A person grocery shopping.

4 Things Good Humans Never Do at the Grocery Store

Good humans live by a code.

I really don’t care what people do at the grocery store. I don’t spend my time walking the aisles, judging others on their shopping habits. However, the grocery store can serve as a great representation of how you approach life. Your actions inside those walls can reveal the kind of person you are.

A “good” one or the dreaded “bad” one.

I’m not here to define what a good person is. Mostly because it’s really hard. But I know it when I see it. You probably do too. Here are four things good humans do at the grocery store, based on my observations. Don’t get too hung up on that though.

Rather, focus your attention on how those things reveal the bigger picture.


1. Scowl at employees

I worked at Costco many years ago. I didn’t want to be there just as much as the person waiting in line didn’t. But there we both were. And it was that lack of desire that bonded us. That put us in the same position.

We were equals.

I would greet them with a smile and the classic, “How’s your day going?” They would then reply with the also classic, “It’s going. How about you?” to which I would respond with the somewhat sarcastic, somewhat sincere, “Great!” That would conclude our conversation. The patron would then make their way to the exit.

That said, every so often I’d encounter a scowler.

Someone who was sour and wanted to show it. They would fill our brief time together with rude comments and criticisms. They weren’t having a bad day, they were having a bad life and wanted everyone to share in their dark cloud. Like they wanted to bring us down from whatever happiness we had been feeling. And they often succeeded.

Here’s the takeaway: Good humans treat everyone with kindness and respect.


2. Leave items strewn about

I went clothes shopping with my grandma once. As I left the changing room, she looked inside. To her dismay, she saw everything laying on the ground in a pile. She instructed me to clean up the mess I had made. I replied with something sassy. She said I was better than that. Classic child to grandparent conversation.

I cleaned it up.

To this day, when I feel lazy about putting something back on the hanger in a store, I think of our time together.

Most grocery stores don’t sell clothes. But Costco goes. And I consider Costco a grocery store. So my story is relevant. And my point is this: Good humans are considerate of others. They don’t leave a hurricane in their wake. Instead, they have respect and gratitude for the people they encounter.

They put clothes back on the hanger in the store and in life.


3. Abandon frozen food in random places

It’s one thing to leave a bag of candy over by the peanuts. It’s entirely different to desert raw chicken next to the canned goods. The former is an annoyance to the person who has to put it back. The latter is a ruining of what could have been a very delicious lunch for two.

It’s hard to pass judgment though.

We’ve all been there. You pick something up to only realize later you don’t need it. So you set it aside, wherever you may be. However, if you discard something that will go bad if left unfound, that’s just wasteful.

Good humans don’t do that. They don’t hide fresh chicken ironically behind cans of chicken of the sea.

Rather, they carry the chicken with them to the front. They tell the cashier they don’t want the chicken and then the cashier is able to deal with it as needed. Put another way, good humans take responsibility for their actions. They don’t run away from their obligations. They own up to them.


4. Leave trash in the cart

There’s nothing like pushing carts outside on a hot summer day. The sweat, the fatigue, the exhaustion. You got to love it. There’s one thing that enhances the experience even more though: picking up trash.

Most people throw their trash away. If they wipe their cart down, they dispose of the wipe in the nearby receptacle. Some people don’t though. For whatever reason, they like to leave the used towelette in the cart. They go about their shopping and leave just like everyone else.

Except they always forget one thing: the used wipe. It remains in the cart for younger me to pick up with my thumb and index finger. Not cool.

Good humans clean up after themselves.

They don’t make a mess and then walk away. Instead, they clean it up. They own the mess and make it right. Whether that means throwing away a wipe at the store or apologizing to someone they wronged.


Final thoughts

Your shopping habits reflect your life habits. How you treat the employees, the carts, and the items as a whole represent you as a person. For your reference once more, here are four things good humans do at the grocery store and in life.

  1. Treat others with kindness and respect.
  2. Are considerate.
  3. Own their responsibilities.
  4. Clean up after themselves.

I’m not here to pass judgment. I’ve done many of the “bad” things described above. And I’m not here to complain as someone who used to work in a grocery store. Rather, I’m here like you because I want to be better. I want to be a better husband, father, writer, athlete, patron, and overall person.

I’m sure you want betterment as well.

So moving forward, in the grocery store and in life, consider the points made above. Whether or not they ring true to you doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are thinking about them, that you are looking for ways to improve that make sense to you.

Your shopping habits are a great representation of how you approach life. Your actions inside those walls reveal the kind of person you are.

Want to hear more from me?