DreamBig / Shutterstock
"Last year around Halloween I dropped by my local supermarket to buy a few bags of candy and some Halloween decorations. I walked in and grabbed a cart and figured since I'm already here I might as well buy some things. So after I got my candy and decorations, I walked around and bought a few food items and some other things and then I headed to the checkout line. Since it was pretty late they only had a few checkout isles open so I got in the shortest line behind an old woman checking out some cat food and a few other items. But as I looked closer I noticed that there was an excessive amount of paper towels, some rubber gloves, and a set of kitchen knives in her cart. She must have been at least 70 years old so I wondered why she had all that stuff but it was the comment she made to the lady at the register that threw me off. As the woman behind the counter checked out the knives, the old lady said, 'Well the kitties aren't going to harvest themselves.' Both me and the lady checking out the items were freaked out. After that, the old women walked out the doors and disappeared into the night. I was so confused and freaked out I couldn't even believe what just happened. Let's just say after this I decided to go to the supermarket on the other side of town."
Brian Eichhorn / Shutterstock
"I worked in a supermarket for much of high school. Some of the crazy things I saw during my time there:
There was a homeless guy who would come into the store several times a week. He would walk to the deli counter and order a quarter pound of sandwich meat. Then he'd walk to the bread aisle, open a loaf of bread, and make himself a sandwich. Many folks in the store knew he did this, but nobody ever said anything. We all just enjoyed the brazenness with which he did this, week after week. In fact, sometimes we'd follow him around the store just to peek around corners and watch him do this. Depending on how busy things were, sometimes he'd even grab himself some mustard for his sandwich!
Employee theft and my first experience with the power of unions. There was a guy in the store (I think his name was Dan), who had no qualms about stealing from the store. Whenever things got slow, he would grab a candy bar or a snack and just start eating it at his register without paying. As an impressionable kid, I was shocked that he would do it and more surprised that he always got away with it. This guy would also have his wife come in with two full carts of groceries and have her check out in his line. This was back before the days of scanners, so all of the prices were keyed into the register. His wife would leave with hundreds of dollars of groceries and the total would be like $12.15 or something ridiculous like that. One day, Dan got caught by the big boss (the regional manager or something like that). Dan stopped coming to work after that, so I figured he got fired. Then he magically appeared back at work a couple of weeks later. The union had filed a grievance and got him un-fired. He continued working in that store until I left to go to college.
Super wealthy ladies using food stamps. The store I worked in was a smaller store in the middle of the wealthiest suburb of the city where I grew up. We'd often get ladies pull up in Jaguars and Mercedes and wearing full length fur coats who would pay for their food with food stamps. Looking back at it now, I suppose they were buying them at a big discount for cash or something like that, but it was always a puzzle for me while working there."
aastock / Shutterstock
"I'm dating myself here, but back in the '60s my local food store had a huge wooden barrel in the deli meat department where one could fish a great tasting kosher pickle out with tongs. I was still very young (not in school yet) and my mom gave me a little freedom to roam the store, so I wanted to look at all the pickles in the barrel.
As I rounded the corner to deli meats, I found an older man relieving himself in the barrel. I probably looked shocked, a five-year-old wide-eyed child, and I blurted out, 'What are you doing, old man?' The old man was well controlled in his response. 'Do you like the salty taste of these pickles?' I said I did, so he fished one out of the barrel, put it in the wax paper envelope and gave it to me. He said 'Tell your mom you know the secret to what makes these taste so good, but that's our secret. OK?' I agreed, he was nice so I took my pickles to the check-out and mom bought it for me.
Several weeks later, I was back with my mom. I had a hankering for a pickle, so I told her I was going to get one of those kosher pickles. She said OK. I thought about the old man, and I needed to go, so I got a crate to stand on and was relieving myself in the barrel as she came around the corner. She let out a scream heard all over the supermarket! 'What are you doing?'
I explained that the old man had taught me what made the pickles taste salty, so I was just doing what he'd done. Not good. My mom called the store manager in an angry and disgusted voice. She recanted what I had told her about the pickles and the old man. My mom made him throw out the whole barrel, there must have been a hundred. The manager tried to get her to pay for them. She wasn't having any of that proposal! We didn't shop at that store for several months afterward. When we finally did, I went to see if the barrel was still there. It was. As I was going back to tell my mom, I passed the old man. He smiled, winked and held a finger to his mouth. I decided to keep our secret."
