Is Being a Grocery Clerk a Bad Job? : The Grocery Game Challenge #2 Oct 12-18,2015

grocery clerk job



If you are contemplating applying for a job as a grocery clerk I’ve got some great resources for you today which might help you on your job hunting journey. 

I’ve never worked as a grocery clerk before although I did work in the grocery industry.

My role was picking cases of products in a warehouse which was a repetitive, tough job with long 12 hour shifts, but it paid well.

In the UK it’s not easy to find a job fresh out of University or if you just want to enter the workforce.

When I came to Canada I was amazed at all the opportunities that were in front of me but sadly most of the careers that I was interested in required me to go back to school, which is what I did.

Working as a grocery store clerk is a great opportunity to gain experience working in customer service which can then take you to other levels in the working world.

Not everyone who gets a job in a grocery store wants to retire there but for those that do they may end up getting promoted which means better opportunity and more money. Working as a grocery store clerk is a great way for students, seniors or those who want a part-time job to get into the workforce. It’s tough to score a full-time grocery store job these days unless it’s management or you move up in the company with years of experience.

I had a teen named Christine send me a few questions last week because she wants to find a part-time job while she attends University and was wondering if any of the fans had tips to share with her about working in a grocery store. She wants to work as a grocery store clerk because she doesn’t mind dealing with customers, money and the repetitive nature of the job. She wants to know, “Is working as a grocery clerk a bad job to have?”


Working at a grocery store vs fast food


Christine is also contemplating working in fast food such as McDonald’s or Tim Hortons but she isn’t sure if she is cut out for the fast pace of those jobs. Working in fast food is fast as the title suggests which means you are on the go your entire shift. The employee turnover rate is probably much higher in fast food than it is in supermarkets however keep in mind a grocery clerk job is also fast paced.

Another one of her questions: Is working in a grocery store hard?

Working as a grocery store clerk can be challenging but when you are working with food it’s all time sensitive which means when it’s hot, you have to serve it hot. Some grocery stores time the cashiers to see how fast they can check-out a customer.

One of the hard parts is having to wait for a price check because that will hold up an entire line and the grocery clerk will have to deal with those customers who kick up a fuss.

Ultimately when you work in a fast-paced customer service role you have to be alert to time, the customer and being a leader for your company.

My wife has worked in both the grocery store and fast food industry and told me that if you don’t like dealing with customers stay away. The only thing that kept her going was the customers while working in this industry. Once she left the customer service based role and moved to a desk career she found she often missed that interaction.

What tips can you add about working in fast food vs the grocery store?


Benefits of working at a grocery store


With the help of my wife we came up with these benefits although we know that if you’ve worked in a grocery store that you may have more reasons why someone should apply for a grocery clerk job. That means that our list is not all-inclusive because most often it’s boils down to what you personally enjoy.

  • Many grocery stores offer minimum wage plus jobs
  • Some may be union jobs which many mean more per hour and other benefits
  • Potential benefits for full-time employees
  • You get to deal with the public
  • There’s always something new going on
  • Easy way to make money if you want to work part-time
  • Flexible hours if you are a parent or looking for part-time hours
  • You get the best discount groceries and see all the deals first
  • You may get a staff discount card or discount days for stuff you actually need, Food! Some companies give employee discounts for stuff they don’t even need. Example: Discount on a vehicle if you work in a car manufacturing plant (Unless of course you are buying a new vehicle)
  • Potential heads up on all the new flyer specials
  • Bonding with the regulars who come in and building friendships
  • You get to listen to music while you work

One of our CBB fans Juanita works at a Sobey’s store and had this to add:

Some stores give their staff an in-store discount. Where I work on a specific day of the month we receive 10% off a purchase of $50 or more.

What other benefits can you think of for someone considering a job as a grocery store clerk?

Although I can probably come up with just as many reasons why working as a grocery clerk is a tough job there are the obvious but not everyone considers them a problem.

  • Long periods of standing
  • Dealing with difficult customers
  • Part-time hours when you want full-time
  • Little to no benefits if offered
  • Wearing a uniform
  • Late nights and weekend work
  • Heavy lifting
  • Repetitive work

CBB fan Juanita had this con to add:

Over-spending can be a huge con especially if you want to stick to your grocery budget as some people like shopping everyday after their shift and pick up what is on sale or on special that day. This may work to their advantage but they also might blow their grocery budget if they have one.

What other cons can you think of for those considering a job as a grocery store clerk?


Grocery Clerk skills and job description


I went ahead and did a search online for a grocery clerk job description and made my way to Workopolis where I found a job ad for Freshco/Sobey’s. They are hiring a grocery clerk for their new store opening up in Brampton, Ontario which means everything in the store is brand new and very clean.

Working in a new grocery store is just as difficult as working in an older grocery store even though some people may say that it’s hard to keep up with how pristine a new store is.

