What You Hate About Retailers

Over at DailyFinance.com, they asked readers to give nominate the most annoying ways in which retail stores try to squeeze you for extra cash or tempt you into spending more.

In addition to the standards like Christmas Creep, bait-and-switch, up-selling and mis-priced products, some the items on their list of Retailers’ 15 Most Annoying Habits include:

Telling You How Much You “Saved”
Many readers find it annoying that, as they’re paying their bill, the cashier will often tell them how much they supposedly saved by shopping there. “That I call insulting your intelligence,” says one commenter. Even worse, another reader notes that when you turn down the much-despised store credit card offer, the salesperson will sometimes say, “‘You could have saved X dollars if you had our card.’ It’s like you’re a child, and they’re scolding you.”

Putting Items Coveted by Children Near the Checkout
It’s not only parents who hate this tactic. All shoppers have to hear small children cry and beg for items near the checkout that parents don’t want to waste money on. Frequently they give in, to stop the embarrassing wails. Complains one parent: “Even if you manage to avoid the toy section while shopping with your children, they still manage to see something that they will want and throw a fit over not getting before you manage to get them out of the store.”

Retailers’ 15 Most Annoying Habits: Readers Speak Out [DailyFinance.com]

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Edit Your Comment

  1. chrisgoh says:

    Hitting you up for a charitable donation on every visit. It is one thing if they are doing something special, but it really bothers me when they ask on every single purchase, 365 days a year. Petsmart for example.

    • AstroWorn2010 says:

      Agreed, I get the feeling from the cashier when I say no that somewhere an animal is being killed as a result.

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        “No, huh?” she said, as the checkout girl reached for the PA system microphone. “Bob, please shoot one puppy, this guy doesn’t want to round up his purchase to $50 to save its life!”

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      ESPECIALLY if it’s not even a charity. I had one store ask to donate to help out an actual employee.

      • Ted3 says:

        Yeah..At a local Starbucks they have a sign up asking for a $5 donation for an employee. You get a wristband.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      My local PetSmart has it on the POS screen, so all I have to do is click “no” – I don’t think I’ve ever been asked but once or twice.

      • sagodjur says:

        I like that you can say no to the POS machine, but then at other places, Safeway for instance, you can tell the POS machine “no” and the cashier will then ask you later. That’s a big pain.

        Self-checkout would solve this problem.

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      Sorry, I gave at work.

    • Mamudoon says:

      This is absolutely the thing I hate the most about retailers. NO, I’M NOT GIVING TO YOUR CHARITY. And stop making me look like a damn Scrooge for saying no.

      However, Petsmart and their “donate $1 to help homeless pets” gets me every time. I’m a sucker for helping animals.

    • borgia says:

      My biggest hate about the charitable donations is that they are for the store’s PR. If the store wants good PR it should spend its own money, and I will choose my donations after researching the organization. I will not donate money to discrimanatory organizations. Or an organization like United Way. (which just needs to die)

    • Garbanzo says:

      At Safeway I’ve actually been asked “Do you want to donate $1 for breast cancer?” or “to support prostate cancer?” Uh, no thanks. I don’t think those are things we should be encouraging.

    • Keep talking...I'm listening says:

      This —

      Let me outline a typical visit to Wal-Mart (ugh)

      At the corner of the parking lot is a beggar with sign asking for money
      In the parking lot are kids in football gear selling candy bars for their school
      At the door are people representing the Wal-Mart approved charity of the month
      At the register are opportunities to donate to the local food pantry
      Accosted again by the Wal-Mart approved charity of the month on exit
      Accosted again by the kids in football gear selling candy bars for their school in the parking lot
      At the corner of the parking lot are two beggars with signs asking for money.
      At the gas pumps an individual from out of town who had their wallet stolen and needs a couple of bucks of gas to make it home

      I don’t want to come across anti-human or anti-charity, but it’s hard to not become jaded when bombarded constantly

      • Big Mama Pain says:

        Yep!!! That is why I love shopping at Target-they don’t allow that shit. Every year, the media tries to trot out some smear campaign about how Target won’t let Salvation Army ring the bell out in front of their stores during the holiday shopping season, and there is usually a backlash of millions of customers flocking there in thanks.

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          If you are harrassed by the existence of bell ringers, then maybe you should just stay indoors.

          • KCBassCadet says:

            What a ridiculous comment. I should stay indoors because I don’t want to listen to some goons ringing a bell incessantly, all in the name of a dubious charity that has a history of homophobia? Any self-respecting retailer would never allow any such panhandling near their business.

        • poco says:

          I greatly prefer Target to Wal-mart for a variety of reasons. The lack of bell ringers and other panhandlers at Christmas is icing on the cake.

        • kujospam says:

          Wow didn’t know about this. I will now shop at target around Christmas time.

        • Red Cat Linux says:

          Hmm. The Targets in this area do allow Salvation Army bell ringers.

          Them, and nobody else. Probably because the red theme goes so well with Target, I dunno.

      • Fett101 says:

        FYI, those kids selling candy bars are pretty much all scams.

    • trixare4kids says:

      At the local Pac ‘n Save a few days ago, they were announcing over the intercom every time someone gave, “Donation in isle 3, yay!” or some such – it was very annoying to listen to while I shopped. I desperately needed milk, damnit, or I would have gone somewhere else.

      Then as I got in line, my cashier said, “Donation on Isle 5, that’s 5 in a row!” After she got off the intercom she shouted to the cashier in the next lane, “Oh, I hope no one breaks my streak” as she eyed those of us standing in line.

      I was all too happy to break her freaking streak.

    • Tiandli says:

      I don’t like when they ask for you to make a purchase to donate to charity. Barnes and Noble did this last Christmas, asking if I wanted to buy a $4 book for needy children. While giving to the less fortunate is admirable, what it really seemed like was that they were trying to get rid of unwanted inventory using the guilt trip tactic.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The children’s books they select for the charities are usually not “unwanted inventory” – they’re usually classics that have been around for decades or they’re newer children’s books that are in high demand. I try to donate a book through B&N every year.

        • kromelizard says:

          The last time I saw a B&N doing that my discerning professional bookseller eye pegged them as exactly that: overstock either ineligible for or rejected for return by the publisher. Different stores might use different inventory, but this one was passing off its junk.

    • Kevin says:

      Of our 4 cats, (I know, I know.) one came from a humane society and the other 3 I found at various job sites while at work. I think it’s sorta funny that Petsmart asks me for money for rescuing animals. It’s like, what do you think this cat food is for?

    • DraconWolfX says:

      I actually have no problem with the petsmart one. It’s on the Point of Sale screen and just asks if you want to donate. I always give at least a dollar. All of my pets (2 dogs, 2 cats) came from shelters and I admire the work they do. I don’t mind giving an extra dollar every time I’m at Petsmart for that cause.

      • NunShank says:

        I donate a dollar each time to the petsmart one. My dog was a rescue, and petsmart is not over doing it trying to get their name out there as a charity drive, they just want to help homeless pets.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      One retail charity thing that REALLY gets up my ass is supermarket food drives.

      Basha’s had one a while back where they advertised it relatively heavily, and IIRC, they didn’t even have any sort of matching contribution. It was the BASHA’S CANNED FOOD DRIVE or something like that. Making sure to emphasize the “Basha’s.” Not the “Kingman Area Food Bank Food Drive or something like that.” They make none of the donations, and in fact profit on every donation, and they essentially claim the donations as their own.

      That was fucking CRASS.

    • PsiCop says:

      What burns me about this practice … even more than being begged at in the first place … is that the retail establishment will inevitably add up all the money they collect from their customers, then announce that THEY made that donation. In other words, THEY will take the credit for all that largesse, and never admit that it was NOT their own donation but those of their customers.

      It’s similar to commercials you sometimes see where some vast megacorporation talks about all the volunteer work their employees do … as though the megacorporation is responsible for it. But it’s not the megacorporation’s doing, it’s their employees’.

    • BytheSea says:

      Safeway does that. Every single time, it’s something else. If you want the Safeway brand to be known with charity, then donate from the corporate store and hang up adverts saying you did it. Passing the buck to the customers comes off as sleezy to your urban customers who shop several times a week and are wise to your tactics.

    • NunShank says:

      Yeah but Petsmart doesn’t come out and ask you, it’s just an option on the screen to donate to help feed pets or charity for homeless pets. It’s a way to help give for animals. It’s not anyone begging. I dont like when people ask straight up.

  2. backinpgh says:

    I can’t take it when items are not priced at all. I shop at Ulta occasionally, and they have a nasty habit of having NO price tags on anything.

    • Buckus says:

      That is illegal. Retailers are required to place prices in conspicuous areas near the product.

      • Opdelt says:

        Cite the law you are referring to, please.

        • wrjohnston91283 says:

          It varies by state. Massachusetts requires retailers to put a price sticker on each item. Which means when something goes on sale, all items need to be repriced and when it goes off sale, they need to be repriced again.

          I believe some retailers have flat out said “it’s cheaper to pay the fine than it is to pay someone to do the work an extra two times”


          • 99 1/2 Days says:

            Jeez, that’s a ridiculous law.

