The Grocery Game | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

What Every Grocery Store Clerk Wants Customers To Know : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 July 25-31

what every grocery store clerk wants to say to customers

There likely isn’t one grocery store clerk out there that hasn’t bitten their tongue when dealing with customers who don’t follow the rules or simply make up their own rules when grocery shopping.

It’s been said that if you don’t take care of your customer then your competition will and with that comes silence and smiles from most retail clekrs. The grocery store clerk wants to say things to you badly so you can understand what it’s like being on the other side of the grocery belt all day but fears backlash from the customer and sometimes management.

The customer is always right? WRONG!, but in customer service the employee may keep on smiling and carry on just to appease the customer. These bad customer experiences though make for a long work day for any grocery store clerk but always remember happy always outweighs negativity.


You are part of the team


What you are as a customer is part of the company you are spending your money at. That’s right when you shop at any store you become part of that organization which means you help us and we’ll help you. It’s a win-win if we all work together but as you know there will always be the bad apples.

You may think, oh cry me a river it’s your job but if we all treated people with a bit more respect in this world maybe we wouldn’t have so many of the problems that we do. Believe it or not but grocery store jobs are hard to come by and it takes skill to keep up with the pace of one of the busiest places on this planet.

Think about your own career or business and how many times you’ve had to bite your tongue because a customer is being quarrelsome over something that is beyond your control. This is what a bully customer does and it doesn’t stop there because the further they can push to get what they want the harder they will throw.

I saw the below meme on Pinterest which prompted me to learn more about what it’s like to be a grocery store clerk and things they wish they could speak up about but hesitate to.

day for retail clerks to tell customers what they think without getting in trouble(1)

The Grocery Store Clerk Speaks Up


I put out a request on social media for fans who work in a grocery store to share with us what they really want to tell customers but most often can’t or won’t.

Below is what they had to say and for many of you it may seem shocking but for those who work in a grocery store it will make a difference for them if we all pitch-in.

Thank-you for the huge response and although I’d love to share all of your opinions I’ve picked through them all to make sure all topics were covered from what was sent in.

Obviously this is not the be all and end all of what the grocery store clerk wants to say but there are messages that should be heard by all. It’s clear that grocery store employees come face to face with plenty of people who could do with a bit of a reminder on how things work and who’s in charge at the grocery store.


I’m a Grocery Store Clerk


I would like customers to know that I am a store clerk, I was hired to help you but there are things that I cannot control such as;

  • Logistics
  • Scheduling
  • Quality of product
  • Product assortment or if the shelf gets cleared before the end of a sale.

So please don’t be rude or disrespectful when I can’t give you the answer you are looking for. I docomplaining to a cashier about corporate policy not have authority to change things. I can only offer what I have been authorized to do and being loud and unruly will not solve the issue. This will only escalate the situation and result in diminished respect and an unpleasant confrontation.


Speaking up Speeds Up the process


I am a grocery store cashier and when you throw your products on the belt please try to keep things organized and let me know if you have any coupons or concerns ahead of time and not at the end of the service. This will help me make your grocery shopping experience as quick as possible so you can carry on with your day.


Turn off your phone, I won’t bite


Get off your smartphone when you are standing in front of me waiting to cash you out unless you are opening your coupon app to price-match or view your grocery list.

CBB Note: A coupon app example is Checkout51 in Canada that customers use in place or in conjunction with paper coupons and a great way to save money. A full list of coupon apps and other helpful grocery shopping apps are at the bottom of this post.

I find it very disrespectful when customers can’t hold off to chat to whoever they have to chat to while I’m scanning their groceries. Think about the customers behind you who are patiently waiting to get out of the store but I’m having to wait for you to finish your phone conversation to ask you a question about your order.


Smells like…


Tone down the perfume when you come to the grocery store. I have a reaction every time I smell a customer who piles on the perfume and it makes me gag, sneeze and blow my nose continuously.

I don’t mind perfume but limit the amount you use to a squirt not a full-body spray. You’ll only slow me down because now I have to stop and blow my nose, turn my head and sneeze or try to avoid you at all costs which I don’t want to do.


