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What annoys you the most about couponing at the grocery store? When someone clears the shelves before you can get that week’s hot deal? When cashiers give you the side-eye after the register rejects a legitimate coupon for some reason? When a couponer in front of you tries to get away with fraud?

None of those annoyances were named in a new survey of the worst grocery store etiquette offenses. But that could be because there were so many other annoyances to name.

The survey, released by TreadmillReviews.net, focused on do’s and don’ts in three areas of the grocery store – in the parking lot, in the aisles and at the checkout.

Annoyances in the parking lot are mostly related to shopping carts. Three out of four shoppers are annoyed when the parking lot becomes a demolition derby, because people don’t bother to put their shopping carts where they belong. 72% said it’s never okay to abandon your cart in the parking lot or worse yet, in a parking spot, instead of taking it to a cart return station. Bad drivers are also an annoyance – nearly half of the shoppers surveyed said they had almost been hit by another car when entering or leaving the parking lot.

Things don’t get much better inside the store. The overwhelming majority of shoppers said the worst behavior they’ve witnessed in the aisles is when someone leaves a perishable item somewhere else in the store. Grabbed some yogurt but then changed your mind while in the pet care aisle? No matter, just stick that yogurt on the shelf next to the dry dog food because it would be way too much of a hassle to walk all the way back to the yogurt aisle. A whopping 97% of shoppers surveyed said that particular action is not acceptable.

Other egregious behaviors on the list included sampling produce without paying, cited by 80% of shoppers, while the related behavior of eating or drinking products while shopping and before paying for them was cited by 78%. Other survey respondents said they’re bothered by shoppers who leave their cart in the middle of an aisle while they wander off to look for something. Others don’t like when shoppers gab loudly on their phone while making their way through the store.

And the annoyances aren’t over when you reach the checkout lane. 68% are annoyed when someone in front of them realizes they forgot something, so they head back into the store to grab it while they’re in the middle of checking out. And then everything has to come to a halt while everyone waits. Most shoppers agree that cutting in line is not acceptable, nor is going to the express lane with too many items. And, while it’s not actually the fault of other shoppers, many survey respondents said they get particularly annoyed when there are too many shoppers and too few registers open.

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To reiterate, in case you missed it, the survey was conducted by TreadmillReviews.net, a website that – as you might surmise – reviews treadmills.

Huh? What do treadmill reviews have to do with grocery shopping? The announcement about the survey’s findings makes quite a leap trying to draw the connection.

“After you decide what you want for dinner, let Treadmill Reviews help you figure out the rest of your health and wellness routine,” the company said. “Our experts will help you find the perfect treadmill for your needs and your space.”

All right, then.

It’s no secret that companies often commission self-serving surveys in order to generate news coverage that gives their product a plug. Quotient Technology and Coupons.com recently conducted a survey that concluded spending too much money was the number one cause of holiday shopping stress. So “to start saving today and reduce holiday anxiety, download the Coupons.com app,” the company suggested helpfully. Another recent survey found that holiday grocery shoppers would like to be able to buy more refrigerated items at the checkout – a curious conclusion that’s a little less curious when you consider the survey was conducted by Phononic, a company that makes small refrigeration units that can be placed at grocery checkouts.

So one might think TreadmillReviews.net would conduct a survey about – oh, let’s see, maybe treadmills? But they’re not likely to get a whole lot of news coverage that way. Grocery etiquette, however, is something everyone can relate to. So even if the survey subject is completely incongruous with the focus of the company that’s conducting it, there is perhaps no better way than latching onto a buzzworthy topic to get their name in the news.

Just like they just did. So in the end, you can consider this survey a rebuke to rudeness, a boon for grocery etiquette – and a win for TreadmillReviews.net.

Photo by phil_g

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