            • Kate says:

              No it’s not, how do you know if the product has been rung up correctly if it’s not marked with the price? Do you memorize each item’s price before you bring them to the cashier?

              • Outrun1986 says:

                Watch the screen while they ring it up, or check your receipt as you leave the store. We always do both.

                I live in NY and I believe there is a law stating that all registers must have customer facing displays.

                But that is true, if there is no price on the item and no price on the shelf, how are you going to know if they are overcharging you? I usually scan the item at a self scanner, and assume the price that comes up is the right price, but not all stores have self scanners.

                Most stores here give you your item at whatever price rings up in the register, so if it doesn’t ring up right and its not an incredible deal, I just leave the item behind to avoid having cashiers argue with me over a 20 cent price difference as if I am taking that 20 cents directly out of their pocket.

                Kmart here didn’t put prices on the shelves for their halloween items this year, they just had blank stickers. Seems kinda pointless when they could have just printed a price on the sticker (the stickers were there, but not the prices).

    • Mamudoon says:

      I’ve left many a potential purchase on Ulta’s shelf because they didn’t have a price on it. I shouldn’t have to hunt down a salesperson (who will then try to sell me all kinds of other crap I don’t need) to see how much something costs.

    • RandomHookup says:

      My favorite is when they are doing clearances of, say, Halloween stuff. The sign says 75% off, but of what… Without original prices it’s impossible to know what the deal really is.

    • FerretGirl says:

      Ulta is the reason I originally downloaded the price tag scanner on my iphone. After using it at Ulta for a few weeks I found that the “or you could buy it in these stores nearby or online for X$” that came up after I scanned the item was always cheaper or the same as Ulta so I went and did that instead.

    • jmurf says:

      When I come across this and no one’s around to help (almost all the time), I take the items off the shelf and put them on the floor to bring them to someone’s attention.

  3. penk18 says:

    Telling us how something that comes with the thing we’re paying for is “free.”

  4. JulesNoctambule says:

    At the Kroger grocery stores in my area is that when they do a 10 for $10 sale, individual items ring up at a dollar each. At Harris Teeter, BOGO items each ring up half off so if you only want one you still save money. I can imagine why some stores might do it differently, but that would really annoy me.

    • pop top says:

      I’ve never been to a grocery store that hasn’t done it that way. I didn’t figure it out really until I started buying my own groceries, but if something is $10 for 10, it’s usually $1 each regardless of the amount that you buy. Obviously clothing stores do it differently.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Usually if it indicates you have to buy a certain amount, it’ll list the price that you get it for if you don’t buy a certain amount. I picked up some lunch meat for sandwiches and the price was $3.50 each unless you buy 3 or more, and then it would be $2.50.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That’s what Dillons does here, and I know which stores will do it and which don’t. If they don’t or I get caught by surprise, I ask the cashier to take that item off. I then either forget it or buy it elsewhere.

      It doesn’t really save me money to go to ten different stores to circumvent these tactics, so I try to shop as close to home as possible to save gas.

      • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

        I’m actually very lucky in that I live in an area where 8 different grocery stores are all bunched together. I can check each for the best deals and make a single circular trip that is only a couple miles longer than I would already be driving.

    • backinpgh says:

      In Pennsylvania it’s illegal to force you to buy a certain number of items to get the sale price (on food items only). So if cereal is marked 10 for $10, they have to give it to you for $1 each. This doesn’t apply to clothing or anything else though.

    • AngryK9 says:

      Kroger has a habit of pricing items which are normally priced at less than a dollar on the 10 for $10 “sale”. I recently saw Ramen noodles, normally priced at 79 cents per individual pack, “on sale” at 10 for $10. A 21 cent markup over the regular price…

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        Ours doesn’t do that, or at least not that I’ve seen. Not that I’d be surprised to find that it does happen!

    • Bativac says:

      Winn-Dixie (at least as of last night at 10 PM) does not halve the price of one item if it’s a buy one get one free promotion. Shredded cheese was marked buy one get one free, but I only needed one bag, and didn’t want another one stinking up the fridge while we’re gone on vacation. I was charged full price. Kind of annoying.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      That depends on what state you’re in sometimes. When I was working in a grocery store back in High school, the store made it clear to all employees that Indiana law required that unless explicitly marked otherwise on every advertisement of that price, any item that was on sale X/$X (2/$3, 10/$10, etc) had to ring up so that each item that part of the sale price (1 item for $1 in the 10/$10 or whatever).

      I can’t site the law, but that was something that came from corporate office of the Indiana based chain.

  5. Alvis says:

    “Most shoppers don’t want to deal with Santa in November”

    I don’t care to see Christmas crap in December, for that matter, but I don’t let it get my panties in a twist. This list was compiled from the thoughts of some very bitchy consumers.

  6. chefboyardee says:

    Some of these are really stupid.

    “Many readers find it annoying that, as they’re paying their bill, the cashier will often tell them how much they supposedly saved by shopping there”

    Yeah, I like to be frugal, and track my savings. I HATE retailers that DON’T tell me how much I saved.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree. There’s a difference between a store notifying you of how much you’ve saved and a store saying “you could have saved ____ with our card.” The complaint in the article lumped the two together as if they were one and the same.

    • Aennan says:

      I find it slightly annoying when they tell me how much I’ve “saved”.

      “Really? I’ve saved $4.03? As compared to what? What you charge shoppers who don’t have your card? The MSRP? What grocery store X across the street charges?”

      I would never say this to the poor person at the register that has to tell me, but I would like to get the real information from the company about waht this ‘savings’ is based on. Then, they could tell me. Without it, it’s worthless data.

      • the_real_keenfrenzy says:

        I’m not sure why this is so confusing, unless the stores you shop at are odd. My wife uses coupons and sale ads every time she buys groceries. The “You saved…” at the bottom of the receipt indicates the amount of money you saved compared to what you would have paid if you’d shopped without coupons and/or on a day when the items were not on sale. You can also look at the itemized list of purchases above and see how much you saved on each item, and for what reason (sale or coupon).

        I don’t know about you, but when she comes home with a receipt showing she paid $18 for groceries that would have otherwise cost $64 and she saved 72%, I see no reason to complain about it. It’s nice to know.

    • sagodjur says:

      The problem is that often stores print the savings on the receipt automatically. It’s not always necessary for them to tell you. If they’re just reading info to you that you can read for yourself, it’s pointless. That way customers have a choice in whether or not they want to be made aware of supposed savings, because not everyone needs savings brought to their attention.

    • dulcinea47 says:

      You haven’t actually “saved” anything though. Saving money is when you put money somewhere (like a savings account for example) and don’t spend it. Not when you pay $2.06 less b/c of your shopper card.

    • dulcinea47 says:

      You haven’t actually “saved” anything though. Saving money is when you put money somewhere (like a savings account for example) and *intentionally* don’t spend it. Not when you pay $2.06 less b/c of your shopper card, when presumably if the stuff hadn’t been on special you would have bought it anyway.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        But I have saved something. I don’t really buy a grocery item unless I need it and it’s on sale. My grocery trips are strategic; I don’t just go unless I have a good idea of where I can get the best deal.

    • NumberSix says:

      Yeah, but “saved” compaired to what? Unless there is a store discount card involved, it might as well be a made up number.

    • quieterhue says:

      My grocery store, Ralph’s, has a discount card. Pretty much everyone who shops there uses it, and if you don’t have a card, they’ll generally give you the discount anyway.

      After you pay, your receipt prints with a summary of your savings at the bottom. (For example: “You saved: $12.52.”) This doesn’t bother me. However, then the store goes a step further–the cashier is actually required to take a pen and circle the savings on your receipt; then, they hand it to you and say “You saved $12.52 today.” This strikes me as overkill, and a tad annoying.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      One problem is, the number is bogus. Suppose I’m looking to buy the cheapest box of Pasta at the store, and don’t care what brand it is. This store has San Giorgio for $1.00 and Barilla for regular $1.10 but save $.15 with my club card.

      So I buy the Barilla for $.95 and my receipt says I saved $.15. But in reality, I probably only saved $.05 since if I didn’t have the club card I would have just bought the San Giorgio. Not to mention, the “regular price” is usually inflated to make the sale price look better anyway. Without any discounts, both boxes are likely selling for $1 normally.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The system doesn’t compare name brand pasta to generic pasta – you’re the one making that comparison. You saved 15 cents because you paid 95 cents for Barilla and without the sale, it would’ve been $1.10 for Barilla. The “savings number” compares the cost of the item with the sale and the cost of the item without the sale, not two different brands of items.

  7. rubicthecube says:

    Memorial day sales. This is not the way to remember fallen heroes.

  8. runswithscissors says:

    Frequently moving and reorganizing item placement in the Supermarket and then acting like I’m the biggest pain in the arse ever for asking politely where ________ is located now.

    • ElleAnn says:

      That’s my biggest pet peeve, too. I organize my grocery list around where products are placed, so when they decide to move the salsa from next to the salad dressing to the canned vegetable aisle, I end up wandering around the store for twice as long. I’m still not buying anything which isn’t on my list (I think their intent is to make you look at more products and impulse buy)… It just angers me.

