Complaining Can Be Too Much Fun For Your Own Good

Jack R. Noel
3 min readSep 9

Jack R. Noel September 9, 2023
[Foreword: I plead for everyone to read all the way through this article and pray it will be of some value to you. We authors on Medium get too many “views” without a single “Read” — which is why to register as having read you also have to remember to scroll all the way down.]

I was browsing Facebook and found a question that stopped me for a minute. It was, “What is the most annoying thing about grocery shopping?

Complaining is enjoyable, I don’t know why. But complaining can be too much fun for your own good.

The more I read of the responses the more I felt the need to help people understand the whole picture. The most frequent complaint is the “lack of service” and the prevalence of automated check-out stands where you have to manually scan every purchase and your “method of purchase.” I’ve been through those checkout stands a few hundred times already but I had a question that was answered by a store employee the same as I once was.

I think you don’t know some things about what grocery checkout clerks must do. For one thing, customers are generally unaware that many states enforce liquor laws by sending underage youths in to buy beer or other alcoholic beverages. If a cashier questions the buyer that prevents a fine from being levied on the cashier, and the cashier is timed for every transaction and often has a line of waiting customers.

The fines in Michigan start at $500 for the first “violation.” The second violation brings a $1500 fine. If there is a third violation, then the checkout clerk must be fired by the store manager. The current average pay for a Kroger cashier is $11.37 per hour. So those fines cut a cashier’s pay by almost 44 hours and around 133 hours, respectively. And remember this is done by purposely deceiving the cashier!

And remember too, customers are free to confront the cashier on the spot if the cashier merely asks for identification. I have witnessed more than a few such tirades. And I’ve witnessed the company’s response when a customer objects to a cashier’s manner to store managers: most managers invariably side with the customer.

Who wants to apply for a job as a cashier now?

To clarify, I have been retired for nine years. Sure, the times have changed and they have changed really fast but experience is what we all hold to be valid so let me respond that it isn’t the lack of service but the lack of available people willing to work in a grocery store.

There is a critical shortage of available labor and here’s s the reason for that. That other guy just told me that in the store where he works, they never have enough people to do the jobs (there are many categories) that need doing. Cashiers used to be the main “interface” between the company and us, but now cashiers simply aren’t there. That is why you find grocery shopping so annoying.

Jack R. Noel

Writer (non fiction/fiction), science buff, history buff and political commentator at large.