Anxiety in Grocery Stores – Why does it happen?

What is the fear of grocery stores?

Photo of a grocery store
Photo of a grocery store

For most people, shopping for goods is easy. They don’t think twice about stepping into a large superstore such as Walmart and checking out their goods.

However, for some people, anxiety in grocery stores is a real fear that they have developed over time. The fear of grocery stores is highly relevant to social anxiety – the fear of judgement and scrutiny from others, doing things ‘wrong’ which can cause a scene, and a number of intertwining reasons.

Why does anxiety in grocery stores occur in the first place?

Being an employee in a grocery store

One of the most common ways grocery store anxiety occurs is working within a grocery store setting, so being a store employee.

Cashiers with social anxiety are responsible for serving hundreds, if not thousands of customers per day walking through the door. That is a lot of customers to make small talk and interactions with!

Being a customer in a grocery store

Conversley, people shopping at the stores can be as anxious as employees working within a grocery store.

Why is that?

Well, there is several reasons why.

Reasons customers can feel anxious in the grocery store

  • Post traumatic stress disorder – something bad had happened to them once in the grocery store, such as a purse or wallet theft.
  • They are depressed and anxious about outside events, especially when going through a difficult time such as studying stress
  • Feeling concerned about coronavirus and worrying if they are immune or not to it, due to media representation of the virus
  • Exaggerating the idea or fear of going into a grocery store.

Reasons employees can feel anxious in the grocery store

  • Managers walking around and checking on employee performance
  • Fear of people in authority such as managers or authority figures in the store, in case they embarrass themselves or do something ‘wrong’
  • Worrying they could be let go soon based on a mistake they made

Recommendations to combat anxiety in the grocery store

There are several ways you can feel more comfortable in the grocery store, whether you are an employee or a customer. Here is what we recommend  (take note!)

    • Shop at quieter times of the day. Do not shop if your a customer at peak times such as 5-6pm. Go shopping around 8-9pm instead at a quieter store.
    • Get plenty of sleep if you know you have to go shopping the next day. Lack of sleep can impede your focus and make you more irritable.
    • Do your best not to think about what the security guards, managers and anybody else is thinking. Put yourself in the present moment.
    • Try not to shop when you feel stressed, angry or on edge.

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