Organization helps


If you are using tonnes of coupons you know how the coupon policies work so please abide by them. It’s also nice if you have your coupons organized so I don’t have to spend 10 minutes ruffling through them all while customers behind you are patiently waiting.

I understand it’s your time in the grocery line but it’s also important to respect people whose time is just as valuable as your own. A few minutes of organization will save me more time than you think.


I’m not your verbal punching bag


Please stop yelling for things that are beyond my control and treating me like I’m some uneducated high-school drop-out that got a job as a cashier because that’s the only job that I could find to suit my intelligence.

No, I don’t know every price in the entire store and yes I have to look them up at times. I can’t help you if we are out of product but I can point you in the direction of customer service where they are more than willing to help you. I also don’t know exactly where every product is located in the grocery store either so be patient when you ask and we’re unsure. We’ll find what you are looking for if we carry it.


My life is none of your business


I have a real problem when customers come through my cash and look down on me like it must be so sad to earn such little money and be poor. They won’t say hi, they look away and are very condescending when I have to ask them a question.

I’ve even had people ask me how I afford to live on minimum wage. My financial well-being is none of your business. Working in a grocery store is NOT easy especially with customers like you.

Many of us have degrees, diplomas or other personal reasons for wanting to work in a grocery store. I don’t need to explain my situation to you so please don’t tell me that you’d never do my job or that I deserve better. You don’t know me or my situation so keep personal out of your interactions when dealing with grocery store staff.


I’m not just a grocery store clerk


Just because I’m not at my cash register when you show up doesn’t mean I’m goofing off doing that's 1.99 i thought it was 1.50 nevermind I don't want itnothing. If you currently do or have worked in a grocery store you know that you may be asked to assist in all areas of the supermarket. This is what a team does.

When I’m not busy I’m instructed to fix shelves, return unwanted product, stock shelves and clean around the front area where customers come through the store. I do keep my eye on the cash at all times but in the event I am not there please don’t yell at me or treat me like I’m useless. I’m working hard to keep your store, our store the best it can be.


Where is your child?


Please control your children at all costs. I don’t want your child running behind where I’m working trying to push buttons or going through my stuff. If you can’t control them find suitable arrangements or ways to keep them occupied. When I’m distracted I am inclined to make errors when your paying for your goods and services. I don’t mind children at all but for the best experience keep them close to you.


Lovers Quarrel front and centre


I’ve worked in a grocery store for many years now and one thing that gets me every time is when couples fight at the cash register. I don’t want to know your financial and relationship problems nor do I want to get involved so please don’t ask my advice. The worst is when there are children in line and words that shouldn’t be used are used. Duke it out in the car, better yet try to work it out like responsible adults.


Card Decline


If you choose to pay for your order with credit card or debit and your card is declined don’t get mad at me. It’s not my fault and I’m sorry but I can’t fix the problem. You’ll have to contact your bank to find out why the card is being declined.


Managers are there for a reason


Talk to a manager if you aren’t happy with the response that I give you to a question you ask. I’m only following the rules. If in the event I’m not right I will own up to that mistake but telling me in a huff that you will take it up with my manager as if you are scaring me…doesn’t scare me at all. Go for it.


Become friends with your shopping cart


For the love of all things at the grocery store please stop leaving your garbage in the grocery carts. I’ve been pushing carts in and out of the grocery store since I was a teen and the amount of junk that’s left in them is horrifying.

The grocery store provides garbage cans at the entrance and throughout the store. You can also find grocery cans where you place your empty shopping cart. Oh, and please stop being lazy and leaving your grocery cart in your parking space. This can cause damage to other vehicles and other accidents.

Other things I’ve found in grocery carts are groceries, kids stuff, smartphones, wallets, shoes, personal items, clothing. You name it, I’ve probably found it. Give your grocery cart the walk around before you put it away just to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.

Although I am not perfect if you notice a defective or broken grocery cart please report it so it doesn’t cause an accident for the next person. A child may be at risk as can anyone else in the way of a grocery cart that should be removed.