Patricia Hofmeester / Shutterstock
"I was standing behind this white lady at a supermarket during Waitangi weekend (in New Zealand). If you know anything about the treaty of Waitangi, it can be a contentious time between Pakeha and Maori... especially IN Waitangi which is where I live. The check-out dude serving her is a white skinned Maori like my sister and me. We're locals so we know him pretty well.
So, this white lady in front of us is chatting to him about how busy it is in town due to all the visitors who come from all over New Zealand to join the protest march through town. Feeling safe and sandwiched between what she thought were like-minded white folk, she started complaining about Maori and saying some unflattering and also kind of stupid things. 'Town wouldn't be so congested if those Maoris would get over it. It was a hundred years ago!' and 'If it weren't for the European settlers, they would still live in huts and wouldn't have refrigerators or cars.' She said some other things but those comments were the ones I remember.
The checker was going really red in the face. He looked ready to poop a brick. My sister and I are making O-faces like, 'She for real?' After he finishes bagging her stuff, he throws her groceries on the floor at her feet and snarls at her. 'Get bent!' Oh, snap.
They're both looking at each other while his suggestion hangs in the air. She says 'I beg your pardon?'
He replies, 'Get the heck out. I only LOOK white. This is the land of my ancestors. If you don't like it, go away.'
All the other tills have gone quiet except one loud hoot from a customer at the back. It's a mixed bunch. The supervisor rushes up behind him and picks up her scattered groceries and hands them to the lady who is now wearing her own O-face. She quickly said, 'He's extremely rude' and she hightailed it like a bat out of heck. The supervisor (A Maori woman) patted him on the back and said, 'It's alright, boy. Go have a break. Come back when you calm down.' She took over the till and served me and sis."
pathdoc / Shutterstock
"I will keep this short. From 2006 to 2009, I worked at Kroger's as an overnight stocker in a busy area of town.
One night, once we'd closed the store, I was asked to clean the bathrooms before stocking. I retrieved the supplies, and went into what I assumed was an empty women's restroom.
Upon walking in, I witnessed a middle-aged woman sniffing a wad of toilet paper with orange and brown poop attached. Feeling my face getting hot I walked out immediately and informed my boss that there was someone still in the restroom.
As my boss was walking her out, she passed by me and made direct eye contact. It was a face of stone, and I tried to mimic her reaction. I've never told anyone till now, and to this day I've wondered, why sniff it? It probably smelled as bad as the restroom did. Which was a 9 out of 10 as far as bad smells go, by the way."
Syda Productions / Shutterstock
"I walked in the store, looking for some milk, cookie dough, ice cream, bread and lunch meat, yes in that order. I wonder to myself why it's so quiet in here...
I look to the left and see someone unclothed running around yelling, 'Feed my chest!'
What the heck?... COVER YOUR EYES PEOPLE!
He continues to scream this. 'Feed my chest!
I watch as security finally grabs him and throw him and his clothes out the store. I finished shopping, check out and leave. Once in the parking lot, I see this crazy, still unclothed man running around. Now he's screaming, 'It burns! Help!'
I get into my car and drive slowly and carefully out of that terror-zone."
pathdoc / Shutterstock
"Being an expat in India, I see many crazy incidents every week. But this one was by far the weirdest one yet. This incident happened at a Big Bazaar (a super market type setup) in Central Delhi. I was casually perusing the aisles for some real bread that wouldn't give me the runs when I noticed the woman standing in front of me was flinching. She was with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. Both of them appeared to be well-educated. When I turned the corner, I noticed him fingering his wife in broad daylight hoping that other people didn't (did?) notice. Their daughter was sitting in the shopping cart completely unaware (at least I hope) of what was going around her. They were standing right next to the produce section. I didn't buy any produce that day. They must have been at it for a solid five minutes because I saw them at the checkout line on my way out.
