111 Responses to “Do You Have Shopping Cart Anxiety? — Part 1”


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  1. adria

    who gives a flyin flip what people are buying. thats part of whats wrong with this world. most people have nothing better to do than be up in someone elses business and judge them. well guess what there is only ONE judge. so instead of turning your nose up at what someone is buying try smiling or holding the door for someone or help someone with their groceries.

  2. jiru

    Ha – this is so interesting! I have to admit that I am sometimes embarrassed when I buy something that is the latest Dr. Oz fad, like goji berries, or green coffee bean extract or whatever. I’m sure the cashier is judging me for being such a sucker.

  3. Julie

    I usually don’t care what is in my cart, but I do laugh when the frozen pizzas are on sale and I buy a dozen. No, I am not a single, college age male, I just have the same cart as one.

  4. Julie

    I don’t usually feel judged but I’m usually two busy keeping up with my 4 to son and 6month old daughter while trying to get what we need and stay within my tight budget. I guess I do sometimes judge. I’ve often thought, “Who buys (insert crazy kinky, crazy over-priced deep-fried pizza bagel roll cheese stick thingy)!? I remember once working as a cashier at a big discount place that a woman came through my line with a box of frozen, pre-made PEANUT BUTTER AND HONEY SANDWICHES!! Are you kidding me? It takes like 15 seconds to make one and those frozen ones are probably total junk! I know how long it takes becausey son would rat one for every meal if I let him. I haven’t done the math but I bet my no sugar natural pb, local raw honey, and whole wheat bread is actually cheaper than the frozen ones! Anyway, when I start to feel judgy, I remind myself that everyone is in a different place on their journey. I try to blame the big companies that make crap in a box then spend millions convincing us we’re too busy or inept to cook (make a sandwich) for ourselves and our families.

    • Totally off-topic, I know, and not your point, but some people use those frozen ones to avoid contamination when they have peanut-allergic kids and those who are not. Plus, they’re pretty yummy for junk food. ;)

  5. Julie

    Stupid auto correct! “crazy junky” NOT “crazy kinky”. Lol. I’d be curious about that for sure! ;)

  6. Kat

    I started this post by reading the second part (I missed that portion of the title) and then, in a confused state, managed to get to this one, where I’m actually left even more confused. People give a sh*t about what another person buys?? I do feel like I’ve just walked into a bizarro world after reading this. When I go to a store, I grab what I want/need/whatever and then buy it and that’s that. I’ve never had anyone, at least outwardly, judge me for what I buy nor have I thought much about what anyone else gets. Ever. And reading this actually made me really pissed off. Like right now I really want to go find that kombucha lady and tell her to shove it. Seriously, what the ‘eff. Here’s how I see it: You’re in charge of you and your kids or family or whoever depends on your grocery store trips, and that is it. So it doesn’t matter if you agree/disagree/loathe what someone else is buying. They aren’t you. They’re not your problem. And trying to shame a stranger on the contents of their cart with your personal opinion really just says A LOT more about you than the person you’re shaking a finger at. Move it along and take your weird holier-than-thou negativity elsewhere.

  7. Cart anxiety is so real! I used to be a supermarket cashier and people would often apologize to me for the contents of their carts. Meanwhile, I would always feel like I was being judged for buying organic produce and whatnot, but that’s certainly not going to stop me. I didn’t think I judged other people for their carts, but now that I think of it, I just did it today at Costco – I saw a man with a cart full of bulk boxes of Oreos and snacks. It seems I get judgy of Costco-enabled excess.

  8. Michelle

    I’m currently unemployed, and my boyfriend just had his hours cut back, so we’re being very strict with our food dollars. Before that even happened we were making a move to eat less processed foods, and I’m already no-poo, OCM and salt crystal deodorant. We shop a few natural foods stores (one that offers bulk flours, pastas, herbs and such) and the local markets. When I do have to venture into a normal grocery store, it’s usually because it’s a last minute thing, or I know something is the best price. I felt SUPER judged the other day because my entire purchase was mayo, half and half, butter, a red onion and a 2L of Coke (the first bottle we had purchased in probably 2 months.) I felt like even the clerk was eyeballing my purchases like I was some crazy person. I needed those things, nothing else, and I wasn’t getting sucked into other things.

  9. My family used to get food stamps/EBT. Neither my husband nor I were working at the time, and without them, we wouldn’t have been able to eat. I have no issue with people receiving food stamps. Sometimes life just happens in that direction, and you do what you have to. When we first started using them, I was embarrassed. But after a couple of months, I was over it.