  9. pop top says:

    So basically people hate it when retail workers do their jobs (ask about signing people up for cards) and businesses try to maximize profits (putting impulse items at checkout)?

    • quijote says:


    • lucky13 says:

      Maybe we hate that corporate forces their employees to waste our time with the incessant upsell requests to sign up for their credit card or insults our intelligence with the century-old marketing technique of placing impulse items near the checkout counter? Don’t even get me started on Christmas creep now that it begins August or September!

      • nbs2 says:

        I understand the irritation at corporate upsell requirements, but I’m not getting the impulse item issue. If people weren’t buying those items on impulse, stores wouldn’t put the stuff there. As an individual, you may not be profitable, but the clientele as a whole is.

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          Also, this is the most logical place to put some things. Where else would you look in a grocery store for a single pack of gum?

      • pop top says:

        You just proved my point. Also, they wouldn’t put those impulse items there if they didn’t sell.

        • Azzizzi says:

          I don’t hate it that they put impulse items by the register. I hate it that they’re not MY impulse items.

          Instead of sugary bubble-gum and women’s magazines, I’d like to see porn mags and beer.

      • GameHen says:

        meh….the candy next the register is just a minor annoyance where I have to excerise some self-control. But just ignoring it is such an ingrained habit that I just can’t muster the energy to be upset about it. I just tell my kids “no” and they learned early on that “no” mean “no”.

        The other impulse items (pens, hair ties, combo locks, batteries, etc…)..I’ve actually found them very useful. I never buy anything there that I don’t need, but they often have things that I do need, but never remember them when I’m actually wandering the store shopping. I actually appreciate those placements. The magazines provide entertainment while I wait. I rarely buy them.

    • daemonaquila says:

      Yup, we hate it and we’re going to make it known to those retail employees, their managers, fellow customers, etc. until there’s enough pressure that the retailers decide they’re getting more bad will than profit out of their asshattishness.

  10. chefboyardee says:

    For those who don’t know, unless it explicitly says “MUST BUY 10” you can buy 1 item from the 10 for $10 sale and get it for $1.

    I blew my sister-in-law’s mind when I told her that one. I assumed it was common knowledge, but since it doesn’t seem to be I wanted to post it here.

    • chefboyardee says:

      (yes, I know it says it in the article, but some people don’t read the articles, just the comments)

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Actually, when it comes to meat and some produce, usually you must buy the prescribed amount to receive the discounted price. This told to me by a long-time grocery worker.

      • jason in boston says:

        I think that mostly has do to with “bulk buys” or anything over 5lbs (at stop and shop anyways). If you have the time and the freezer space, those bulk buys can save a lot of money.

    • backinpgh says:

      Legally this will vary by state actually.

    • brinks says:

      In a supermarket, this is usually the case. However, if you’re anywhere else, from Staples to a clothing store, you have to buy the required amount to get the discount.

  11. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Bulk buying pisses me off. I don’t have any kids at home, but the on-sale chicken legs come in five pound trays. So I either (1) put the chicken in however-many Ziploc bags before putting them in the freezer, or (2) cook all five pounds at the same time, and I’m eating chicken for the next week.

    Packaging for “family size” portions of meat should be compartmentalized and scored, so I can break the tray into pieces, maybe wrap it one more time with Saran Wrap, and put it in the freezer without having to actually handle it. The first supermarket chain that does that will have my business for life.

    • apd09 says:


      remember when you could just get a pound of ground beef, or a pound of chicken. Now everything is 1.5 pounds or more. I get that I can trim some off and freeze it but when all the recipes call for 1 pound, and it is cooking dinner for 2 people I don’t need more than a pound. For families they can get the budget size with 4 pounds but not everyone wants that. I wish grocery stores would go back to just having a pound of beef or chicken.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        You could get a food scale. That will help with exact measurements. Aside from that, I usually just round up and then eyeball it.

        • apd09 says:

          I don’t have a scale and probably don’t need one but the point of my comment was that stores do not sell things in standard amounts anymore. I do buy 4 pound packages of ground beef, chicken, etc… and then portion it out, but my point was why is it so hard for them to just have a pound of ground beef along with the larger family sizes instead of having 1.5. What makes 1.34, 1.5, 1.67 pounds the norm now when you used to be able to get .97, 1.03, 1.05 pounds of ground beef or chicken? The poundage being closer to 1 pound seems to make more sense than being closer to a pound and half.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            It could have to do with the quantity they get and it not being exactly 10 pounds to be separated into 10 packages. Personally, I’ve had recipes call for 1.5 pounds and me being frustrated that I could only find 1.2 pounds. Then I have to buy more of what I need just to cover the difference.

            • apd09 says:

              it depends on the stores and if they package their own ground beef. I know Harris Teeter packages everything themselves on site but a store like Giant seems to get everything delivered prepackaged.

              When I have the choice I usually buy meat from the meat counter and have them weight it and package it for me vs just grabbing one of the shelf. I do that with steaks and other stuff, because they will also marinate the meat for you in 1 of 5 or so spices.

            • Not Given says:

              If you have a lot of recipes that call for browned hamburger, buy the large packages and brown it all then drain it. For one pound raw use 2 cups browned. You can throw your dry seasonings in the baggie, too, if you want. Just mark for which recipe it is.

      • nbs2 says:

        I’ve never been to a megamart that wouldn’t repackage the meat to the quantity you need (give or take a few hundredths of a pound). Additionally, the full service counters should have product available to be wrapped as needed.

        A reputable butcher shop should be doing the latter only (with maybe a few prewrapped packages for customer convenience)

      • wordsmithy says:

        I thought I was the only one annoyed about this. I search through the packages to find the one closest to a pound.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      What’s the problem with putting the extras in the freezer? It’s just the two of us and I buy bulk at a good price so I don’t have to make any stops at the store and risk buying chicken for the regular price.

      • pop top says:

        I think TMM just doesn’t like having to do it for themselves.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Ohhh, I see now. But perforated styrofoam trays would probably be less structurally sound than a solid tray. Like others have said, Costco separates chicken into bags. We used to buy them that way, but sometimes I’ll marinate chicken the day before and it’s easier to keep them in ziploc bags until they’re defrosted, then throw the marinade into the bag.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I know BJ’s wholesale club does that with chicken breast. You buy it in bulk, but the tray contains like 5 pre-packaged bags of breasts, each bag containing 2.

    • jason in boston says:

      Single mid 20s guy here. Costco indeed has those for sale (chicken breast that tastes great). But if you cannot be bothered to spend an hour a month to actually prepare your food, freeze it, and plan your meals then maybe the money savings just isn’t for you. I prefer to go to a real butcher, spend $100 and prepare the meat at home. Still cheaper than Costco but it does take an hour to do properly.

      What is more important – an hour of your time or the money savings?

    • DeeJayQueue says:

      Wegman’s does this with lots of things, pork chops, steaks, chicken breasts, etc. They seal the food up in a package similar to what cold medicine comes in. A clear plastic blister (vac-sealed) against a thicker plastic backing that has perfs in it for each individual piece. They come like 4-5 to a package. makes it easy to toss into the freezer or only eat what you want to.

      • sopmodm14 says:

        lol, i just came from wegs after class (and instead of going to class!) to get some value-packed chicken breasts…i do like how you can cut out individual packs and toss them into the freezer

    • jesirose says:

      That’s not environmentally friendly. It’s wasteful packaging.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Uhm.. perhaps you should learn to make adjustments when you have no family, but insist on buying the family-sized packs.

      Personally, I do have a bunch of ziplocks and get home, break out the chicken and separate them into baggies for freezing. You can even go crazy and add seasoning into the ziplock bags.

      Or if I’m feeling lazy, I pay the price difference for individually wrapped meats.

  12. DanRydell says:

    I find it annoying when stores allow fundraisers outside their doors. I don’t mind charities, but don’t try to guilt me into donating money so your high school softball team can have spring training in Florida.

    • jasw says:

      My girlfriend and I were at a Meijer in Detroit and this dance troupe had sad looking little kids posted at every entrance and exit as well as outside the bathrooms. They were selling $2.50 bags of M&Ms and Starbursts. Eventually I gave in. I’m sure their instructors told them to look as sad and poor as possible.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Fight the guilt. I am not obligated to spend or donate at any time at any business and if someone tries to give me the “look”, I could care less. Unfortunately, retailers such as the ones mentioned here have turned me into a class-A prick. So be it. They’ve earned it. Now they can taste their own medicine. As J.G. Wentworth says, its your money! lol.

    • Aennan says:

      I don’t mind tables set up outside stores. They have their signs, and they can sell whatever they want. I do mind when someone walks in front of me, blocking me as I’m trying to go into the store. This guarantees I won’t buy whatever and creeps me out when a non-child does it.

    • Charmander says:

      Where else am I gonna buy my Campfire mints?

