Supermarkets annoy shoppers in endless ways

February 09, 2011

Shoppers love and hate their supermarkets. Count all the ways in this story based on our exclusive survey.

Do shoppers have a love-hate relationship with their supermarkets? It sure looks that way, judging by responses to an exclusive Quick Poll (which allowed multiple responses to most questions, so numbers don’t add up to 100%).

When stores run sales, the top three annoyances are: runs out of sale items (62%), requires companion purchases to get a sale price on an item or a free item (46%), and issues coupons at checkout with short dates to use (32%). Exactly one-third of consumers (33%) say the store they shop in most is usually guilty, and a quarter (24%) say it happens half the time.

In perishables (dairy, produce) and service departments (meat, seafood, deli, bakery) these primary supermarkets are most often guilty of high prices (38%), inconsistent item freshness (34%), out of stocks (28%), short dates (25%) and lack of signage above the foods displayed (22%), the survey findings show. It happens pretty regularly too, according to consumers—sometimes (26%), half the time (24%) and usually (24%).

Judging the store overall, consumers found most irksome:  not enough cashiers (44%), items on top shelves too high to reach (35%), promotional displays impede aisle traffic (28%), the store keeps moving items around (27%), aisles too narrow (25%), and not enough baggers (20%).

Despite these annoyances and more, shoppers still visit these stores because they’re most convenient to home or work (59%) or overall, satisfying enough (48%). Just a quarter of respondents (28%) seem flexible enough to accept the store’s flaws because “no store is perfect.” People say their primary supermarket annoys them in these ways usually (31%), sometimes (23%) or half the time (21%).

Readers were so emotive that we also heard of another annoyance that wasn’t on the questionnaire – the placement of value-priced items on the bottom shelf.

Want to see more about this report, go to Food News Today.