    I have received looks (mostly from cashiers) for buying stuff with EBT. Even though we spent the majority of food stamp dollars on real food, I would get the occasional “Oh, you’re using EBT? Ohhhh….” judgement, with looks down their noses. I never really noticed anyone eyeballing my cart and giving me the evil eye though. And it never seemed to be about WHAT I was buying, just how I was paying for it. I think it also has to do with where you’re shopping. If you’re in, say, Walmart, no one really blinks an eye. But if you’re in some fancy schmancy food store, people will probably pay more attention (its always been in a Publix where I’ve received the cashier judgements, not that its fancy, but just for the record). I did have a cashier at Walmart tell me once that she had never seen anyone, in all her years there, with as much real food in their cart as what we had. That was a moment of pride.

    I never really pay attention to other shoppers though. Or what they’re buying. I have zero spatial awareness, so I’m usually in my own little world. My Hubby is the one who says “Hey look…that man has KY Jelly and a box of twinkies!” But by the time I figure out who in the hell he is even talking about, they’re gone.

    The only time I notice other peoples stuff is at the checkout. For the most part, I ignore it. Its a persons choice to eat what they want. If they choose to eat junk, then so be it. But, I will admit, I am a Judgey McJudgerpants when I see someone with a shopping cart full of processed, pseudo-food…and I mean FULL (like, bottles of soda hanging over the sides, the whole bottom rack full of cakes), and not a fresh or healthy thing in sight and they use EBT to pay for their food. And on more than one occasion I have seen a person pay for their cart o’ crap with their EBT card, then turn around and let someone else they’re with use the same card for their own cart o’ crap. That always makes me angry. I know processed stuff is cheap, and quick, and easy. But throw a bag of apples in there on top of your 4 pound cakes, I mean, come on. You’re getting this money because you need help feeding your family. So shouldn’t you be feeding your family actual food? And if you are receiving enough EBT bucks to pay for your cart AND your friends cart, you are getting more than enough to buy real food.

    And that’s my only rant about shopping.

    Aside from the food stamp judging though, I’ve never really given attention to other peoples carts, or felt like anyone was giving mine the run down based on the contents.

  10. Priya Strongleaf

    I used to cashier also, and i did judge ppl for their poor food choices if they were on foodstamps. i will totally judge. I admit it. just because you are on govt assistance doesn’t mean you have to eat like crap. put some whole foods and veggies in there, too. i judge ppl who buy commercial cigarettes. if you’re gonna smoke, fine, thats your choice. but be SMART about it! Make your own! its so much cheaper! price for 1 bag of tobacco and 1 carton of tubes (equal to a whole carton of cigarettes) = 1-2 packs of commercial smokes. i judge ppl who buy generic pet food. you know, the white bag of corn meal and animal by-product crap. its the same as a tv dinner for kids. zero nutritional benefits. your pets and kids cant buy food themselves. at least get them something nutritional.

    Thats not to say that monetary problems have forced me to buy something cheap for my furbabies on occasion. the key here is ‘on occasion’.

    and if i know i judge others, i know that i am similarly judged. then again, i have a complex dietary matrix, so theres things i just dont buy. more than 1 or 2 snackie type things, and i start feeling like a guilty fattie. i know i shouldnt get/eat it. but i do stockpile, so this might also be a month’s supply of snacks/poor food choices.

    if i have more than 2 bottles of alcohol or wine in my cart, i assume ppl think im an alcoholic no, this is just my alcohol for the next 2 weeks. most ppl dont think that far ahead, esp when it comes to luxury items like alcohol and the like.

    I also feel very judged when i (as a chubby caucasian female) shop at my local ‘ethnic foods’ stores. not just for what im buying, but for simply being there. I LOVE foods from around the world and trying new things. so i buy the pre-processed crap on occasion when the cost of getting all the ingredients doesnt justify the cost of the meal/item, or they are just for that one dish alone. like buying a 10lb bag of some rare/random thing that you wouldnt ever use for anything else.
    I feel like they would be thinking “oh, look at the white girl, she thinks shes special and edgy for buying that shite frozen (item)” and so mentally, i think “back off, d-bag. at least im trying to overcome my land-locked continental cuisine upbringing”

  11. Syntheticlubeguy

    Apparently this is a gal thing. Guys don’t care one way or another about what others see in the shopping cart. As Rhett said to Scarlet, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

  12. Dixidarlin89

    I would like to second the fact that people never know the whole story, and judging based on a grocery cart is silly. However, I will admit to having felt judged at times ( married over 4 years and I still refuse to be seen buying condoms OR pregnancy tests! What can I say I look 16 and I get tired of seeing people make faces at me). I have also seen quite a few “head scratchers” when in line behind someone, but I try to always be polite and smile; I would never comment on someone else’s food choices.

