13 Foods Cashiers Secretly Judge You for Ordering
Like it or not, the contents of your grocery cart or a drive-through order at a beloved fast food joint may pique the interest of the cashier at the register. These are the items most often judged by cashiers—and what they're really thinking.
Breaking down bagel toppings
True, everyone’s palate is a little different, but one former bagel store employee cringed at a few eyebrow-raising combinations customers ordered. “I would always judge people ordering tuna on a cinnamon raisin bagel because the thought of that flavor combination made my stomach lurch,” says Cheryl C. of Massachusetts. “Or peanut butter and jelly on a garlic bagel.”
Subs made your way
The beauty of a sandwich shop like Subway is that you can ask for whatever combo of meats, cheeses, or veggies you like. Just keep in mind that sandwich artist behind the counter may not think so highly of your creativity. “This used to gross me out—a meatball/seafood sub,” says former employee Jennifer S. of Florida. “How is that good?” Still, having an array of options may be how Subway became the world’s biggest chain restaurant.
You’ve got SPAM
Chances are if your grocery store cashier didn’t grow up eating a certain item, they may not find certain canned items to be as much of a delicacy as you do. “When I was a cashier at Foodtown, I frowned upon SPAM,” says Jackie R. of New Jersey. Keep in mind more than 6 billion cans of SPAM have been sold since its introduction, so keep keeping on, canned ham lovers.
Dinner for one
Former grocery store cashier Sarah S. of New York thinks back about the judgments she made on orders during her time behind the register but views them very differently now. “I could laugh about the TV dinners these clearly single guys would buy,” she says. “But I wish I had realized they were probably lonely and cooking for themselves was both expensive, tiring, and difficult.” Meanwhile, there are myths about frozen foods you need to stop believing.
Not all creativity with menu items makes a cashier’s stomach turn. Others celebrate those who concoct cool combos to make a unique creation worthy of a secret menu. “Whenever I would hear about an order at the drive-through that pieced together different ingredients the customer knew we had on hand to create some kind of super burger, I couldn’t wait until they pulled up to pay so I could meet this person,” says Jack B. of New York, who worked fast food during college. “Those customers were my heroes.” Get it on all the delicious secret menu items at your favorite restaurants.
Fad diets, begone
When social media is aflutter with talk of the latest food fads to aid with weight loss, it’s hard not to look into what all of the fuss is about. But when items that fit the bill come down the conveyor at a grocery store, your cashier might be judging. “I definitely judge the food faddists,” says Julie H. of California. “It’s been well over a decade but I remember when the Master Cleanse was popular and I silently judged anyone who had me ring up lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper.” For a healthier approach to weight loss try these nutritionist-approved top secrets.
Condiments gone wild
Who doesn’t love to save a buck? Sometimes couponers make cashiers question (and judge) what they’re going to do with copious amounts of a single product. One woman came through my line and bought 217 bottles of assorted Kraft salad dressing,” says Reddit user Juiceboxheero. “She ended up paying nothing for them, because of some weird coupon loophole. After my manager had cleared her and she left the store, I was initially impressed but then thought, “What are you going to do with 217 bottles of salad dressing?'”
Hey, Big Spender
“I work for a specialty grocer and I’m always amazed by our regulars who seem to buy so many of their groceries there,” says Meg S. of California. “This stuff is not cheap and I feel like there are some basic products they could get for much less elsewhere, not that I’m going to tell them that. Still, I’m judging and wondering what magic they think the pricey stuff will do that an everyday grocery store can’t. I want to tell them to walk a few blocks down and buy the store brand butter that is easily $3 cheaper.” That type of grocery store is really meant for specialty items, like the foods that have extra healing powers.
We see you, parents
Cashiers can typically see a busy family’s food staples a mile away. “I know I’m dealing with a mom or dad when their cart is filled with mac and cheese, hot dogs, and frozen chicken nuggets,” says Kristen M. of Missouri. “As a mom, I can sympathize with buying what you know your kid will really eat.”
Clean eaters are motivating
Health-conscious shoppers may just inspire others to clean up their grocery carts, too. “Whenever I ring up a customer buying mostly fresh produce I always want to ask them what they’re making with it,” says Jenni F. of Wisconsin, a grocery store cashier. “They seem so organized and healthy.” These healthy foods are actually even more nutritious than you originally thought.
Spice up your life
“When customers buy spices or sauces I’m not familiar with I figure they must have traveled somewhere or experienced something they are trying to recreate,” says Iris M. of Florida. “It makes me think they have had a lot of interesting experiences, whether that’s true or not.”
The hustle is real
If you frequent your grocery store to pick up pre-made meals or throw together a creation at the salad bar, your cashier probably thinks your schedule is bananas. “I see the same customers every day buying sushi or a rotisserie chicken but never individual items that would make me think they are going to cook for themselves,” says Charlie S. of California. “Either they can’t cook or they are too busy to cook. It has to be one or the other.” Busy but want a home-cooked meal? These food hacks are great for quick weeknight dinners.
Buzzwords get an eye roll
Big brands know consumers want to feel like they’re living their best life while being healthy, but the buzzwords they use on their products don’t always add up to an item being healthy. Grocery store cashiers may judge those who buy into the smoke and mirrors. “Whenever I see someone buying junk food that has been ‘reformulated’ to say it’s ‘natural’ or even ‘organic,’ I can’t help but laugh under my breath,” says Charlie S. “Just because those chips are organic doesn’t mean they are healthy!” Don’t be duped by these common food packaging and label tricks.