    • JayPhat says:

      If you ever see this outside a Wal-Mart, complain as high up as it takes until it stops or someone gets fired. Wal-Marts policy on this is very clear that those parties have to be at least 20 feet from the door. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to remind them as I am entering or leaving while shopping that that is where they are supposed to be.

  13. Robofish says:

    The Credit card bit. I used to work for Old Navy and the management would scold you if you didn’t ask people for the store card. After a lady thanked me for not asking her to get a store card, I never asked anyone again, and let management know that I wasn’t going to since it bothered the customers. Funny enough, they never reprimanded (sp?) me. That and the whole look how much you can save if you buy this stuff ad. My thought is always look how much I can save if I don’t buy it.

    • Arcaeris says:

      When I worked at Victoria’s Secret, they wanted a customer to be offered the credit card THREE TIMES when in the store: once when they entered, once at the register, and once on the way out.

      The number of credit cards you got was directly tied to how many hours you got to work and what shifts you got, so it was a freaking nightmare.

    • Bella_dilo17 says:

      It annoys me when people ask me if I want a credit card, then when I say, “Oh, sorry, I’m not 18.” they just look at me and say, “Oh, I thought you were older.” I’m 16.

      I mean, they could just say, “If you’re interested, you can open up a card to get specials.” and then let the customer ask questions.

    • dg says:

      You can save 100% by NOT purchasing it!

  14. MistahFixit says:

    Black Friday. :|

    • lettucefactory says:

      I was at the mall last week and saw one of the anchors (Sears?) had a sign out front, BLACK FRIDAY NOW!

      And angels wept, etc.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      I love Black Friday. I stay home and have a spa day while everyone else is at the store.

  15. Cicadymn says:

    There was a terrible time when every cashier at Walmart was required to ask me if I wanted a copy of Avatar BluRay for the low low low price of like 29.99. NO I DON’T WANT ANY UNOBTAINIUM LEAVE ME ALONE

    • jason in boston says:

      Your retort should be: “But I can get a copy from the piratebay with all the ads removed for free.”

  16. aja175 says:

    At Wegmans they do a couple candy free aisles for parents shopping with their kids, but in those candy free aisles they have kids books and toys.

    • hotdogsunrise says:

      Don’t forget the organic or health food check out lane (I don’t remember the exact name to it). There is guaranteed to be nothing that children like in that lane.

    • GameHen says:

      Seriously, is it that hard to say “no”? If your kid throws a fit about it more than once, you have more problems than what companies are marketing to you.

      For the record, I have 3 kids ages 7 and under.

      • 339point4 says:

        I’m with you. My kids have been told no every time to the point that they don’t bother to ask anymore (and certainly don’t whine!). Unless we walked INTO the store with an agreement that they would be getting quarters for the gum machine, they know they’re getting nothing at the check-out area.
        The problem is when parents do as the article says and give in to stop the whining. All they are doing is letting the kid know exactly how loud and how long they have to whine to get what they want.

  17. pinteresque says:

    The most recent time I was in a Best Buy, the woman at the register tried to hit me up for a store credit card, a donation to some organization or another and a protection plan before trying to sell me, of all things, a magazine subscription to something totally unrelated like Sports Illustrated.

    It really has spun completely out of control – how many times do I need to say “No” before you let me get the hell out of the store? I chose to shop at your location – it really should be enough.

    • DanRydell says:

      It’s a free subscription, but you have to cancel it before the free period ends or it will auto-renew.

    • daemonaquila says:

      The best response to this asshattery is to hold up the line and demand to see a manager immediately to complain. They want high volume going through the lines, and you can really mess that up – which gets the point across much better than a letter later on.

    • poco says:

      Best Buy is the worst for this. Luckily I’ve started doing my electronics shopping online.

  18. james says:

    Having only one cashier when the line snakes halfway through the store (Duane Reade, I’m talking to YOU here!), and then having that cashier ask each person in turn if they have their “Duane Reade Card”.

    Remember the good old days when one could just buy stuff and not have to be a member of some secret society to get the sale prices?

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      Rite Aid’s “Wellness Card” program has completely changed my Rite Aid shopping habit in that I rarely shop there anymore. This card is now required for most sale prices at my local stores – I refuse to be forced into a customer loyalty relationship to enjoy savings. Luckily I have other options and now take my business elsewhere.

      • VATERGrrl says:

        I don’t love the switch to loyalty cards, but all of mine are in the name of Minnie Mouse or Jane Doe. If I have to have the card to get the discounts, I don’t want the company to get anything else from me if I don’t have to give it. Just my very small, probably worthless attempt to fight back.

  19. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    I’m honestly surprised about the frivolous shit on this list. Grow up.

  20. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Unit pricing run amok.
    Example: 3 similar 8-ounce items on the shelf:

    Item a is $.36 per “ounce”,
    item b is $5.75 per “pound”, and
    item c is $2.50 per “each”

    Quick, which is the better deal?

    • Buckus says:


    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      oh, yea, and in the age of the grocery shrink ray, they will change the price but not the unit costs.

    • Rocket says:

      Item c.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Yes, but how long did it take for me to get an answer from someone?

        • Azzizzi says:

          My son had this as an assignment from Scouts. They gave him a list of items and wanted him to go see which one was the better buy and why he would pick that item.

          When the kids were giving their results, they got into that discussion for price-per-ounce and even got into whether the store brand was a better buy.

          It took one of the kids to introduce the concept of preference because “I like this one better,” rather than a basis of cost.

    • quail says:

      Oh, I hate that one too. Sam’s Club is notorious for that one.

      Same on the list is when they tell you $0.04 cents per sheet with paper towels and one set of paper towels has half sheets you can tear off.

    • bsh0544 says:

      Yes! I agree completely. Irritating.

    • Kristoffer says:

      Totally agree with this one. I have tried many times to compare prices on like items based on shelf tags only to give up after a few minutes of using my phones calculator. Sam’s in my area used to be the worst with 5 like items all using different weight/item calculations.

  21. quijote says:

    Not as common in the age of mega-retailers, but I don’t like it when a retail salesperson tries to make you feel guilty for not buying something–like you wasted their time listening to their pitch and so you at least owe them something.

  22. tbax929 says:

    Over-zealous sales people. I have been furniture shopping, and it’s like a car dealership when I walk into the showroom. The sales folks are rushing to be the first to greet me so I can be their customer.

    Yesterday I got so sick of them hovering I just walked out.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I hate it when sales people follow you around. I keep a mental list of all the stores whose sales people are wonderful, and whenever we decide we want new furniture or to replace something, we go to those places first because we know they won’t bother us.

    • Aennan says:


      I was in a Brandsmart, shopping for a refrigerator. After the 6th person in 15 minutes wanted to help me shop, I left the store. Yes, help me shop. Not just asking if I needed help, no they wanted to walk along with me and tell me all about whatever I stopped to look over (like a worse version of Clippy).

      They didn’t get my business and I haven’t been back. Too bad, because I bought a number of appliances at the same time.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      God, I had this happen once. I just wanted to browse around a furniture store but a lady grabbed a clipboard and followed me around the story gushing about how “cushy” the couches were. I got the hell out of there.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      There#&x2019;s a balance between being unavailable and being clingy. Learning how to achieve this balance should be a priority for every salesperson.

  23. Hoss says:


    1) Service Plans — Last month, I had a Staples employee follow me through the store when I put a laser printer in my cart. I declined the service plan with him. Then at the cashier, the manager come over to whisper in his ear that he should hock the service plan. I told him them both I was already approached

    2) Blocked Isles — It’s tough enough getting around people that are in the market seemingly for a stroll, I shouldn’t need to navigate around a display of bananas in the cereal isle!

    3) Lack of Useable Paper Bags — Many markets these days don’t offer paper bags with handles and can carry more then three items

    4) Sloppy Baggers or No Baggers — Bagging used to be a bit of an art — soups and such on the bottom, crackers on top. Now they don’t even look what they put in there

    5) Self Serve Checkout — The annoying messages about things in the bagging area, and other messages that makes the whole experience too aggravating

    6) One at a timer checkers — If I got 8 cans of peas, why do they need to scan each one?

    7) Greeter Sales — “Good morning, do you need siding for the house?”

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I laughed at your “blocked (a)isles” comment because I never have a problem with the banana display in the cereal aisle. I have a problem with all the people who stop their cart in the middle of the aisle and stare at the shelves.

      I love self service checkout. I only go to self service checkouts if they’re available because they’re so much easier than dealing with the cashiers. I always have coupons and it’s so much easier to make sure that things are ringing up the correct price.

      • dru_zod says:

        The self-checkouts at a couple of the grocery stores here have started forcing you to give your coupons to the cashier. You used to be able to scan them yourself and stick them in a little slot, but now it just says “please take your coupons to the cashier station”. Makes it a lot less convenient to use coupons at the self-checkout.

        • pop top says:

          They do that because people weren’t sticking the coupons in the little slot and were keeping them to use multiple times. The store has to protect itself.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        For me its not just the single cart in the aisle while someone shops, its the social gatering of 5 chatty cathys and their out of control children… but, thats not the store’s fault.

