse to eat sweet cereal, or grossest of all, cereal with sugar added. They thought there was something wrong with me. Now I eat “whole grain” cereal, and it tastes slightly better than cardboard, and I like it just fine.

    The grocery store that I currently like allows me to bring in my own jars and shop right into them from the bulk bins, so I never see any labels anymore.

  20. Madijo @ Fixing Me says:

    I am an avid label reader! I am slowly converting my son to a healthier lifestyle. This involves informing him of what is in the food he is eating. I want him to know what is going inside his body. He is a teenager so it is an uphill battle.

  21. Dr. Haley Perlus says:

    I do most of the grocery shopping and I find it easiest to stick to my grocery list. My goal is to be in and out, leaving little time to explore foods not on my list. I know variety is the spice of life, but I choose to add variety in other parts of my life outside of food.

    I just found your blog Diane, and so far, I love what I read – thank you!

  22. PlumPetals says:

    I’m particularly annoyed with the front of the box labels. It really is misleading, and I think it’s frustrating for those who are starting out with the weight loss process and they think that they are making healthy choices by buying certain products (whole grain etc.) but they’re really misleading. It makes me upset because weight loss is tough enough. Add to it the mix of misinformation by food marketing and it sometimes just feels like everything and everyone is against you!

  23. Rachelle says:

    I totally agree with you! All of these things bother me too! I especially hate the products that say “low fat” and in reality they are only 0.5 grams lower than the regular ones. I do not think that is “low fat”. Yes, technically that is lower than the regular product, but that term makes you think it is a healthy choice when it’s really no better than any other choice. I think that is a conscious effort the manufacturer or advertiser makes to mislead consumers and I consider it an outright lie.

    I admit that I do buy one of those sugar cereals for my kids, but in my defense they only get to eat cold cereal about once or twice a month. Honestly. I consider it a treat just like cookies or ice cream. One big way that I avoid giving in to my children on the cereal thing is to not take them to the grocery store with me in the first place. I find it so much easier to come home with better food choices when they aren’t there secretly adding things to the cart or begging the entire time we are in the store for this goody or that goody.

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