I'm all for most things risque but they had their daughter with them and should have shown some consideration for her."
andriano.cz / Shutterstock
"In 1995, I had a job working the night shift at the local A&P food store, restocking merchandise. Generally, it was a routine, tedious job, but one night, around 2 AM, I was packing out the laundry detergent aisle, standing on a milk carton, working on stain removers on the top shelf. I then hear this 'swip swap swip swap' sound coming down the aisle. I turn and see a man walking down the aisle, with two packages of Ding Dongs in his hand, wearing a brown t-shirt, flip flops, and a diaper (which looked to be a size or two too small). He walked to the register, paid, dropped the change into the diaper and left."
Patramansky Oleg / Shutterstock
"A lady arguing with the staff to let her daughter poop in the food section!
I was shopping one day and noticed an unusual amount of chaos and all the staff had collected at one place. I heard a lady yelling at the staff, 'She is having dysentery!' Out of curiosity, I went to enjoy the chaos. Yes, I enjoy people fighting like morons.
There was this lady yelling at the manager with her daughter jumping around (about 2 years old) saying 'mamma potty! Mamma potty!' From what I gathered, the daughter had dysentery and wanted to relieve herself but the mother had already had a ton of things in her cart. The manager assured her that she can leave her cart and relieve her daughter but the mother did not trust anyone and believed if she left her shopping cart people would take away stuff from it! This moron mother forgot her diaper also and now she was like, 'Let her poop here on some tissues and I'll pay for the tissues and clean them, but I'm not leaving the cart!'
The debate went on for like some time with people repeating the same thing over and over. And then there was a sound similar to egg being fried on a pan and the appearance of a brown river... lol..."
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock
"When I was in my early 20's, I was shopping with my oldest girl and visibly pregnant with my son.
We were just leisurely browsing through the toy section, shopping for a birthday present when my daughter noticed a middle aged lady behaving erratically. 'Mama! Lady!' was all she could articulate, while pointing in her direction.
'Lady' didn't notice my daughter had singled her out but she was behaving suspiciously, shifty-eyed and looking over her shoulder while holding onto merchandise that I was expecting her to pants (she was dressed in huge garments). I couldn't see what she was holding close to her at first, but eventually saw it was a can of powdered baby formula. Instead of shoving it into her pants, she opens the can of baby formula (safety seal and all), literally grabs a clamped finger full and glommed it into her mouth!
I'm now standing there in open-mouthed disbelief as she closes it and replaces it on the shelf before casually walking away, dusting herself off as she goes. I grab the can and chase down an employee and tell him what just happened. This is before there were cameras all over the ceiling and instead, they had the convex mirrors. I point her out in the next aisle with the rest of the baby food, and we both see she's opening various jars of infant puree and shooting them back before replacing them on the shelf.
Employee bolts to customer service and I hear a specific announcement over the loudspeaker. 'Code green in aisle 11.' Lady also heard the same announcement and she springs into action and she runs to the mini fridges near the front with all of the brands of soda pop, opens the nearest half-litre pop and starts chugging it down. She now has the attention of multiple customers, employees, children, dust-bunnies, etc.
A manager and crew come barreling out of aisle 11 and spies Lady who is now reaching for her second bottle. He releases an angry sounding 'HUFF!' before storming in her direction, but Lady is ready. Still clutching the pop bottle, she zips down the front of the store, sprinting for the exit. As she passes by me, I can hear many jingling, thudding and crashing sounds coming from her pants and then realize why she didn't steal the formula -- she had no more room.
Manager and security catch up to her just about four paces into the parking lot and detain her. She is now screaming, fighting and cursing a blue streak and my little girl is clinging to me because she is now terrified of this shrieking loon.
When I left the store (via a different exit -- staff was diverting other patrons), the police were just pulling into the parking lot and Lady was a lump on the ground, still hollering her head off.
A small news article made reference to a disturbance at this store and the suspect was 'known to police.' Obviously, Lady was suffering from a mental illness and I do hope she received the help she needed, rather than strong-arming from others but I have no idea what happened to her after I left the parking lot.
My daughter still doesn't really like that store to this day."
Ollyy / Shutterstock
"I was shopping in one of those giant chain stores which carried everything from groceries to home furnishings and appliances. I remembered at the last moment that I needed a gift for a child's birthday, so I drove my cart through the maze of aisles to the children's section about a 'mile' away.
I was in the toy section, following along behind a woman who had a giant shopping cart completely filled to overflowing with toys and games. She had a child around ten years of age in tow. He had his arms crossed and was scowling at her.