Keep the conversation light


I don’t mind having a conversation with you because I’m a cashier and my aim is to be fast, friendly and customer service oriented. What I don’t care for is to hear you entire life story condensed into the time it takes me to scan your grocery order.

It’s hard for me to look up and talk to you when you are expecting me to answer and I may make errors. You may pay more money or less money if I scan something twice, miss a scan or the price is incorrect. Talk to me if you wish but keep it brief and please allow me to do my job.


Don’t be a lazy customer


Stop leaving food and other products on the floor by the cashier, in your grocery basket or on the racks when you cash out. Yes it is my job to keep my area clean but if you change your mind and don’t want that whole chicken the least you can do is just give it to me so I can call a department clerk to bring it back.


Treat grocery staff equally


Just because I’m a male grocery store clerk who works the front-end which doesn’t mean I don’t understand how the grocery store works or how to grocery shop. In fact I went grocery shopping with my parents often and when I was in University did my grocery shopping, used coupons and rewards cards. I’m well aware how everything works so don’t try to pull a fast one on me just because you think I’m the easiest target grocery store cashier.


Garbage belongs in the bin


As a night-time stock associate I see all sorts of garbage left on the shelves. I’ve also found purses, wallets, smartphones, baby bottles, food, empty coffee cups and money. I do catch people leaving stuff on the shelves and although I’d never say anything I would like to tell you to respect your grocery store.

There are people who take pride in their job and those who enjoy their shopping experience and don’t want to see junk left in random spots around the store. It shouldn’t be my job to clean up your mess as I’m not your mother. If I find something of value I bring it to customer service where it can be claimed but don’t yell at me if you can’t find what you left behind. Your loss, sorry.


Ask and you shall receive


I’m sorry if I don’t tell you about the scanning code of practice (SCOP) as it’s not in my job description to do so. What I am instructed to so is find the correct price and adjust it so you pay what you are supposed to pay. In the event you are aware of SCOP then please advise me and I will apply it to your order. Don’t take it out on me and expect me to just give you stuff free. I follow the rules and so should you.

CBB Note: If you are unfamiliar with SCOP you can read all about it in our wildly online popular post- The Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) in Canada- Did you know?


Pay First, Eat Second


If you haven’t paid for it, don’t open it. I am shocked at how many people think it’s perfectly find to open something they get from the grocery store and start to eat it while they are shopping. If your child will be hungry bring snacks for them.

If you’ve forgotten snacks pay for them first then start your shopping trip. Eating stuff before you pay for it is stealing from the grocery store. You don’t have to walk out the front door with product to steal. If you eat it and then forget or pretend to pay for it you’re doing the same thing.


Help or be helped


Hand-held scanners are what we use to scan items that come through the cash that are large. If you have such items in your shopping cart it would really help if you were able to lift the product or turn it to the bar-code so I can scan it. In the event that you are unable to for whichever reason please tell me so I can get some help or come around the belt to help. This will help speed up the check-out process.

Oh, and please make sure you remove all items from the bottom of your cart so you don’t accidentally walk out of the store without paying for something. We have staff who are trained to keep an eye on customers who have items below to look for paid stickers placed on the items by the cashier.


Clean-up in Grocery Aisle 2


If you break something or a package accidentally opens or you see something that is out-of-place, expired product or should be removed, tell us. We won’t freak out, charge you or kick you out of the store. We appreciate you bringing stuff to our attention and realize that accidents happen and we may miss things. We’d rather keep our grocery store clean and safe for customers than having to deal with an accident.


Sort it out please


If you plan to pay me in coins at least roll them for me so I don’t have to spend unnecessary time counting while everyone is waiting and getting frustrated. Alternatively you can check in with customer service who may accept your coins for cash.

Some of our stores have coin-star machines where you can dump your change for cash. It costs for the service but you won’t have to carry it all around with you. Another thing that irks me is when I hold out my hand for money and the customer puts the money down on the belt for me to pick up, wasting more time.