    • dru_zod says:

      Completely agree on the sloppy baggers. At my regular grocery store, most of the younger baggers would literally sling items into the bag as they came to them, paying no attention to what they were putting in or how. They made the bags so heavy that the bottom would rip out as soon as I loaded them into the car (these were thick paper bags). They regularly put bread underneath heavier items. They would put packages of meat underneath 2-liter Pepsi bottles so that the points on the bottom of the bottle would poke through the covering on the meat package. They put ALL the canned goods in one bag, regardless of how many you bought, and they weren’t neatly stacked, but just thrown in every which way.

      It got me so annoyed that I started bagging my own groceries every time. The baggers would come over and try to take over for me saying “let me get that for you, sir”, and I would politely tell them that I would take care of it. I eventually e-mailed the store manager and complained, and apparently it worked. Suddenly, all of the baggers improved considerably, and now they usually do a great job. The store must have started actually training them on how to do it properly instead of letting them just shove everything in a bag.

      • katemonster says:

        It also helps if you load your items onto the belt in the order you would like them bagged. I always put our stuff on the belt in this way: 2L bottles of sodas, canned goods, meat, frozen goods, produce, non-grocery items (please don’t put my laundry detergent in with my grapes …) and then “squishy things (bread, eggs, etc.).”

        I used to bag groceries in high school and yes, there’s a certain art form to it that many don’t appreciate. This is why I try to make it as easy on the cashier/bagger and as idiot-proof as possible.

        What frustrates me is when I come home from the grocery store with 15 items in 15 bags. Argh.

        • stint7 says:

          I was a bagger at Wal-Mart, and you are right, there is an art to it. I can imagine how I want things bagged but the cashiers tend to do the whole one or two items per bag and I end up having to carry in 20 plastic bags for 30 items. Aggravates me so much.

      • mrscoach says:

        Or they put cleaning supplies in with the food. I quit using one store after complaining to the manager several times to train his checkers and baggers. He assured me they were trained and would NEVER put cleaning supplies in with food. I promptly handed him one sack and said, “Really? Then this must be my imagination” I also told him I had told him three times about the problem. He said this was the first he had heard of it. “No, I talked to YOU all three times”, and it wasn’t the same checker/bagger each time, either.

        I also told him he was setting themselves up for a lawsuit the fist time a cleanser leaked on something that got consumed and a customer got sick.


    • Alvis says:

      Paper bags with handles should be a nice treat, not the expectation.

    • Speak says:

      I have to agree with the Blocked Isles issue. My local grocery store moved things around when they put in a bank. To do the change, they made their isles narrower, but still have displays that protrude into the isles. Most of the isles are so narrow that 2 carts barely fit across but with the displays there is only room for 1. W@ll-Mart is the worst for this however. They bring out pallets of items starting around 8pm and place them in the large main isles so the stock people have them overnight. This means you can only switch sides at a few key locations, like the two ends.

      For the self serve checkouts, it’s not so much them that bother me as the people who check out a FULL cart at one of these, they are there alone, and don’t know how to scan an item, when there are lines of people with only a few items behind them. The only thing that bothers me about the self checkout screen at my local store is that if you have more than a certain percentage off your total bill from coupons, an attendant needs to approve it. It was 10%, but now it is higher, it keeps changing and I don’t know what it is today.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I think the Blocked Isles are just off the coast of New Jersey.

    • dg says:

      1) I tell them no once. Then walk out w/o purchasing anything on the 2nd request.

      2) Smash into it. Knock it all over. Look astonished. Then say calmly “It’s OK, I’m NOT hurt” and walk away.

      3) Bring reusable ones.

      4) Drives me nuts – so I do it myself. Yeah, I was the head bagger in high school – hate seeing them screw it up.

      5) Avoid them like the plague. Or walk up, ask the cashier who’s watching all 4 checkouts if they have a scan gun.

      6) Because they’re not supposed to trust customers who say they have X where X is less than 10. They also can’t count less than 10 items accurately.

      7) Keep walking. Just ignore them. Pretend you’re deaf or don’t speak English. Make up a nonsensical language. If they make one up on you to respond with, then go with it for a while, and when people start to watch – start laughing and say “Oh yeah, gotta love retail!” then walk off…

    • BurtReynolds says:

      When I worked at Staples in the computer/printer department, the store was scored based on accessories sold on things like a printer. They did not care if I knew anything about the product I was selling. The only concern was getting you to buy paper, ink, a USB cable, and an extended warranty with your printer. If I didn’t try to make those upsells, I was in trouble. Often the manager wouldn’t believe I was selling it hard enough and would swoop in at the register to bother the customer even more.

      I had customers that would compliment me to the manager for my ability to help them pick out a printer or computer, but after they left, the guy would scold me for not getting them to buy the warranty. I wasn’t in the business of lying, so when a customer asked me what I thought of HP printer quality, all I could say is that I had one that was 5 years old and worked fine. I also told them the “gold plated” USB cable provided zero benefits and that their old one would work fine.

      The last time I bought something big at Staples was last Christmas when they were the only place I could find a particular laptop in-store. I went all around the DC area trying to locate one. One store had 3 in stock, but they were still on pallets. The guy made a point to ask me if I was buying “anything else”. I said no, and was then informed that they couldn’t get the product out of the pallets until the next day. Being a former employee, I know that was BS. They just didn’t want to sell me a laptop. So I found one at another store, and asked them to hold one for me. I went there and they had a new price tag on it that included a 3 year warranty. I simply told the cashier that I would take it for the advertised price. He had to call his manager over before he sold it to me, and the woman muttered a “well some people like to take chances” to the cashier while she “allowed” the sale to go through. Needless to say, I won’t be heading to Staples unless I absolutely have to in the future.

      • photoguy622 says:

        That is so annoying. Working at Sears selling TVs and cameras I would often give people honest advice, not sell them overpriced accessories, and not push the warranty, and I got a hard time from management… even when some customers commented on the great advice I gave them.

        You can’t win. I loved selling cameras though…

        • BurtReynolds says:

          I liked the helping customers part. I didn’t like the fact that I was suppose to sell like a salesman on commission when I didn’t get squat for a “perfect” sale. The fact that I might have convinced a customer that they are better off buying the $300 multi-function printer rather than the $100 was irrelevent to Staples management. They would have rather seen a $100 printer with an extra package of ink go out the door.

  24. Outrun1986 says:

    Donations at the register to some organization I never heard of.. who knows where that donation is actually going.

    Beggers that stand right outside the door with buckets asking for donations. Especially the ones that try to block your exit from the store. Retailers should really disallow this, and its probably a fire hazard in a lot of places to intentionally block the exit of a store. I have no problem with the SA bell ringers, because they are placed off to the side and usually do not bother the shoppers. I am talking about the various youth groups that are stationed in front of stores with buckets, begging for change. This is prevalent mostly at Walmart here.

    When a retailer is out of something you really need, especially when they are consistently out of it.

    Rewards cards that get you 10% off your next purchase if you spend more than $200 or $250 in the store…. usually not worth it for me, since there are very few stores where I would spend that kind of cash.

    Having no scanners in the store, so that we can’t tell the exact price of an item before we go to the register.

    Store clerks that argue over a 20 cent price difference (or similar), as if the shopper is taking 20 cents directly out of the store clerk’s pocket.

    Inaccurate ads, especially when it happens on a consistent basis. I don’t think there are too many examples of this today, perhaps 1-2 stores. If your store advertises something it should be on the shelf when I go to get it Sunday morning, I shouldn’t be finding out that the employee forgot to stock it or that the store just didn’t get it in (barring any hot products like the Wii etc, its possible an item could sell out before I get there which is a totally different situation). If the item didn’t come in or the employee forgot to stock it, then a substitution should be made. I can’t count the number of times I went to a store to get something and it just didn’t come in… if you can’t get it in on time, don’t advertise it.

    Upsells at the register.. some retailers do a very good job of driving me to shop online more.

  25. David Millar says:

    I love the “Telling You How Much You ‘Saved'” bit on the receipts. Sometimes when shopping with friends, we’ll sort of compete to see who saved more. Usually the winner buys dinner at McDonalds or BK on the way home.

  26. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    New shopping market trick:

    Lettuce and celery in some stores, was .99 EACH, now .99 PER POUND!

    Clams are sold by the dozen on the East coast, but here (Mountain West) – by the POUND, WTF?

  27. AngryK9 says:

    Two words: Extended Warranty

    • Outrun1986 says:

      You would be surprised how many people still fall for the extended warranty. Yes on some products its probably a good idea, however that would usually be a very specific case and you would factor the warranty cost into the product. When I go out shopping almost everyone still buys the extended warranty on electronics, video games, gifts for their kids. 99% of the consumers I see shopping in stores are at the retailer’s beck and call, they really fall for every pitch. It really is easy money for the retailers.

  28. AngryK9 says:

    Two words: Extended Warranty

  29. TheGreySpectre says:

    Xmas creep honestly doesn’t bother me that much, 99% of it is just stuff that sits on the shelf and I won’t even look at until after thanksgiving, but xmas creep does bring about eggnog sooner which makes me happy.