    I have severe, life-threatening food allergies which have left me at times in my life not sure what I could eat that wouldn’t require an immediate hospital trip. It takes time to figure these things out, and I can tell you that I’m sure during that time of eliminating foods to figure out the culprits, I had some funny looking grocery carts myself.

  13. Martha_Yarrow

    1. I do often feel that others are judging what I buy, but I don’t worry about it too much. We all judge in some way. I once went to Target and realized as I emptied my basket onto the conveyor that I was purchasing condoms, a roll of duct tape, a black leather belt, and a seven inch kitchen knife – and that it probably looked a little…odd. I wonder what people think when I buy a couple of individually bottled teas that I enjoy (packaging!) or the occasional processed food product. Mostly I worry about people seeing me shop at Sam’s Club. I know it’s not the best corporation in the world, but when it’s 1.5 hours to town for groceries I need to buy some things in bulk. I’ve learned to let this go.

    2. I don’t really look at what’s in other people’s carts unless they catch my eye for some other reason. I did get really aggravated with one woman who bought out all of the organic milk in the store because it was on sale after I had driven the 1.5 hours it takes me to get to there. (Long drives to the store are common in our area, and things don’t get restocked overnight.) In that case, I was thinking that she was being very selfish. Sure, I don’t like to see people filling their carts with unhealthy foods, but I know that everyone is in a different place. There was a time when I could afford little more than ramen noodles and 10-cent cans of corn. There was also a time when I had no idea what a GMO was and reached nirvana when consuming cherry cola. It took time and money for me to change my habits. I also know that some of the people whose carts are full of organic produce have dirty little secrets that are killing them faster than processed food ever would. The bottom line is that I’ve never known anyone to change their habits based on someone else’s snark, so I don’t really see any benefit in being nasty about what’s in a person’s cart.

    3. My daughter. I’m usually so busy trying to keep that energetic toddler from causing havoc or wiggling out of the cart to her death that I don’t have time to judge or worry about judgement. I just get in and get out, and the faster, the better. I also do a ton of shopping at the farmers’ market, and everyone there is just so nice – and there’s nothing very “bad” to buy! BTW, the farmers’ market is great with my daughter. The guys are always putting out new produce and they always offer my daughter grapes and strawberries to snack upon while we shop. There was one time when a female customer was commenting about people putting back bruised or otherwise damaged produce. She felt that it was just sad that people would not accept flaws in their produce. I told myself that she probably lived in town and didn’t realize that when you have to drive so far to the store you need to choose the things that will last a little bit longer. Still annoying, though!

    4. It’s more easily said than done, I know, but don’t worry about it. The person behind you in line or behind the register will be out of your life in approximately 5-10 minutes. I really believe that we don’t all have to get along on every point all the time – and that’s okay! To me, it’s more important to decide who is judging you. Is your inner voice trying to tell you something? In that case, it might be worth a listen.

  14. Jenn the Greenmom

    Hmm. I honestly never thought about this–because we have basically three different stores where I buy stuff: Trader Joe’s is where we get a lot of the basic stuff, and anything boxed or processed (lunch meats, cereal, granola bars, etc.) comes from there; basic staples (bread, milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, etc.) are from Whole Foods, and produce from the farm stand. So any single place I go I’m not actually buying all our groceries, and I guess I sort of assume it’s that way for other people too–especially WF, since it’s on the way home from work, and it’s easy and quick and no extra gas cost to just pull in and grab something if I remember we need it.

    But now that you mention it, there are moments when I survey my cart and wonder what other people think…

    Re others’ carts–I survey them A LOT, but mostly to see what other people are eating and sometimes ask them if it’s good. Or to bond with the other crazy woman with 4 bags of on sale sweet cherries and ask what she’s planning on doing with them. Stuff like that.

  15. Pixie

    I take advantage of the fact that people do this and make sure to add “embarrassing” items to my cart all the time. So if I’m buying Draino I make sure that I also buy an enema kit. Or if I’m buying a lot of ice cream I make sure to get some cat litter and wine or something else that looks like “depressed single cat lady” It’s fun to play the weird and embarrassing cart game!

  16. Alexandra

    Dangit! I missed the facebook poll. And now I’m reading this post way late, but you know what? I’ma comment anyway.

    I do worry a bit that people are judging me by my cart contents. In fact, I often shop for my mom who has a major sweet tooth, and I’m overweight, so I have no doubt some people are judging me. But I don’t waste much time thinking about it, because if people don’t have anything better to occupy their minds than speculating about my diet and health, and then judging me based on what they imagined, well, that says a hell of a lot more about them than it does about me.

    I can actually say that I do not judge other people’s carts. Oh, I can get plenty judgmental about other stuff–but not carts. Know why? I’m too busy reading the tabloid covers and judging THEM.

