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I worked at Trader Joe’s and I hated when rude customers did this

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Picture this: It’s a busy afternoon at your local Trader Joe’s and people are everywhere; items are flying off the shelves and you need that can of beans an employee is trying to rapidly restock as items around them disappear.

You may think wordlessly reaching around or over the employee is the best, most polite way to grab the item and not disturb them.

Don’t even think about it.

One former employee said that when a customer does that, it is often a hindrance.

Mackenzie Filson has revealed the biggest pet peeves for Trader Joe’s employees, telling EatingWell that shoppers’ well-meaning actions are sometimes “pretty rude” to your local grocery worker.

Filson started off her grocery gripes with reusable bag etiquette — although she applauded people for bringing their own bags, she slammed them for “poor reusable bag etiquette.” She specifically described bags “stuffed into each other like a Russian nesting doll” as the worst offenders.

Former Trader Joe’s worker Mackenzie Filson shared the worst things you can do as a customer.
The list of things may surprise you - with many people thinking they're being helpful.
The list of things may surprise you because many customers think they’re being helpful.

“Consider bringing only the amount of bags you need and keeping them easy to access under the cart (with your insulated bag as the easiest to grab),” she advised.

Another highlighted annoyance was helping to hand over groceries to whoever is checking out your items.

“One or two items makes sense, but no more than that,” she said. “Next time you want to be helpful in line, set your items on the conveyer for the cashier to scan as they’re able.”

She also reminded customers not to assume the workers collecting scattered shopping carts can just take another; instead, customers should always return them to the cart corral.

“The TJ’s shopping carts are next-to-impossible to turn on a dime, so expecting an employee to pivot for your cart could be a pretty rude ask,” she advised.

Another annoyance includes asking employees if they actually work there — workers do wear uniforms, which is a clear indicator. Customers should instead get straight to the point and ask their questions.

“Feel free to say a quick hello, and then jump in to ask the question(s) you have,” Filson told EatingWell. “Most TJ’s employees prefer that much more.”

Other grievances include acting like an expert, with Filson saying to “trust” that employees know what they’re doing.

“Kindly assume we know the difference between one piece of produce and another,” she said, such as a nectarine versus a peach. “It’s the product code we’re looking for.”

Trader Joe’s employees are generally noticeably friendly and outgoing to customers, and one employee even hit TikTok to reveal a “secret” game they play that involves hiding stuffed animals in the store — with customers receiving a lollipop if they return them to a worker. Now that’s customer service.

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