Wearing Headphones Makes Me Hate Grocery Shopping A Lot Less


If I’m hungry, I can go into a store and leave with food. That’s pretty great, and it’s not something I try to take for granted. Like most people, though, I still think of grocery shopping as a chore. And I’ve found a simple way to make it a much more enjoyable one: Headphones.

Photo by Tim Gouw

Months ago, I was listening to a podcast episode while driving to the grocery store. Once I arrived, I wanted to keep listening, and luckily, I had a pair of headphones in my backpack. So I plugged them into my phone and my ears and went on my merry way. Since then, I’ve made a habit of grocery shopping with headphones. Here’s why.

It makes the experience more enjoyable: You can catch up on podcasts, download an audiobook, or just listen to music you actually enjoy (as opposed to soft hits from 2002). Especially if you typically buy the same food staples week after week, grocery shopping is a pretty mindless task in consumption. You might as well make it more productive — or at least more enjoyable.

It keeps solicitors away: From solicitors at the store entrance to solar panel salespeople inside the store, I hate having to constantly tell solicitors, “no thanks, I’m not interested,” when I’m just trying to get some milk and bread. With headphones, you have a built-in excuse to keep walking. It might be kind of rude, but then so is continuing to solicit me even after I say I’m not interested.

Headphones block out store distractions: Stores are designed to get you to spend money, from the layout to the music. Headphones are a great defence against these tactics. At least in my experience, you’re less focused on the goodies around you and more on what you’re listening to, which breaks you out of consumer mode.

Of course, you should also be aware of your surroundings when you shop, so I try to use the same rules I do when I commute and listen to the radio. Namely, I keep the volume low enough to hear what’s going on around me. Also, I take out my headphones when I check out. As someone who’s been on the other side of the register, it’s pretty annoying to check someone out when they’re on their phone, even if they are just listening to music. When you’re doing your own thing, though, I see no problem with sticking in some headphones while you shop.


  • What a strange attitude. What’s so bad about grocery shopping? I quite enjoy it and, far from buying the same products week after week, I tend to look for discounted items to try out, which pans out more often that you’d think.

    I also have a problem with using music to block out the outside world. For a start, it’s a gross misuse of music, which I prefer to listen to when I can concentrate on it and/or when it will help me focus on other things. (I discovered decades ago that I was much better at arcade games when I was listening to my favourite music very loud.) In a supermaket setting, it jsu tmakes you one of those oblivious arseholes who gets in everyone’s way. How about you have a little consideration for those around you and pay attention to your surroundings?

    • “In a supermaket setting, it jsu tmakes you one of those oblivious arseholes who gets in everyone’s way. How about you have a little consideration for those around you and pay attention to your surroundings?”

      What an awful assumption you’ve made. If you read earlier on in the article, the author states they keep their music low enough to be aware of what is going on around them.

      Also, not everyone loves grocery shopping as much as you do, so you should try to have some consideration for those that might not find it so appealing. For me, being around so many people makes me feel very uneasy, self-conscious and vulnerable.

      And as much as I appreciate intently listening to music, even I can just have something on in the background to fill the sonic space without the need to have amazing headphones, or 100% concentration to appreciate every single tonal quality of every single song every time I listen to it. The great thing about it is, you can just put it on again later and give your full attention.

    • Getting in the way of others is down to the person and not whether you have headphones in. I am one of those a-holes who has headphones in a lot. Not giant beats, I’m not a douche bag. I tend to find the people who get in the way and the worse are the ambling people and not those listening to pod casts or music.

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