Sample grocery clerk job description as taken from Workopolis

Interested in delivering the newest grocery products available to consumers across Canada? Do you have a strong sense of detail and enjoy being part of a customer service focused team of energetic people? Then we’d like you to join our grocery department team!

The grocery department at FreshCo is responsible for products ranging from cereals to ice cream, from hair care to pet care. Thousands of different products and brands are stocked on our shelves.

Whether taking a customer to where a product is located, to helping them make the right choice of product, or simply taking pride in setting up a well-organized display, the members of our grocery team are focused on ensuring customers leave our stores with exactly what they need.

We achieve this through strong organizational skills, a team mentality to getting the work done and great product knowledge. Training is provided and a part-time position can lead to promotion and other great opportunities in our business.

Grocery clerk job requirements

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Compliance with safety and sanitation procedures
  • Experience and knowledge of the Grocery Department is an asset
  • Retail experience is an asset
  • Available to work DAYS, evening, and weekends


Grocery store job titles


Working at a grocery store you will find that there are different roles throughout the store depending on what your grocery store has to offer. Although the roles may be similar the job descriptions may vary. Below are some of the job titles you may find in a grocery store.

  • Grocery Clerk
  • Grocery Cashier
  • Grocery Manager
  • Grocery Stockperson
  • Bakery Clerk
  • Produce Clerk
  • Meat Department Clerk
  • Dairy Clerk
  • Frozen Food Clerk
  • Sushi Clerk
  • Deli Clerk
  • Seafood Clerk
  • Fresh and Hot Food Clerk
  • Baker
  • Senior Cashier
  • Self-Checkout Clerk
  • Self-Checkout Manager
  • Assistant Store and Department Managers

The one skill that these job titles have in common is ‘customer service‘. You must be able to deal with the public day in and day out with a smile even though you may not want to.

Most grocery stores will find they have high turnover because most grocery clerk jobs these days are only part-time and suitable for someone who is happy to have 15-20 hours a week. I remember talking to a grocery store clerk at Zehrs one day and although she was making more than minimum wage her hours weren’t paying the rent.

Grocery store managers may hire students to work evenings and weekends because they would rather work those hours after they are done school. The problem is they never stick around because as soon as they graduate they move on to find a career that they studied for.

With such high turnover many grocery stores are doing more hiring of those aged 55 and higher. My mother-in-law who is over 55 recently got a job at a local grocery store as a grocery clerk. She was over the moon excited because she was struggling to find a job at her age. She was laid off from her previous job and found that most businesses didn’t want to invest in training someone of her age even though she said she still has at least 10 years before retirement.

She has lived without an income for the past two years and was over the moon excited to find out she got the job. She said that she missed dealing with customers and loves to help people find what they need. She’s only a few weeks into her new job and she has no complaints thus far. She’s just happy to have a job to give her some extra spending money and to help fund their retirement.

What other job titles can you think of for a grocery store clerk?


Grocery Store advancement


One of the great reasons to get a job as a grocery store clerk is the potential to move up in the company especially if you plan to stay a while. My wife has a cousin who has worked at Metro since the store was called A&P and is now a department manager. He loves working for the company because they are flexible and work around his family life schedule. With management positions and promotion comes a salary increase as well.

Since most students want to work as a grocery store clerk or in fast food the one thing we need to remember especially for the grocery sector is that technological changes have slowed down the hiring of employees. Where we used to have many cashiers open in a given day now we have self-scanners which are manned by one grocery store clerk. These scanners have taken over the role of the traditional grocery store clerk which means less job opportunity.

According to the census data, in 2006 women held approximately 33% of the positions in this occupation, a proportion that has risen slowly since 1991 (26%). There is a lot of night and weekend work, and store shelf stockers are sometimes required to do night work. The data on annual employment income ($22,549) presented in the “Characteristics” section under “Statistics” applies only to the 31% of this occupation’s members who worked full-time and full year in 2005. The average employment income of those who did not work full-time or full year, including a number of students, came to only $8,594. There were very few self-employed workers in this occupation in 2006 (1% compared to 11% for all occupations).- Stats Canada


Grocery Store interview questions


That’s great you’ve got the interview lined up and now you want to know what human resources might ask you in your job interview. Aside from the obvious your best strategy is to know your resume inside out and the company you are applying for. You must know who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve learned and what you want from a company.

CBB Fan Juanita had this to add:

If you are called in for an interview you could be interviewed by your possible new manager, supervisor, assistant store manager, store manager or maybe even a human resources manager (each store is different with the interview process). If and when you are hired in our store for instance there are usually training shifts for either a few days or few weeks based on the job role you have been hired for.

Here are a few sample grocery store interview questions for Metro, No Frills, Provigo, Save On Foods and Zehrs to get you started from the Glass Door.

