Tourists destroyed our grocery store

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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Kari Haugeto

Kari is a serial entrepreneur with an education addiction and a profound curiosity that, more often then not, fuels some pretty incredible adventures. Currently her attention is focused on social and digital media technology and she is developing a project with her family of five and a variety of sponsors to share their cross-country adventures online in an interactive, socially responsible, educational and authentic manner.


  • http://twitter.com/StayingSaneHome Elizabeth Dodds

    I think that as a tourist I am disgusted by the behavior of other tourist when we travel. You’re right…it’s an attitude of “I’m on vacation so who cares?!” and I can see why they would be a little on edge.
    Although, customer service is always every store’s first priority so I would have just written something on their comments board.

  • Nancy Harn

    As someone who use to live in Kissimmee……UGH! Yes!

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Well, as someone who lives in a tourist town, I’m a little embarrassed by the behavior of the tourists who come into the grocery stores. But I don’t think that’s an excuse for the employees to forget all of their training. Seriously, you get better service at a soup kitchen.

  • ChBot

    Do we get to know where is the tourist season ending ?

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  • DavidYoung2

    Yeah, tourists behave badly sometimes. Is it because they’re rushed and stressed, in an unfamiliar store where they don’t know where anything is, possibly in a foreign country where they’re trying to shop by pictures or translate, figuring the price in an unfamiliar currency or maybe just fresh off of a nine hour car trip and the kids are loose for the first time in hours. A little understanding on all sides goes a long way