Jul 19, 2021

Old Man Rant - Stocking the shelves at grocery stores

I have always loved doing my grocery shopping early in the morning. I've done this since I was a teenager. It used to be that shopping in the morning meant no long lines, no crowds, and it was always quiet and peaceful. You could take your time and it was actually one of the farthest things from stress that one could experience in the course of everyday life.

Ah.. the good old days

Now, over the last decade, I've been increasingly irritated by a new trend. Many stores now have their employees stocking the shelves in the morning hours. Not early morning hours mind you. I'm talking about all morning until noon. Now, add in the dozens of employees picking customer orders for curbside pickup, and you have virtually every aisle packed with pallets, boxes, and carriers of all shapes and sizes. Sprinkle a few shoppers into the mix, and you've got an instant traffic jam. 

Today in Wal-Mart at 8:00 a.m. I honestly felt like I couldn't stop walking in many aisles, for fear of my ankles getting taken out from behind by an impatient stocker or personal curbside shopper. The huffs and scowls I got from the employees because I was interfering with them completing their duties, was actually laughable at times. On three different occasions, I had to leave my shopping cart parked outside of the aisle, while I ducked & dodged people and carts to grab one or two items I needed. 

I must state, that I don't blame the employees at all. Heck, I'm not sure why or when this change in stocking hours actually evolved into the hot mess it is today. I can't imagine its very fun for the folks trying their best to do their jobs. Now I'm not an impatient man and have no problems waiting in line, or even having to go through the motions slowly. What I can't stand when shopping however, is feeling rushed and unable to even access products I need in a store. I've tried to go later in the day, but by that time the tourists in the area where I live make an appearance, along with more curbside delivery shoppers. At this point, the aisles are absolutely jam packed.

I'm not sure what my solution to this problem is. I do spread my money around and shop at different stores, some of which I never experience this problem. Maybe I'll frequent those stores on mornings when I need a little more solitude. I won't lose any sleep over this. I just felt like rattling off an 'Old Man Rant'. Thanks for listening! These rants present themselves from time to time, so perhaps I'll make this a regular topic. But hopefully not too regularly.


  1. Back in the mi-late '90s when I was running a grocery store, one of the things that we had kind of set in stone was the fact that the night stock crew was done stocking and facing the aisle before the store opened at 6am. We had a decent amount of foot traffic in the store in those early hours...I guess made of people like yourself. But I've noticed the same trend as you have lately with stocking running long. Or in some cases, stores no longer do overnight stocking, instead, they have their stockers come in at 3 or 4 am and work until noon. That way there are more employees in the store if things get busy around the checkouts. I think it's more about the almighty dollar than anything else.

    1. Yes! What happened to overnight stocking? During my years as a Dad and having to make more than a few overnight runs to the store for medicine and diapers, I remember the stores being busy with stockers! Nice insight from a person who has actually worked in the field. Thanks man!

  2. Man. I totally agree!! Heck at Walmart it seems all hours are stocking these days along with the personal shopping. There just isn’t a good time to avoid the insanity.

    I do miss the quiet, early morning shopping. It was so peaceful and you could get in and out with ease.


What say you?