  17. Lauren

    I suffer from severe cart anxiety. Even more following a 50 lb weight loss. Which feels backwards! I’ve worked hard to get healthier and I feel more self-conscious about buying ice cream than I did before. Like, because the rest of my cart is full of salmon, low-fat dairy, fruits and veggies that I should be reaching for fat-free frozen yogurt instead of the good stuff. It’s twisted…but it’s how I feel. Thanks for speaking out on the subject!

    • Nat

      I hear you Lauren. I eat a mostly clean diet and am generally one of those people who browses the supermarket feeling pretty superior (if only because a big weight loss experience and a huge overhaul of eating habits does make you feel pretty good!). Yet on the occasions I decide to buy something unhealthy – typically a big bag of M&Ms or a tub of ice-cream – I suddenly get very self-conscious and hide the junk under the healthy stuff. I feel like people will judge me as a try-hard, you know, one of those people who tries to make themselves eat healthy but can’t help stuffing their face with sugary crap (which yeah, some days that is me!).

  18. Halley

    I totally feel judged when I check out at the register.

    The other day, I was checking out with an entire basket full of whole veggies and fruits, and the cashier looked at me and asked me if I lived alone, or if I was buying food for my roommates too! (This was in a college town, back near my school apartment… I live alone…) She had the nerve to ask me how I ate so much food, especially because produce tends to go bad quickly.

    Ummm… OFFENSIVE.

    I juice on the regular and have to buy ridiculous amounts of vegetables and fruits each week to stock my fridge. Plus, whether I eat an insane amount of veggies a week is my business, and my business only! Do people ever consider the fact that even though my basket is entirely full of more veggies and fruits than most people consume in a month, the $38 total on groceries for a week is well worth it??? And that’s juicing half of them! Hooray for healthy eating, and boo for judgmental cashiers.

    As for judging other people, I don’t really judge often. I take note of people’s items, but it’s more of a curiosity deal or a “I didn’t know they carried that here!” type thing. I understand sometimes people stock up on certain indulgences in one trip, and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, because I know I do that too. Unless you’re really overweight and your cart is just absurdly full of sugary, fatty, processed foods. I might judge you then.

  19. I almost never pay attention to what anyone else has in their cart. I could not care less. Also, never pay attention to what I think others may think about what I’m purchasing- even if it happens to be something out of the ordinary! I just don’t think of either side of the equation… does that make me strange? Hey, but I live peacefully! :-)

  20. Rana

    I never thought about this until I read this post. I never even knew this was a thing. don’t people have better things to do than watch and judge each other based on what they purchase? this is so sad!

  21. Katie

    My problem isn’t with other shoppers, it’s the cashiers…I buy condoms online now, it’s worth the extra money in shipping just so I don’t have to deal with their sneering…I mean, look I have a wedding ring! What do you think married people do??

  22. brittni

    i can honestly say that i am such a nosy person that i tend to sneak a glance in other people’s cart for no other reason than morbid curiosity. like a stranger’s cart contents has any relevance in my life… but i still love to check it out. i wouldn’t say i judge them on their cart contents…i just like to look at what people are buying. i would be an AWFUL cashier- i’d be like…what are you using this for? just because i’m nosy. its ridiculous! as for people looking in my cart, i don’t give a rip if they look! although i do get just a liiiitle embarrassed when i have straight up junk food in my cart.

  23. Robyn

    I have a genetic disorder that is extremely exacerbated by foods and even things like soap and toothpaste. I make my own toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc and so my carts are really odd looking. I don’t eat gluten, eggs, dairy – I call myself a carna-vegan. SO, I usually have a stack of green veggies, bags of brown rice, nuts, legumes, lots of salt (for the making of toothpaste, soap, etc) and a large pile of meat. I can get judgey about food stamps- we used them when I was a child and my mother was a real pain in the ass about proper nutrition, so piles of frozen dinners make me a bit resentful – eat your tofu like I had to!! I’ve never even tasted Fruit loops or all that other crap, (and since I can’t eat gluten, I never will), so when I see that stuff in a cart, I get kind of edgy about it. It’s pure poison and will destroy their brains! I want to lecture people about how sugar is ruining their joints and gluten damaging their immune systems, but I have to just shut up and buy my kale and buffalo and almonds and move on with my life.

  24. cj

    This is all so funny, I guess I never gave it much thought. However late one night about a year ago my son and I had a touch of insomnia in the middle of a Phoenix summer and we headed out to the twenty-four hour grocery. It is only slightly important to note that I am monogamously married and that I have a semen allergy [it exists and it is one of the only things I am allergic too besides bleach] that flares up pretty bad sometimes. Anyway in my cart I had my two year old, a box of popsicles, and a box of condoms. In my mind’s eye, I remember the guy who checked me out having a patronizing look.