Fast lane is for fast customers


I understand that not everyone can read and may not understand they are trying to cash out in the fast lane. The fast-lane I work in is for up to 16 items and there is never a shift where I don’t have customers who come through with loaded grocery carts.

I have often reminded the customer that it’s the fast lane but most just shrug it off and tell me that they already have some of their stuff on the belt. If I’m not busy I’ll ring them through but I want you to know that I shouldn’t have to tell you to go to another line. My manager says to pick and choose my battles and not cause confrontation. If someone were to come in behind you they would get a less than happy shopping experience waiting for you.


Roll out the red carpet


Grocery shopping is an experience that some people enjoy where others would rather stay home and scrub floors. If you want to have the best customer service, a clean and efficient store that means you need to play the role of helpful customer. By helpful I mean being respectful and doing things because you can and not because you view it as, “Not my job”.

If you missed out on contributing to this post and want to add your feedback please leave a comment. Big thanks to everyone who emailed me for this post.

Calling all Customers: Now, I want to hear from customers who want to share things with the grocery store clerk about their job and how they could improve their service. Email me at Keep your response to a few small paragraphs. Please use specific situations if you can to explain.


July Grocery Game Challenge posts 2016


Join in the 2016 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 where you’ll also find a link for the updated 2016 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule so it’s handy.

New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card for Canadian residents only BUT If you want to play from outside of Canada and have PayPal and you win I will pay you $10 Canadian. 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 below for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. Alternatively, just click on the “Grocery Game Challenge” tab on the blog side-bar to see past posts.

July Grocery Game Posts


Free Money Saving Tools 2016


I know I blast you every which way I can on this blog about my free money saving tools and that’s because I want you to take advantage of them being FREE. So many people pay for budgets and tools on the internet to help them save money and honestly you don’t need to. Even a paper and pen will do the trick.

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

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can 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!

Free 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.

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. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2016


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken over 4 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2016 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

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

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$235.00-$31.53=$203.47
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $203.47
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $55
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 248,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points  (I will update this twice a year)

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

  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $17.00


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • 4 x Country Harvest Bread $15.00-50%=$7.50
  • Bananas $1.60
  • Kale $0.96 bunch
  • Cucumber $0.99
  • Radishes $1.99
  • Maple Lodge Wieners $1.99
  • 2 x Halal ground chicken $6.08-50%, $6.05-50%
  • Hot Italian Pork Sausages Butcher $4.01-50%=$2.00
  • 4 x Lean Beef $21.99, $21.93, $21.95, $21.85 all -50%
  • Danish Brie $3.00-50%=$1.50
  • Ricotta Cheese $6.49-50%=$3.25
  • 2% Milk $4.27
  • Astro Yogurt $1.99
  • 7 x Omega Plus Egg Cartons $3.99-50%=$14.00

Total Out-of-pocket $81.14

  • Total to spend this month : $203.47
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $23.94
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $15.36
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$67.35
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $402.65
  • Total spent this week: $61.44+$42.63+$59.19+$81.14
  • Total spent so far this month: $244.40
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: Over $40.93
  • Total left to spend for the month: -$40.93 carry over to August
  • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95+ Feb $249.46+March $211.11+April $248.11+May $279.07+June $231.96+July $244.40

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Surprise, Surprise we are over for the month but with good reason. We were NOT going to pass by all that meat and eggs at 50% off as it was such a good deal. With the wife eating meat and eggs just about every day it’s important to stock up when we can. Had we of not bumped into those pink stickers we would have come in under budget. It’s so hard when prices matter but so does our budget. We’ll keep on plunging away at it.


Coupons and Coupon Apps 2016


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2016?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

  • Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
  • Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
  • Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
  • Printable Smart Source Coupons
  • Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
  • Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
  • Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.


Grocery Game Challenge 2016 FAQ’s


  • 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. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
  • 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. If you choose to post monthly  or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. 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?: 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 in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? 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 longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • 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 with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • 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.

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 back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning…

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

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

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.

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 2016!

Please Note: Some of the links in the body of the blog post are affiliate links which means I may get paid if you buy something from Amazon. The items I’ve chosen are products we use at home or similar to.


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