  30. sock says:

    In general I like Costco, but I really hate the way they move stuff around. I have a list of regulars that I buy. I get really irritated when I have to spend 5 extra mins. multiplied # of items on my list to find the cheese sticks, raw almonds, olive oil, or Cheerios.

    Yeah, I know why they do it. I just hate having to plan my Costco trips to take up 90 minutes.

    • nbs2 says:

      That’s surprising – my current Costco and my previous two have all been really good about not excessive rearranging of product. And my current Costco has been superlative, with no changes to layout (except for the center seasonal area) since we moved here a year and a half ago. When I had my Sam’s membership, on the other hand, it was a bit of hunting every two months.

  31. scoosdad says:

    Putting something on sale, and when you actually find the deal, and load up your cart with it, (as much as you have room to store at home), they tell you at the register about some secret “limit” on the quantities you can buy.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve argued with the night cashier manager at my local Shaw’s supermarket about a non-existent limit she claims are on the number of 12 packs of Coca Cola I can buy on sale. And I always carefully read the signs on the stacks of cola and also on the edge of the shelves in the usual pricetag spots to check for a limit or other conditions. One time she even claimed the limit was printed on the flyer at the entrance to the store, and my retort was, “nobody forces me to pick up a flyer as a condition of doing business in your store!”.

    When I’ve been able to escalate it to the store manager, I’ve won every time. State law trumps over store policy.

    • scoosdad says:

      PS to my comment above- lately they’re selling Coke 12 packs on sale as “must buy multiples of 4”. So when I’ve bought 12, I still get hassled for going over some theoretical limit, as if buying three of their offers is thought of as taking advantage of their loss leaders.

    • target_veteran says:

      This is something we were actually trained for when I worked retail. People would come in, load up multiple carts with the on sale item (normally soda), and take it to some mom and pop convenience store to resell. Basically, our store was a better price point than whatever distributor they normally went through, or they didn’t want to pay for distribution costs and abused supermarkets instead.

      Everyone except the mom and pop stores hated this. We hated it because they’d clean out the soda aisle and other customers got mad. Plus we didn’t get a cut on our loss leader. Customers hated it because they couldn’t get the deal. The distributors hated it because they had to restock unexpectedly and because they weren’t getting a cut on sales like they should. I never knew all the details why we disallowed these sales, but that’s what I recall being the big reasons.

      So, if you’re loading up your cart with as much as you can, you fit the profile of a reseller, so the clerks are cautious. Again, I don’t know all the specifics, but we were adamant about disallowing sales to suspected resellers. It could be just the store taking a huge hit in margin or there could have been something contractual.

      Also, what state laws are you under that force people to do business with you? In all the states I’ve retailed, we were allowed to refuse any sale if we wanted, as long as the sale wasn’t refused on discriminatory grounds (age, race, sex, marital status, etc.).

  32. PunditGuy says:

    A lot of these are idiotic things to complain about. These retailers are businesses — so yeah, they want to sell you a lot of high-margin things that you probably weren’t looking for when you came in.

    I’m a lot more upset about poorly trained staff and/or staff that treats customers like a plague before finding out what the issue is.

  33. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I hate the cheaper items being hard to reach. Sometimes I have to get store employees to get things for me off the high shelves because I cant reach them.

    • LaurelHS says:

      This happened to me at the grocery store the other day. There was only one of the item I wanted and it was at the very back of the top shelf. I asked a staff member to get it for me and she did, but I don’t like having to ask, I feel like I’m being high-maintenance or something.

  34. Outrun1986 says:

    Xmas creep doesn’t bother me at all, I really don’t care. Doesn’t affect me since I won’t be buying it unless its 90% off after Xmas. Candy at the register, a minor complaint. Candy at the register has been in place for years and years and years at this point you would think society would know how to deal with it. If you can’t teach your kids that they can’t have candy every time they go to the grocery store, then you can probably pony up 75 cents for that candy bar.

    A worse thing is when they place brightly colored products with your toddler’s favorite characters on them, especially when the products are junk food that is designed to get them addicted to a certain product, right at the level they can grab them from the shopping cart. This is a bigger problem, because the advertising has gotten much more intense in recent years (the candy aisle has pretty much stayed the same, its just there).

  35. Extractor says:

    Tip Cups!

  36. Doubts42 says:

    the whole list sounded whiny, although I agree with the concept of many of the posts, the tone was entitled and pissy.

    The one that really made me laugh was the “staples at the back” Where they complained that milk, butter and eggs were at the back of the store and candy and other impulse crap was at the front. I guess that person wants to be able to get ice cold snickers bars, and have large stacks of rancid dairy materials stacked by the registers.

    • pittstonjoma says:

      It IS kind of a pain to walk all the way to the back for just one thing. Not very fun when you have a bad knee.

    • Alexk says:

      Are you under the impression that some law of physics forces stores to build their refrigerated sections in the rear of the store?

      • JayPhat says:

        No, but laws of physics and money do come into play for some. It’s a helluva lot cheaper to build those refrigerated sections all together in one spot of the store than to run the piping for them all over the store. Older Wal-Marts vs new ones are an example of where you can see this difference. That design change alone may have saved the store $50K in construction costs, and several thousand each year in conserved utilities.

  37. Anonymously says:

    I hate everything about retailers, but I especially hate when they sell you credit cards.

    If you can’t survive without selling credit cards, you should be out of business.

  38. quail says:

    Back when The Disney Store first sprung up and their workers were an eager, let’s-do-it-for-the-mouse-group they worked off of the business euphemism of SYNERGY. The idea was that when you were paying for some crap for your kid at the register they’d quickly survey what was going on (that you had a kid, were buying DVDs, were buying adult sized Mickey sleepwear, etc.) and start talking to you about something else Disney related. The new “Goofy” movie, or a new attraction at Disneyland, or that DisneyWorld was opening new hotels, or something. It was always Disney this or Disney that.

    Sad that the store went belly-up. Did like the Mickey ties and all, but that Synergy talk at the register and the zombie-like smiling while wearing Mouseketeer-esque sweaters was freaky.

  39. Buckus says:

    How about when the whole store is constantly “On Sale” and every week you get a flyer advertising the latest and greatest “All-Night” or “Weekend Only” sale. I’m looking at you, Kohl’s! It’s too bad, too. I’ve shopped there a couple of times and found them to have good selection in men’s wear, but the whole “Sale EVERY WEEK” thing has turned me off of them.

    • MsFab says:

      JC Penney’s is notorious for this too…and Macy’s for that matter. Having a “sale” every weekend isn’t the way to get me into the store.

    • Anonymously says:

      Does your Kohl’s do the annoying “Thank you to Associate X who just saved another customer 15% by opening a Kohl’s charge” announcements?

      • BorkBorkBork says:

        When I worked there, we’d announce them as “Congratulations on the Code C [employee’s name]!” So freaking annoying.

    • moyawyvern says:

      Filene’s, when it was still around, was like that. I remember walking out of the mall night after night, week after week (I worked there), seeing signs touting their “Biggest Sale of the Year!!!” Every. Single. Weekend. We always called it the “Biggest Sale of the Week.”

    • photoguy622 says:

      JC Penny is the worst.

      It’s the Saturday One-Day Only From 5am-10:15am Lowest Prices of The Month Semi Annual Sale.

  40. LightningUsagi says:

    My biggest beef lately is receipts that are longer than my bag. I absolutely hate it when I go to CVS and buy two items, and then get a 3 foot receipt in return. I would love to have the option of not getting a receipt, especially for a pack of gum or something that there’s no way I would need to return.

    • Mamudoon says:

      Agreed!!! This is one of the major reasons I stopped using cash. They’d give you your cash, which fits neatly in your wallet, and your three-foot-long receipt at the same time, so you have to rearrange everything because the damn receipt won’t go in your wallet, holding up the line all the while.

    • scouts honor says:

      I’m with you on that one. My local grocery store now routinely prints out a bunch of offers at the end of each receipt, which more than doubles the length of it. There’s the how much you saved part, two sections of rewards points, a survey request and a “Congratulations! You’ve won the opportunity to apply for our credit card” bs.

    • Talisker says:

      If I’m feeling particularly snarky, I’ll just tear off the part of the receipt with the actual sales total on it and leave the rest on the checkout stand for them to throw away. Same thing with the coupons I get for products I’ll never buy.

  41. balthisar says:

    Store “discount” cards. They’re horrible, evil things.

    The fact that stores let other customers in. Yeah, that’s selfish of me, and it wouldn’t be really competetive for them to close the store for 15 minutes to give me exclusive access. Why can’t people follow civil rules? Walk on the right, pass on the left. Don’t park your cart in the middle of an aisle. Observe logical right of way rules. Don’t bring your grandmother and six booger-laden, little kids with you, and certainly don’t let them slobber all over the produce.

    Other than that, I like grocery stores.

  42. Destra says:

    Not asking whether I want paper or plastic always gets me annoyed. I prefer paper, but the default and Shaw’s and Stop ‘n Shop is apparently plastic. If I don’t remember to pre-emptively tell the bagger that I want paper they’ll put the groceries in plastic, and then they give me dirty looks when I ask them to switch to paper.