'Honey, look at this! Wouldn't you like to play with him? He's really cool!' She picked up a large action figure and showed the child the box. He slapped the toy away and made a small grunt. 'I don't want that one, Mommy. He's stupid.'
The mother returned the box to the shelf and moved her cart further down the aisle. I watched in equal parts horror and wonderment, as the kid went from side to side, grabbing handfuls of toys from their perches off the displays (barely looking at them) and tossed them onto the growing heap in the basket.
'I want this, I want this, I want this' the child chanted casually at he threw the toys in. The mother didn't even blink. She paused every once in a while to rearrange the growing mountain in the cart, so it wouldn't spill out, hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise threatening to overflow and spill onto the aisle.
'Oh, baby! Look at this!' She exclaimed in excited recognition as she picked up the popular likeness of a well-known cartoon character. 'You must have him! He's great! Don't you think he's great? You'll have fun with him!'
The kid's face grew red and, like a three-year-old toddler, stomped his feet and went full-blown tantrum, right in the middle of the store, screaming at his mother at the top of his ten-year-old lungs:
'NONONONO! I DON'T FREAKING WANT THAT TOY! IF YOU WANT IT SO BAD, YOU PLAY WITH IT YOURSELF!'
And with that, he sat down in the middle of the aisle, put his head in his lap, and started crying. Loudly.
The mother immediately knelt beside her son and tried to soothe him. Saying, mommy loves you. Mommy wants you to have anything your heart desires. Mommy will buy you ice cream if you be good and quit making a scene. Mommy will take you to the go-cart place if you be a good little boy. Mommy will let you stay up late tonight if you stand up right now.
I was disgusted.
I found my gift. A gift for a deserving ten-year-old. A painting set with brushes and a canvas, to inspire creativity. Something I hoped the child would appreciate.
I had to wait for the mother to get her child to scoot over enough so that I could get my cart through the aisle towards the checkout counter. I could have taken the 'scenic detour' and back-tracked, but the store was gargantuan, and my own cart was filled with groceries; my frozen goods were, by then, having a melt-down of their own. So, I waited patiently. Luckily, it wasn't long. The kid relented, and scooched his butt over on the floor, with just enough room for me to pass by.
As I moved past the melt-down in the aisle, the mother made eye contact with me, and with a small, apologetic smile said to me, 'Kids these days.'
I nodded and smiled back, for I didn't want to be unkind to the poor woman. I'd been there myself. I have witnessed tantrums before, back when my children were toddlers and it was age-appropriate.
Parents these days."
T-Design / Shutterstock
"One day many years ago I was in line in a store and noticed that the person in front of me had a rather peculiar selection of items: 1 carrot, 1 cucumber, 1 zucchini and one tube of KY lubricating jelly. What made this especially bizarre is that the customer was a woman who was about 80 years old."
Drew Rawcliffe / Shutterstock
"I lived in a rural county in Montana for 20 years. Now Montana is pretty rural as a whole but certain areas are really empty. In addition to livestock being a common sight, even within town limits, seeing wildlife was also a daily occurrence. Depending upon the season, it was not unusual to see bears, moose, elk or mule deer in town, especially in backyards where tasty landscaping and bird feeders were prevalent. As a rule, we discouraged the feeding of wildlife because it disrupts their health and gets them way too habituated to people. But we also enjoyed them as neighbors.
At any rate, I had gone to town for groceries and to run other errands while there. It was a nice day and many shop doors were propped open to let in the breezes and fresh air. While in the supermarket shopping, I gradually became aware of a sense of agitation and the murmur of people's voices. As I rounded a corner to start up another aisle, I spotted a mule deer delicately picking her way down the aisle on the slippery tile floor, coming toward me. Not wishing to startle her, I backed up out of sight. I could see her in the reflection of the cooler glass doors. She was scared, nose sniffing, twitching her big ears all around.
Next thing we know, some idiot fool comes yelling and waving his arms down the aisle, startling the poor deer. She panicked and tried to climb the shelves, leaping and falling to the floor, merchandise flying everywhere. The idiot is still yelling and running toward her, obviously a misguided attempt to drive her. Where to, I don't know, because she was toward the back of the store by then, crashing into the cooler units, breaking the doors.
