Grocery Store Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts for Your Weekly Shop
Watch that buggy.
There’s no excuse for bad manners. Good manners are free of charge, easy to employ, and bona fide evidence that your mama and daddy raised you right. But sometimes, matters of etiquette prove trickier than you might expect, so we’re here to set the record straight. Consider it your Southern Living guide to modern manners. Be polite, or die trying, y’all.
Let’s talk grocery store etiquette.
Piggly Wiggly, Publix, and the Winn Dixie. We spend so much time at the grocery store that they’re practically our homes away from home. But just because they feel like home doesn’t mean we should throw caution—or our manners—to the wind.
Is it ever appropriate to use your phone in the grocery store?
Sparingly, yes. We’ve all been on aisle 7 trying to figure out exactly what Ma puts in her meatloaf, and only a phone call home will unburden us of such woes. That said, calling your best friend to talk smack about your neighbor’s tasteless lawn ornaments should not be done in the produce department. Also, if you must text someone whilst shopping, be mindful of where you’ve parked your buggy to do so. Are you obstructing the asparagus? Blockading the broccoli? Be mindful of your surroundings. Oh, and never, ever use your phone while the cashier is ringing up your groceries. Lift your eyes from your screen and try a nice “Hello. How are you?” instead.
What about sneaking into the express line with, say, 15 items instead of the permitted 10?
Shoppers choose the express line for a number of reasons: To limit the amount of time spent in the grocery store, to simplify their already hectic lives, and to decrease the chances that their awake-past-naptime child has a total meltdown at the cash register. Do not be the person that triggers that tantrum. 10 items or less means 10 items or less.
Is it okay to open and eat foods that you’re planning to buy while shopping?
Let’s revisit the child on the verge of a nuclear meltdown: Animal crackers/bananas/those-weird-dried-yogurt-bites-small-children-eat-these-days certainly may be opened to satiate the unhappy beast that’s consumed your tiny tot. This privilege of snacking in the aisles, however, terminates around the ripe old age of 8 or 9. After that, food consumption in the grocery store is limited to the provided free samples (One per customer, please. Freebies are a privilege, not a right) or the slice of Boar’s Head turkey they’ll cut for you at the Publix deli counter to determine desired thickness.
Can I wear loungewear/athleisure/stretchy pants to the grocery?
Oh boy, deep breaths here. No matter which way we answer this, we’ll leave someone disappointed. Lipstick and gloves were long ago deemed overkill for running to the Pig (thanks be), but even in an era that treasures comfort, common decency reigns supreme. Swinging through Harris Teeter for eggs on your way home from Pilates in your gym clothes? Totally fine. Life’s too short for outfit changes after every event. But strolling into Food Lion in your pajama pants on a slow Saturday morning just because? You can do better! Make your mama proud. Of course, if you still like to dress up for the grocery a la your Great Aunt Mitsy, more power to you, sister. I’ll be the first to compliment your matchy-matchy shoes and handbag.
What's your go-to hack for saving money at the grocery store? Tell us about it in the comments.