  25. Adrienne

    When I moved from Colorado (one of the healthiest states in the country, if not the healthiest) to Pennsylvania (which we call PA) I sort of had culture shock at the grocery store. I never found myself judging people’s carts until I moved, or even the items the store carried. We have an entire aisle on both sides for chips and pretzels (mostly chips but we are a pretzel loving state). So many brands of chips are made in PA, as far as I know in Colorado there is one chip brand… Boulder Chips. The thing I noticed most is how many drinks with high fructose corn syrup stores have available around here. I would see people who had an entire cart of of high calorie drinks. I found myself judging all of these people. I didn’t understand why anyone would need 7 different beverages in their cart. I was shocked to see that there was just less healthy food to be offered int the PA stores. We also have a very large overweight population, whereas Colorado is a very fit state. I So I will admit that I would judge the overweight shopper, with artificial strawberry/kiwi sugar syrup water, and six bags of kettle chips. But I am a sociologist so I tend to judge from a more sociological perspective. Why are these the food choices in this state? Why are the people in this state more likely to choose these items over healthy ones? Why do the stores carry less healthy options? Is it all income related? Is it race/class/gender thing?

    On a side note, I often shop with my sister and we usually put all of items in one cart. I eat fairly healthy (pretzels and chai tea concentrate are my weakness but I am working on making my own concentrate at home. I also have an affinity of ice cream. However I get to use the excuse that it soothes a bladder condition I have as long as it is vanilla). My sister on the other hand only eat processed foods, and believes that if you drink enough V8 fruit juice it counts as the suggested daily value for fruits and veggies. I often wonder what people think when they look at our cart. We are both pretty tiny girls so I also sometimes think that other people are thinking, those (insert b word here) are lucky they can eat all of those potato chips and stay skinny.

  26. Les

    Hi, I’m new here, just found your blog.

    Yes, I judge other people’s carts especially since going on a gluten free diet and I have to pretty much prepare everything from scratch now. I feel sad when I see people with a cartload of frozen dinners like Healthy Choice, especially if they are elderly, because I know they either can’t afford much else, they are too tired to cook for themselves or they are alone and don’t want to cook anymore.

    I may assume an overweight person buying cookies, cookies, cookies is buying for a social function so I wouldn’t say anything at all. I used to live in Galveston, TX and would see rig and ships crews at the grocery store. These guys were buying for a week or month at a time and would fill 3-5 carts to the top. I initially thought a lot of it was junk but realized they were working hard and needed the calories. I also realized they had a lot of ‘healthy’ stuff in there but junk food packaging is always really bright and easier to spot.

    Food choices have somehow become a moral issue especially in the past few years. People forget that food is for sustenance and also very much to be enjoyed.

  27. Claire

    Yesterday a young couple behind me were buying only fresh organic food. I was well impressed. They also had some crappy cosmetics that I well and truly judged them on. Then I looked at my own cart and duly judged myself for buying flouride free toothpaste (what no baking soda?), some children’s shampoo (second ingredient is sodium laureth sulphate) and Eco dishwasher detergent (it’s just not borax and grated soap!!!). I am now entering a nonjudgmental period of my life. Any tips? I’m afraid if I stop giving myself a hard time, I might slip back into the buying habits of yesteryear and look like a fool when my acne returns!

  28. Kali

    You are very welcome to take trolley as long as you also use aluminum, herbs (with an ‘h’!) and caramel.:P

  29. Manda

    I only feel judged when I’m buying pregnancy tests. And it’s not feeling judged its KNOWING I’m being judged. Especially when we have my 6 year old with me. I look very young for my age. And sometimes when someone is giving me judgy looks I want to scream at them. I want to yell and cry about how much money I spend on damn epts, how I’m dying for a bfp, and how I’ve been ttc for 2 years now. It just makes me so angry seeing those looks when they
    have no idea what I’m going through.

  30. Rae

    I often feel judged when I shop. I am overweight, and while I don’t think much of it if I have a treat in an otherwise healthy cart, I do feel very judged when I am buying multiple unhealthy items (even if there are still many healthy items in my cart).

    I do also sometimes judge other people based on their carts, usually in cases where they have kids and I don’t see a single non-processed/pre-packaged food item in the cart. It has to be pretty extreme before I judge (since, hey, as an overweight person I don’t have much room to talk!) but it does happen.

    I recently decided to try to eat healthier and get to a healthier weight. I don’t think I’ve become any judgeier since the contents of my cart have improved in quality, but I feel a lot more confident, and even a little proud, when I look at my cart and feel that no one could find fault with all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that fill it up. So in a way, I’ve turned around that negative feeling of being judged into a positive by using it as motivation to keep buying fresh, quality foods and avoiding highly processed sugary and fatty foods.