  43. katemonster says:

    I love White House Black Market — their clothes are pretty and classic. And expensive. What I don’t like is the sales girls pushing their jewelry when I’m trying on a dress. I know they have too, but I’m already paying $150+ for a dress — I don’t want to buy a $60 necklace that isn’t even close to my taste. Please stop trying after I decline the first five.

  44. bsh0544 says:

    I don’t get why the candy/toys are a big deal. Keep your kids in line and they’ll be able to walk past toys or candy without having a meltdown over not getting any. My daughter often tries a hopeful inquiry, but a simple “no” works just fine.

    • Doubts42 says:


      I do not get annoyed by my own kid asking. Because that is what he does, he asks, once. I get annoyed when other peoples kids scream and yell about the crappy toys, but I do not blame the retailer.

  45. daemonaquila says:

    My #1 pet peeve is the endless push to buy extended warranties.

    The worst example of this happened when I bought my much-beloved used jeep. First, I had to hijack the manager’s attempt to sell me the car for his “best price” of $1500 above the price listed on their own website for the car. Then, they tried to slip in the paperwork for an extended warranty into the purchase papers. I declined. Then the manager tried to talk me into it. I told him that I never once have bought an extended warranty, because I consider them all scams. If he wants to consider it “taking a risk,” that’s his opinion. Mine is different, and I’m not going to budge – or is this his way of telling me that he’s selling me a lemon? He didn’t answer that. However, after I’d signed the paperwork for the very small loan (paid mostly in cash), he again tried to push the extended warranty. He actually used the car-dealer line, “What can I do to have to leave here with this warranty tonight? We can lower the cost to only $29/month.” I told him not to bring it up again – there is no power in the universe that’s going to cause me to buy his damned warranty.

    SO not surprised, though. Since then, I have brought the car there for 2 recall checks/repairs. Each time, they tried to upsell me on work that I didn’t need. The last time, the mechanic told me that no matter what, they always do a 10-point check, and they found major problems with both my front and rear brakes, so it’ll cost about $700 and they can get it done in about 45 minutes so sign here and they’ll get working. I told him to give me my damned car keys, and went to an independent mechanic about a week later, since I needed my oil changed. I asked him to check the brakes. He said the front brakes were perfect, and the rear brakes would need changing pretty soon but were still just on the happy side of ok. I had him do the work, which (including the oil change!) cost 1/3 what the dealership wanted just to do the rear brakes.

    • Alexk says:

      A month ago, a retailer offered me a warranty on a box of batteries. All four of them. Non-rechargeable batteries.

  46. AstroWorn2010 says:

    Asking me to pre-order every title coming out for the next 5 years?

  47. BStu78 says:

    I’m sorry, but some of these are just silly. Complaining about bulk discounting is just obnoxious. Its worth more to the store if you buy three sweaters, that’s why they are incentivising it. The option isn’t get the same discount on one. Its getting a much lower discount on one. Which screws over those of us who actually wait for those sales to save money on our shopping.

    Upselling happens because it works. I’m not interested in the pitch, either, but I get that it makes the store money so why on Earth should I get angry over it? I’m not under any delusion about their interest in making money.

    Most of these complaints seem focused on the notion that stores want to make money. What I find hilarious is that the people who whine about this sort of thing, thinking stores should just be passive repositories of things they can buy or not, are also the same people who are hyper protective of our capitalist society. Its just a buzzword to people who don’t understand what it means. So I’ll get labeled a socialist while they are *actually* fussing over private companies trying to make money.

    True bait and switch, sleazy rebate practices, intentional mispricing… these are all actually unethical and possibly illegal. They are not on par with a store layout designed to encourage browsing or offering coupons for future visits. I mean, seriously? You’re going to complain about the store giving you money off a future order? Yes, its to get you to go back. You always have the option of not doing so which is the same result for you as them not giving you the coupon.

    • carsinamerica says:

      Amen. Some of these complaints make it sound as if a store employee is holding a gun to your head.

      And then there’s this idiot: “So to save $10 dollars using the certificate, you must return to the store, spending time, gas and mileage added to your car, and then spend another $50 dollars or more. This circle is vicious!” Duhhhhh. You buy groceries regularly, right? You will need to eat again in the future, right? This incentivizes you to come to Store A again, rather than visiting Store B. Jesus, take a pill.

  48. sybann says:

    The asshats at Walmart who slowly replace name brands with their crap. Give me one more reason to shop elsewhere big store around the corner, I dare ya.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      I noticed this the other day when I went to buy trash bags. They had a couple of name brand varieties, none of the ones I wanted, but the shelves were absolutely full of their brand bags. I’ve had some bad experiences with that Great Value crap. It’s no wonder I’ve been shopping Kmart more and more lately.

      • Not Given says:

        It depends on the crap, some of the Great Value crap is just as good as the name brand or the pricier name brand is way better stuff than I need for the job, and some of it I will never touch again.

  49. Mamudoon says:

    Going along with the “staples in the back,” one of my peeves that hasn’t already been mentioned (I have so many!) is pharmacies where the pharmacy is all the way in the back of the store. If I just got out of the hospital and need my script (since I’m waiting, the drive-thru isn’t an option), the last thing I want to do is hobble through the whole store in tremendous pain to the very back where the pharmacy is. They should be right near the entrance.

    • Mamudoon says:

      Oh, forgot to add – this is one reason I get my scripts filled at my supermarket. Besides being cheaper (not having insurance sucks), the pharmacy is right where you walk in the door. Love it!

  50. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    There’s a small market here that sell primarily perishable items – produce, dairy, meat – and always prices things in multiples. e.g. Milk – 2 Gallons for $5, but $2.79 each. (I have no idea what milk prices actually are, but that’s the basic idea). Strawberries, 2 pounds for $6, but $3.50 for one pound.

    I figure they hate single people.

  51. alternety says:

    Safeway has added charity donations to their credit card process. You swipe the card and get a solicitation. You have to reject that. THEN you have to swipe the card again to do what you wanted to do in the first place.

    And why can’t screens default to no cash back?

    And what’s up with press X key to use English for this transaction. Let non-English speakers press something if they do not care to lean English to live here.

    All the attached pens for electronic signature should be coated with a permanent silver antibacterial/viral material. Can we say pandemic focal point. And yes such coatings are readily available. +hospital/doctors offices that also fail to protect surfaces (pens, surfaces of table tops, door handles etc.

  52. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    I hate how retail has completely bastardized the word “free”, and most consumers don’t even blink.

    If you’re giving me an additional item at no *extra* cost when I buy 3, then you’re just offering me a 25% discount when I buy 4 of said item. Free denotes no currency or cost whatsoever.

    Unless you will just give me just the one for free without my having to purchase the additional three…IT’S NOT @#*($&@#* FREE!!!

  53. pittstonjoma says:

    One of my jobs in retail.. we are required to say how much was “saved”. We get in trouble if we don’t!

  54. UberGeek says:

    The one that makes my blood boil is “10 up”. They advertise all these great prices in their circular and at the bottom of the page they have a “prices are 10 up” disclaimer. What is that? They ring everything up at the advertised price (which will show up on your receipt that way) but then there’s a single “10 up” line near the sales tax that adds 10% to the subtotal. Do you see that back if you return it? Good luck.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Where other than a club where you know you will have to pay a surcharge do you see this kind of thing?

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Wow, this is absurd, I most certainly wouldn’t shop at a store that did this. This is likely illegal in a lot of states. I have never seen it, and any store that did it would probably instantly lose my business.

  55. NumberSix says:

    Having to hunt down help only to have that person not be able to help because its not their department.

    • Charmander says:

      I’m sure that is irritating to you, but here’s the deal. As stores try to cut costs and maximize profits for their shareholders, the amount of employee hours goes down. That’s why it can be so hard to track down an employee – it’s really not our fault and we are not avoiding you.

      Many times I’ll be standing in the wrong aisle and people will ask me questions about plumbing items that I have no idea about. That really really isn’t my department – I have zero knowledge about plumbing items other than knowing what aisle they are on. But ask me anything about housewares, domestics, toys, and storage, and you’re going to find a very knowledgeable person talking to you. It is impossible for me – or anyone who works in a large store – to know everything about every item.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Unfortunately in the world of big box retail, its very unlikely you are going to find someone knowledgeable about the products they are selling. Its impossible for the employee to know everything about every product in the store. Its just not something I expect unless I am seeking advice from a specialty retailer that sells one type of product, and likely hires people who know what they are doing. If I am seeking advice from Walmart or Target, I just don’t expect the employees to be able to answer every question or any questions at all.

      The only type of question I really expect answered is, if you have this, or if you carry this type of product, where is the product, if I cannot find it in the store. Perhaps do you have any more of product x if its not on the shelf. Even so the instances when I ask are extremely rare.

      Its common for retailers to place workers wherever they are needed, or to fill in for someone’s break. Some people might even be assigned to multiple departments.