If you sign up at the Glass Door you can see the full questions but remember that these are just examples and there are so many possible interview questions. I don’t know how they get these questions but either way they are great questions to add to your mock interview. Take my suggestion above and you should ace the interview.

  • Why do you want to work at Save On Foods, No Frills, Zehrs?
  • What would you do if you saw a co-worker take $20 from the cash register?
  • How do you deal with angry customers?
  • Are you searching for a temporary or permanent position?
  • Can you work weekends?
  • Can you lift heavy objects over 30lbs?
  • Do you have any retail or customer service experience?
  • Have you ever worked in a grocery store before?

How to apply for a grocery clerk job?

You can easily bring a resume into any grocery store if they accept resumes or many ask that you apply online or through a third-party job bank service such as Workopolis. Below are a few Canadian grocery store websites that have career opportunities listed and tips for applying for a job.

  • Sobeys Careers which also inclues Safeway, Freshco,  Foodland, IGA, Thrifty Foods and Lawtons
  • Careers at Walmart Canada accept online applications
  • Careers at Metro Canada
  • Loblaws Stores Careers also offer graduate opportunities where they partner with different schools and alumni. You can submit your resume in person at a store or distribution centre, or online at, and it will be uploaded to the electronic database.

Loblaws banners include:

  • Independent
  • Zehrs
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Wholesale Club
  • Club Entrepot
  • Lees Entrepot Presto
  • T&T Supermarket
  • Osaka Supermarket
  • Shoppes Drug Mart
  • Bloor Street Market
  • Valu-Mart
  • Loblaws
  • Fortinos
  • Provigo
  • No Frills
  • Atlantic Superstore
  • Extra Foods
  • Maxi


Grocery Store work is not for everyone


I know this was a long post but I believe that when you are interested in a career the most important thing you can do is research which includes talking to people who work in the industry.

When you network with people who already work in the role you are interested in you will be able to ask them any questions you’d like so you can make an informed decision. Ultimately you will only know if you are right for the role once you work in it.

Please leave comments to any of the above questions if you’ve ever worked in a a grocery store or a fast food outlet for any readers who are contemplating a job in the grocery or fast food industry.


October Grocery Game Challenge posts


Join in the Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are the rules to get you started and if you have any questions feel free to email me.

New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card. The odds are good right now to win each month but I hope to have more people join the GGC not to win but to get back control of their grocery budget. The more people who join the bigger the prize payout will be. Winning is just the perk.

I use a random online generator to pick the winning ballot every month.

If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up each week here for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. This makes posting a bit easier although all you need to do is click on The Grocery Game Challenge on the homepage sidebar and you will see them all.


Free Tools to get you started with your grocery budget


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsFree Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.

NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly.

If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.

If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.


2015 Grocery shop results


Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $235 per year or $25 per month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $235.00
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $32.40
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $140.00
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 30660
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Snap Groupon to date: $28.00
  • Zweet to date: $18.00
  • Checkout51 to date: $6.00


Grocery Shop This Week


Food Basics

  • 2 small pumpkins $1.50 each
  • Raspberries $2.88
  • Strawberries $2.88

Total Out-of-Pocket $8.75


  • Browning Sauce $3.29-50%
  • Stuffing Mix $1.00
  • Liberte Greek Yogurt Blueberry $5.29-50%
  • PC Organic Arugula $5.49-50%
  • 10lbs potatoes $1.67
  • Fennel $2.99 (it’s huge)
  • 6 x Bagged Whole Chickens In-store special $4.01, $4.19, $3.68, $3.64, $4.16, $3.66
  • Brie $6.99-50%
  • 2x PC Spanish Salami $6.99 each-50%
  • 2% milk $3.97
  • 3.23% milk $4.97

Total Out-of-Pocket: $56.49

  • Total to spend this month $235
  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $25.00+July $14.44+Aug $25.00+Sept $25.00+ Oct $
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $23.94
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $34.50
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $41.89
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $623.00
  • Total spent this week: $65.24
  • Total spent so far this month: $134.28
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over $over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $104.70
  • Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $218.12+ June $235.67+July $212.16+August $118.15+ September $130.37+ October $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We were lucky to score some great deals over at Zehrs which were not on our list such as the chickens and a few of the 50% off items. Going into Zehrs is hit or miss for us and we know that it could make or break our budget because we are tempted by those stickers. We’re still on track though for the month and I’m making lots of chicken noodle soup!



Canadian Coupons Found


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!

We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

grocery store coupons Canada October 2015


Frequently Asked Questions


  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: Yes No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest  Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading out but mobile coupon apps are the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households have gotten involved with their new mobile app joining forces with the many apps that are already out there.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.

You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.

This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.

If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.

Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.

If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2015!

Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.


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