    As for other people and what they should do about feeling judged, I’d advise them to take it as an opportunity to think about their eating habits and make decisions about whether any changes are in order. They may or may not decide to actually change anything, but sometimes just giving it careful thought and consideration can give you the boost you need to dismiss other people’s judging.

  31. Ginny

    Ahh! I love this topic so much! So sad I’m late to the party! I totally cart judge! Usually I’m not making value judgements- but I notice, and I love to try and guess people’s stories from their carts: A middle age woman with a stack of frozen meatless meals and veggie burgers advertising how much protein they contain might be struggling with a teen who is turning vegetarian. Or, someone with lots of processed food masquerading as health food is maybe working on a new resolution to get healthy. You know, stuff like that. Though, sometimes I do judge the contents- privately cheering on the mother who has figured out how to feed her young kids real food on food stamps, or silently tsk-ing the young guy buying hotpockets, pizza, and natty light.
    Of course, I feel judged in return, but it’s not a big deal. What people must be guessing about me, I’m getting my fruits veggies from a farm share, so right now my produce-free carts look like scurvy waiting to happen.

  32. Tori

    I don’t feel judged, but then I am not overweight and don’t have children. I would say to the judgers out there that you are experiencing one trip to the grocery store with these people. You have no idea if that is an accurate representation of their diet. 95% of what I buy at the store is processed b/c I get fresh produce delivered to my house weekly. It honestly never occurred to me that the person behind me in line is judging my choices. I judge myself based on my collective choice. I feel proud when I’m eating healthy. I feel a little guilty when I crave sugary, processed food and can’t talk myself into something better.
    As for myself, I have found myself judging carts in front of me. But I never judge the people. I judge the corporations that peddle food that is terrible for their customers. I grew up in the Midwest where everything is processed and/or fried. It wasn’t until I headed west that I found out how to eat healthy. People are just doing the best they can with the information and resources they have available to them. If we make people feel good about making good choices, that will encourage positive change. If we judge people for bad choices, we will only push them away. And make them feel like they don’t belong amongst the healthy eaters of the world. I think that is the last thing we want to do. :)

  33. Wow, this is so interesting!
    I definitely feel judged, funnily enough I sometimes feel judged for having processed food, or if I have chips or chocolate or something, but I also feel judged when it’s all organic goodness! Probably should just not worry (and mostly I don’t – much).

    Do I judge? Yep. Especially lots of soda. But, only mildly (she hastens to add, hanging her head in shame).

    Do you judge or feel judged?

  34. Kristycat

    YES! I admit, I sometimes judge as a knee-jerk reaction, but I try to a) not let it show on my face, because that’s just rude, and b) catch myself doing it and realize how ridiculous I’m being.

    As far as being judged, when I’m using food stamps (which… in this economy, I’ve been out of work for about a year and a half now despite my best efforts, so yes, I use food stamps and I’m not ashamed of that), I always feel like I’m going to be judged one way or another. If I buy unhealthy or processed food, I worry that I’m fulfilling some stereotype about how poor people are ignorant and don’t take care of themselves or their kids. If I buy quality and/or organic food, I worry that people will judge me because they think I’m “scamming the system” or “wasting” taxpayer dollars (ignoring that I’ve been paying into the same system for years, so that I’d have a safety net if I ever needed it.)

    In the end, you kinda have to accept that if someone wants to judge you, they’ll find a reason – you just have to ignore them and get what you want to get. (But I am glad that the card they give you for food stamps looks like a debit card, so you can palm it and just use it at the counter and then only the cashier will know…)

  35. Shelynn

    I feel judged everywhere these days. I`m 36 weeks pregnant, 22, my hair is blue, I`m 4`11“ and my face doesn`t look much older than 15.

    My boyfriend and I go shopping together and if we are having a get together at our place we try to provide the beverages and snacks, usually chips and pop as they tend to be the people pleasers, and when I`m limping beside him because my leg hurts (he looks maybe 16 too) we get all sorts of looks and sneers at the grocery store. Almost a `how can you go out in public like that`type of thing.

    The best though, was before my hair was ever outrageous in colour, was when we would go buy condoms.. The girl at the till gave us an arched eyebrow the first time we were there because we were `stocking up` for safe practices. And is was always the same girl for every box of condoms or every pregnancy test we`d ever purchased. She was funny about it, but it`s hard not to blush when you imagine what they must think of your sex life!

    P.S. Not that I need to justify the colour of my hair, I`m a hairstylist and my name is hard for some people so the blue hair allows me to be spunky and off-beat while still looking sleek and professional, and it gives me a good identifer..

    • Carrie

      A “good identifier”? WTF?

