Where shopping is a pleasure

It wasn’t just the eye-roll by the cashier that had us gritting our teeth and grinning stiff, false smiles after our latest trip to the grocery store while we were on the road.

It was the overall experience of being barely tolerated by staff and their attitude of disinterest that left us uncomfortable, confused and put down.

Whole Foods, where’s the love?

We couldn’t help but note the difference from the staff at our hometown Publix.

And it had us thinking: Is there a difference in behavior between clerks at local grocery stores and the ones located in tourist destinations?

We travel with the three kids, and buying groceries is a team effort.

“Hey Aren, order some cold cuts,” we’ll ask.

Or: “Erysse go grab your favorite breakfast cereal,” we’ll say. “But nothing too unhealthy.”

Mom and Dad keep a close watch from the end of the aisle, no matter the destination.

Menu choices are negotiable. We debate our meals right until we’re at the cash register, and sometimes after we’ve checked out.

Most places we’ve visited already have a culture of hospitality, because they’re located in well-known tourism destinations, like Orlando, Lake Tahoe, Calif., or Summit County, Colo. There’s a welcoming vibe and smiles as well as a nod or acknowledgement of your existence.

But I’ve also occasionally witnessed customers behaving badly at the store. It’s a, “Hey-I’m-on-vacation-here-treat-me-special” attitude. Or their kids throwing grapes at each other in produce or moving boxes in the cereal aisle.

Lately, we’ve begun to notice that the grocery stores that cater to tourists seem to have adopted to these misbehaving visitors. The employees act indifferent, even hostile — almost as if they expect to be pelted by produce at any minute.

Is there such a thing as a “tourist” grocery store? And how do you know if you’re in one?

How have you been treated at groceries in tourist towns?

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