Someone got the guy to shut up and we backed away from the deer so she could calm down somewhat. She still attempted to leap over the shelves from time to time. We set up a corridor with people and carts to gradually guide the deer down the aisles and out the open doors. Once she was outside, she bounded off across the parking lot, seemingly no worse for wear. The store was a mess though. We all pitched in to help straighten it up."
FabrikaSimf / Shutterstock
"This is from the perspective of the customer who saw something strange and I was the perpetrator of said strange act. In high school, I worked in the produce department of a grocery store. It was the cushiest job ever. We basically got high all the time and smoked a lot, back in the days when both weren't bad for you... And we occasionally put out a watermelon or bananas. Occasionally.
My girlfriend was a cashier in the same store and as teenagers who live with their parents anytime and place that we could hook up was considered an appropriate time to do so. So we're going at it in the walk-in cooler, absolutely oblivious to anyone or anything because we're high, we're crazy and we're 17 years old. Little did we know that one of the teachers at our school was looking for cucumbers that I didn't stock because, well, I was high. The produce department was the first room when customers walked into the back of the store so my teacher walks in and doesn't see anyone but she hears people in the walk-in cooler so she opens the door to see me and another of her students going at it on top of a box of cabbage. Not a word was spoken but I doubt she ever shopped there again and there was a very strange vibe for the rest of the school year."
antoniodiaz / Shutterstock
"I worked at a large supermarket in the early eighties. I would be sent to assist customers if everyone else was busy. I could hand out free cookies to people waiting in a long line, give out coupons for a percentage off if there was a delay at the layaway desk, pass out hot cocoa the first time it snowed. When there were crying children I had coloring books with crayons and balloons to give out. I thought it was interesting, actually.
One evening I was told by several co-workers that there was a family with a crying baby that was walking through the store. The mother didn't seem to be able to calm the baby, and everyone was worried that something was wrong. I went up to the mom in the children's department as the little baby was screaming in a heartrending fashion. I offered my assistance, and the mother acted as if there was no problem at all. I asked if the baby, a little girl, was feeling all right. Mom insisted that everything was fine. I noticed the baby pushed at an awkward position in the cart and insisted that the woman pick the baby up so that I could get a visual check of her child and decide if I needed to alert the manager of suspected child abuse. The mom refused at first, but with an actual crowd around us and the continued cries, she picked the little girl up and held her awkwardly.
The baby squirmed and three DVDs fell out of her diaper! The woman nearly dropped the baby who by now had stopped screaming and was now hiccuping and sobbing. Security had followed me and waited while I picked up the merchandise to put back on the shelf. But I couldn't, as they were dirty from body fluids, and I ended up writing a report to have them destroyed. The family was told to leave their cart and they were removed from the store, but I wish they had been arrested for child abuse!"
Lobur Alexey Ivanovich / Shutterstock
I work in a supermarket, but thankfully don't witness many strange things. But one incident sticks in my mind...
Store layout for background; entrance goes into produce, then continues around to the butchery, deli (and pick 'n' mix - bulk lollies and dried food bins) and bakery. The aisles are between these and checkouts at the front of the store.
While working in the deli one day, we heard what can only be described as a baby velociraptor in produce. It's roaring and snarling continued for around 5 minutes before they finally made their way through produce and past butchery. Here, I noticed that it wasn't, in fact, a velociraptor as originally thought, but a child of around 4 sitting in a trolley being pushed by a mother - seemingly unaware of the sounds erupting from the child. They stopped in front of the pick 'n' mix... Where the mother offered the screaming child some lollies.
'NO!' it yelled and hit the mother, who did not react. At this point myself and a coworker were surprised and interested at what was going to happen as the child continued with it's constant, headache-inducing, screaming. They walked slooooowly past the deli counter, to the bakery display (with so many lovely sweet treats and delicious cupcakes) where the mother asked the child if they would like a cupcake. 'NO!' was heard again, and again the mother was hit. This time the mother reacted however - by saying 'What about a donut? We could share a donut' in the sweetest voice.
At this point, both mine and my coworker's mouths were an O of shock. Neither of us could believe that the mother's response to a screaming child was to offer rewards.
They continued their shopping (perhaps 30 minutes?) and the child screamed the ENTIRE time."