      • Nef

        I’m somewhat late in replying, but she’s right. If people have a hard time asking for her by name, they can ask for the one with the blue hair. My favorite stylist when I still used them was the man with the pink hair.

  36. bouganvilleasimone

    I only judge someone when I see that they are unhealthy and unhappy. You’re walking through the grocery store and you see someone and on their face is written “I’m miserable and I feel worthless”. I guess it’s not so much that I judge but that I care. I wish I could give them a hug and make them chicken soup from scratch. The same goes for a person with children, if the parent looks unhappy and the children are sick I wish I could help them be healthier. That’s all.
    I got over my judginess when I realized that I went to certain stores to buy certain things. One day I looked down at what I had placed on the conveyor belt and realiz,Wow People could think I’m seriously malnourished if they thought this is all I ate. I realized 2 things: some times people are self medicating with food, the unhappy people just trying to get an endorphin fix ( we all seek happy feelings) or they bought healthier stuff somewhere else. why would I know? I learned to consider the factors on just the facts .

  37. Crystal

    Very late comment but I used to work at a drug store. The one time I really remembee judging someone was when a older man, probably early 70’s came up to the register with 3 thongs, a bottle of baby oil, and some ky kelly. I just rembef thinking he probably gets turned on wearing ladies panties.

  38. alexis

    I don’t know that I would say I judge people, but wonder what they are going to do with the items. If someone buys a lot of things for a party or only buys a couple of items I speculate about what they would do with them. I feel more judged if I see someone I know or go shopping with my boyfriend, but if it’s just random shoppers then I don’t feel bad about the unhealthy or strange purchases I’m making.

  39. Alice Liddell

    I’m 29 and still have anxiety about buying pads and tampons. I won’t go to a male teller I recognize with any feminine hygeine products. I’ve never been put in the position (thank Gd), but if I had to but vagisil or preparation H, I’d probably beg someone in my family to go for me…even my brothers or brother-in-law – I would cry until someone agreed. That’s how bad it is.

    HOW I GOT OVER IT: my mom has cancer and now I have to buy tons of embarrassing things. If I feel embarrassed, I remind myself that I would buy any product for someone I love and would never care if someone was so ruthless as to judge me. I have also applied for food stamps to help with the expenses.

    When I was younger, I found that I would sometimes have the tendency to look at others and connect certain purchases with how the person looks or acts and I made a conscious point, to mind my own business. If I find myself slipping (because I feel insecure that day and want to make myself feel better or what-not) I look away, push the thoughts aside or think of an extreme situation which might make the behavior positive.

    The only reason people judge is to make themselves feel better. It’s like bullying. People should be flattered when they are judged. Who are the people we judge the most about looks? Models and celebrities….as far as I know, models and celebrities are known for how good looking they are. If I judge someone else, it has to do with me, not the person I’m judging.

  40. Cyndee

    I think I generally look because I am bored at the line but don’t think I will go too extreme as to make rude comments at people. I think it’s fun to watch what people buy, I almost can imagine what type of lifestyle they lead by how they eat. Fun people watching time, just like the airport. But no, I don’t have cart anxiety, I don’t care about how others look at me. I sometimes do tell fellow shoppers that they look like in a new shoe they are trying on, (if they look nice). So no, mainly I say nice things if I happen to be in the mood of saying something, but never something bad. No point to make this world a nastier place.

  41. Cyndee

    correction: they look ‘nice’

  42. shayla

    when I lost one of my part time jobs I had to go on food stamps it was just 200 dollars but it helped alot I could stock up on veggies and fruts for the kids and a woman actually told me I had no right to buy almond milk or organic veggies on foodstamps I explained to her I was vegan and the milk was for my kids she just snarled and looked away and moved to another checkout line. I dont get it people can buy snack cakes lobster steaks on food stamps but you buy something organic and since its not cheap garbage people get judgey so happy I got another job recently so I can buy whatever I want with cash and no one can snarl at me.

  43. Brittany

    Ha, a few times I’ve been all dressed up to go out when a friend asks me to bring drinks. We’re not a classy group, (and personally I love cinnamon), so I have gotten to the checkout line in heels and full makeup carrying nothing but a bottle of coke and a bottle of Fireball. THAT is when you should judge, ha!

    I’m always curious about other people’s carts, but not in a malicious way. I know very, very little about cooking, so I’m always curious about how other people make do. But since I’ve spent long stretches living off of take out and the goodwill of my roommates, I never feel like I’m in a position to judge. It’s more “oooh, five frozen pizzas and a bottle of Jack, I’ve been there.”