  56. Disappointed says:

    My boyfriend despises the TVs that some (thankfully, very few at the moment) stores have that blast ads at you. Our local Jewel-Osco (grocery store) has them in the produce department, and at every single checkout register. Our local Shell gas stations also have them at every gas pump.

  57. baxter says:

    Dunkin donuts, we got a card from a cheerleadin group for various discounts around town, one of which was buy 6 donuts get six free. The wording was legal but a little misleading because 6 donuts cost $5.79, while a full dozen was $6.99 so you only save $1.20 instead a possible $3.50. Petty I know but we love our donuts

  58. Charmander says:

    Here’s what I hate: stupid ass customers who cannot figure out percentages.

    If something is 20% off the regular price, and you cannot figure out how much the item is, then you have no business being in a store or having money in your pocket. Back to grade school!!

    People who cannot figure out that buy one/get the second one free is the same as 50% off both items irk me as well. Stupid, stupid people.

  59. sopmodm14 says:

    upsells are optional, and they hate saying it as much as we hate hearing them,…if they politely ask, i politely decline, just no reason to get nasty

    mispricing is always tough….the staff places everything in order, and shoppers of all ages rearrange things (like the GAP article)

    if they had a “you touch, you buy”, i’m sure everything would be streamlined, but it isn’t consumer-friendly now is it ? LOL

    retail is cut-throat it seems, just shop with a positive atttitude and the outlook will be better

    all the goofiness w/ fine print coupons or upsells are encouraged by corporate suits who probably have 0.0000 experience (how many CEO’s worked their way up right)

    just yesterday as i was waiting in line to pay, some jerk was chewing out the cashier for something that was out-of-stock….felt bad for the kid as..he didn’t drive the truck and didn’t do the stocking……..then it turns out, the customer in front of me missed out on the weekly limited quantities promo that started at the beginning of the week on the last day of the week, so of course it was out of inventory

    there are things beyond ppl’s controls, but again, positive attitude

  60. Kibit says:

    My pet peeve is when the store is busy, they have 25 check out lanes and only 3 or 4 of those lanes are open and each lane has at least 4-5 people in each line. This is especially frustrating when there are a ton of employees in the store. Open more lanes!

  61. Fett101 says:

    It’s funny/sad that some people think mispriced and misplaced items are a conspiracy to get them to spend more money when the truth is the corporations are simply too cheap on help/hours to properly maintain signage.

  62. JayPhat says:

    Wow, some of this is just petty bitching/
    “Staples at the back of the store”
    The milk and eggs are there for a reason. One, it’s easier to stock there since it may be connected to a refrigerated stockroom. Two, that refrigerated stockroom in the back may have saved the company thousands of dollars in designs and plumbing by keeping all the refrigerant items centrally located near the back of the store. It’s not to make you work harder to shop.

  63. gman863 says:

    Checkout speed (or lack of it) is Number One on my retail shit list.

    I actually like self-scan checkouts. The lines (if any) are shorter. Since I have an IQ above 60, it’s easy to pass the black and white barcode over the shiny laser thing until you hear “beep!” It’s also funny watching customers who fall below the level of “trainable” doing stuff like attempting to scan a whole watermelon or wondering why the scanner doesn’t read “Tide” or “Charmin” from the front label.

    Having worked in retail, good stores have “backup” cashiers – stock, customer service and even management staff who have a till set up in a register and can be paged to help out when lines get long. Sadly, it seems that fewer stores are actually doing this.

    Recently, both Office Depot and Best Buy have been checkout experiences from Hell. Had the cashiers dropped the “Do you have a rewards card? No? Sign up for one now. Would you like an extended warranty? Are you SURE you don’t want the extended warranty? How about a free magazine subscription? Can I sucker you into applying for a credit card?” bullshit, the wait time would have dropped by about 75%!

    The best checkout service in Texas is at H-E-B. No “discount” card needed. No charity donation guilt. If an item scans over the posted price, the cashier has the authority to fix it without a ten minute price check fiasco. And, true to their ads, they are lower on most items compared to Kroger.

  64. PennandInk says:

    First: Club cards. Definitely those. “We’re not going to give you the prices that you see unless you agree that we can collect everything we can find out about you.”

    Second: I call it fuzzy pricing, which is more than simply putting something on sale. By constantly jerking pricing around, you no longer have a clear idea what the price is for a given item and have to keep coming back to the store to find out the price that week/day.

  65. BurtReynolds says:

    Loyalty cards. I don’t shop at some stores because I don’t have the card, and don’t want another card to carry around.

    Mail-in rebates. Just give me the discount at the register and stop making me jump through hoops and document what I send to some strange address in case someone screws up.

    Places like CVS have also gone to some sort of in-store dollars as a rebate. So you buy a pack of Advil for $5 and get $1 CVS cash and they advertise it as “like paying $4”. No it is not.

    Shipping Charges. Two points. One is when you don’t have a product in-store and offer to order it for me. Don’t charge me shipping. I could have done that myself online and not bothered to go into the store. I shouldn’t have to pay shipping because you can’t stock something. Point two is ridiculous shipping charges. $10 for $100 worth of clothing? Come on. That is just ridiculous. It is often the same store as gripe #1.

    Also not necessarily a “retailer”, but the practice I’ve seen car dealerships engage in where they advertise a car for $20,000, but when you read the small print, it is a $30k car with a $1k discount, $4k in rebates, and $5k cash down. You can’t advertise a price based on someone putting money down. You might as well say the car is “free” with a $30,000 down payment.

    • webweazel says:

      “One is when you don’t have a product in-store and offer to order it for me. Don’t charge me shipping. I could have done that myself online and not bothered to go into the store. I shouldn’t have to pay shipping because you can’t stock something.”

      Agreed. If it’s going to be shipped directly to ME, I’ll pay shipping. I understand that. If it’s going to be shipped to the STORE, do NOT charge me shipping. You’re just throwing it on a store delivery truck from the warehouse, anyway, don’t try to pull my leg. I won’t pay it, and will shop elsewhere.

    • skakh says:

      About the car dealerships, I totally agree. When I see such an ad, I quickly assume these car dealers are less than honest and should be avoided. I always buy elsewhere. I also question the various lease deals. A manufacturer will state a car may be leased for $349 a month for 36 months with $3,600 down! Sorry folks this is more like $449 a month. Sadly, there are far too many people who don’t understand the real math!

  66. maruawe says:

    IF you want to really have some fun with the cashier. Ask him/her ” where is the money that I saved at this store, I would like it put in my credit card account”.. works at Target and Best Buy(I don’t shop there but was there with a friend). The explanations are so funny.. One lady asked the manager to explain where the money was as she did not know………

  67. maruawe says:

    IF you want to really have some fun with the cashier. Ask him/her ” where is the money that I saved at this store, I would like it put in my credit card account”.. works at Target and Best Buy(I don’t shop there but was there with a friend). The explanations are so funny.. One lady asked the manager to explain where the money was as she did not know………

  68. Red Cat Linux says:

    Leaving ginormous restocking pallets in the aisle.

    Stuff on the end caps.

    Items stacked in such a way that you have to unfold the thing to get to the tag with the size/fabric information

    Aisles are barely wide enough to get two carts down.

    Twitchy automated cashiers that need constant hand holding from a single overworked attendant holding the hands of seven other machines: Please remove the last item from the belt… Please remove the last item from the bagging area…Please wait for assistance.

  69. SilentAgenger says:

    Inflating the retail price for a sale item so that even though you may be getting it cheaper than the original price, you’re not saving as much as you thought.

  70. NotarySojac says:

    Plastic grocery “bags” whose thickness can be measured in fractions of a micron. The baggers know this and if you buy 32 items, likely you’ll wind up with 26 bags in your cart.

  71. Frau Eva says:

    The toys at the checkout are universally hated. As a cashier, I hated them. And what was worse, they were always the sort of toys that your kid would think is AWESOME for five minutes, tops, then discard. I openly steered kids away from those products and was never told anything, thankfully. At least I’m allowed to generally be honest with the customer in a way that I feel builds loyalty and higher eventual sales volume.

  72. brinks says:

    Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease email this article to every head of every retail chain.

    As a retail manager, I KNOW these things bug the crap out of everyone, but we have to do as our corporate clowns suggest. I’d really like for all of my previous higher-ups to read this.

  73. brinks says:


    I know you hate rebates, but that’s all the manufacturer’s doing. The retailer has no say in the matter. PLEASE don’t throw a hissy fit and berate your poor cashier who makes minimum wage and can’t do a damn thing about it.

  74. McMead says:

    If people are giving into their childrens demands, they obviously arent disciplined. Its not the retailers fault for adding another convenient factor rather than going through the entire store again.

  75. robtmelvin says:

    This is a simple thing, but highly annoying to me. Cashiers, especially younger people, who cannot even have the simple courtesy to say “thank you” when you make your purchase. Also, department personnel who seem to be more interested in their personal telephone call or talking with their friend/family member hanging out at their work place than providing “customer service”. Ultimately, this goes back to poor management in not insisting on employees being courteous to customers and keeping an eye on the business they are charged with running.