  44. kayb

    When it is just me and my girlfriend shopping we may whisper or in our ‘secret language’ of eyes and other not-so-noticeable guestures we may joke about the person with an entire cart of ramen noodles or the old lady standing in the middle of the aisle staring at forty different types of noodles only to leave with a skillet-meal box. Other than that we don’t really have anything to say about others shopping. However, when other people start making rude comments aloud I become that mrs. know it all fearless one and stand up for the little people. Anectdote you ask? Here we go: at the Commissary (military grocery store) clearly someone’s grandparents are shopping. Tiny, little, no English speaking people buying loads of stuff with coupons in the self-service line so as not to hold up other people. Well two gentlemen who only had two or so items behind me and my girlfriend (we had maybe thirty small items for a few days worth of meals) kepy walking up to these little foreigners towering above them speaking in over articulated English to ‘the crowd’ as if anyone cared about the audacity of their actions about how “These fucking tiny Philipinos can’t even USE the machine, let alone coupon?! Get them out of here?!” Well now I was astounded. I had been more impressed with the tenacity of them to coupon, it takes work, committment even. I’m not about that life. So about the third time these guys did this I stepped to them. “Do you want your daughter to be the impatient, rude lady who has obviousely NEVER inconvenienced a soul in her life?! It is Sunday, you chose to come here on heavy shopper day. You chose to set a poor example for your daughter. Be civil. Everyone shops.”

  45. Amos

    As has been mentioned above, I do our grocery shopping at several different stores. So, for an example week, I might have a cart full of chicken, mahatma rice packets, and apple juice when I’m at Kroger. That is all that is in my cart at Kroger; the other stuff is cheaper and/or better quality at other stores. My Publix cart would have milk, yogurt, orange juice, V8, and meats other than chicken (locally, the chicken is always less money at somewhere else). My farmer’s market cart would include all the missing things – generous amounts of green and yellow and orange veggies, bakery bread. (current kid favorite is potato-leek-cheddar), bulk-purchase nuts and dried fruits, exotic/crazy fruits, and coffee or flowers if the budget allows.

    My point is that you (general you) should not judge too much on one carts’ capacity. Shoot, I have been known to but 12 boxes of Hamburger Helper

  46. well

    This is pretty silly. Oftentimes people aren’t even shopping for themselves– they might be buying food for an event, a sick relative, or some other specific purpose impossible to glean from a passing observation in a supermarket. This mentality comes from attaching some type of morality or status to diet, which is pretty petty and ridiculous.

  47. Nicole

    I can’t help it. I go grocery shopping so much; waiting in line, it’s easy to look over at the guy next to you and figure out who he is, based solely on what items you see in his cart. It’s like a game I play, and I’m fine if they want to do the same. People can assume whatever they want about me based on my cart. I know I’m doing it, so we’re even. I don’t really know if it’s classified as judging. Is it judging only when there’s a thought of superiority that goes along with it? Or is judging just any false assumption? I guess judging is really just a misunderstanding. It’s not being able to understand that people lead different lives, they have different tastebuds, and are under different circumstances. We really need to learn to accept each others’ differences. We need to make an effort to understand one another.

  48. Connie

    I don’t so much judge as feel pity for those poor souls that have to purchase female products (I”m past that and soooo thankful). I feel envy when I see a cart full of goodies, wine and other things that indicate that someone is entertaining – wish I could invite myself to the occasion. EBT cards. Hmmm… no matter how hard they try to ease some of the social stigma of needing assistance – there are always those who have their hands on their hips judging others who are already down – let’s just throw a banana peel in front of those slackers so they can slip down to a level where we can really kick them. I used to judge more when I was a “kid”. Part of growing up is growing acceptance or understanding. I haven’t gotten there yet, I still sneak a glance in other carts – to make sure I didn’t miss anything yummy on sale.

  49. Nef

    The day that I had a cold, ran out of tissues, needed a bottle of red wine for my from scratch pasta sauce, and the latest book in the Merlin’s Daughter romance series (both guilty pleasure and fun to mock) came out, I felt very judged by my cart.

    The day I had a peanut butter dessert mix and the cashier nearly sold it to the man standing in front of me in line who saw what was happening and didn’t mind, not so much.

    Now, once I was in the middle of moving, was in my last unpacked clothes, felt grungey and decided that I would forego underwear that day. (Multi-day, multi-state move.) We stopped in a Walmart to use the bathroom and I got my period early (gotta love moving stress.) Well…there was a clearance rack of novelty Christmas panties, so I grabbed a pair and got in line.

    The cashier grimaced when she saw what I was buying and picked them up to scan in a way that you’d think I handed her the ones from my laundry bag. That day I definitely felt judged by what was in my cart. (I still don’t see what’s wrong with a pair of panties that has polar bears and a humorous slogan on them, but obviously they were contaminents.) Then I paid and ran for the bathroom again. Any port in a storm.

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