Can You Really Find Romance at the Grocery Store?

Can You Really Find Romance at the Grocery Store?

My research into this time honored venue was disappointing. I found reference to a Forbes article from 2006 which gives the percentage of people finding love in the grocery store at 5%, below online or in bars, but other than that no mention of finding true love in the grocery story, just references to it as impractical or a myth.

So instead I’ve put together from both interviews and internet, some of the reasons the grocery store may not be your best chance at love. For those who are convinced the grocery store is the path to true love I’ve narrowed it down to your best choice of grocery store. For those who persist in this hunt, despite the odds, I’ve even included a few pick-up tips.

The first problem with finding love in the grocery store should be self-evident. Your target is always moving. When you’re standing in the cereal aisle and see an individual you’d like to know better, by the time you make a decision to approach them they’ve disappeared into another aisle, or possibly the checkout line or possibly even their car. Time is not on your side.

Then there’s the question of receptivity. In, “Y” (names have been changed) points out “Chicks in bars expect to be approached” but that in the grocery store a woman is less likely to be receptive to a possible pickup, it’s just not her current mindset. She may think you’re genuinely asking her opinion of a product, or she might be someone’s wife and mother. Whereas, a bar is more of a screener for that kind of thing.

Then there’s the question of outright stalking. Says “X”, my pretty single neighbor, who’s incidentally a flight attendant, “If a man is following me from aisle to aisle, even when I’m looking at pantyhose or something he can’t possibly need it’s creepy, like he’s stalking me or getting off of my grocery selections, I wouldn’t like it“.

Which makes us wonder, were grocery store pickups ever really effective? Maybe in a different era, where only singles shopped by themselves and everyone was in the closet, but now with so many domestic situations and so many sexual preferences,  you can’t  know the demographics of the hot shopper you’re checking out. You don’t want to embarrass yourself, you don’t want to make them uncomfortable and you don’t want to be shot down. Between mobility, looking like a stalker and possibly asking out someone’s spouse, the grocery store is not looking like a very promising pick-up joint.

Or was grocery store romance perhaps never a possibility or at least as likely as being discovered by a Hollywood agent in a soda shop. For one, there are no more soda shops. At least there are still grocery stores.

Certainly, in an age of online dating where everybody’s interest is clearer if not outright spelled out in their profile, the grocery store is going to be a lesser choice. And in the old fashioned sense, of learning more about someone before approaching him, church, school or the workplace is going to be a better bet. Someone you know already knows the person you’re interested in and can fill you in. Church, school and the workplace have another advantage over a grocery store. The person you’re interested in you will see again. You can approach more gradually, less stalker-ly and, according to my psych 101 book, you’re likelier to make a connection in a situation where you have “repeat exposure” (you’ll see them again).

In case you’re unconvinced by this data and convinced you will find the love of your life while both wheeling a cart or cashing coupons, I’ve assembled some tips to at least  increase your chance of romance in the aisles.

Choose your grocery store wisely. By this I mean that ShopRite is too large an arena and the demographic too varied. If possible shop at a specialty market like Trader Joes or Whole Food. The advantages of doing this are many.

  1. You narrow the field down to people who are single or part of a childless couple. No one with a large family would consider it practical to do a large family’s weekly shopping at a specialty grocery. They’re more expensive, they don’t carry items in bulk and the aisles are too narrow to navigate with a child in tow.
  2. You narrow the field down to a particular segment of society, arguably more health conscious and trendy possibly with similar beliefs about how to treat their bodies and other life. If you want to meet a hot vegan or a successful person in the media, a grocery story with a natural bent is your bet. If you want to meet a trucker, “7/11” is a better bet.

Whole Foods even occasionally has singles mixers, check your local whole foods event calendar: Interestingly I could find nothing about finding love at Trader Joes with another shopper, but I did hear from a friend and find online:, tales of women finding romance with a Trader Joe’s cashier. Unlike another attractive man you might see in the grocery store, the man at the checkout counter you’re likely to see again and, as mentioned earlier “repeat exposure” is likelier to lead to a connection than a single sighting. Another conclusion about dating a Trader Joe’s cashier was that they’re likely to be well educated and artistic but not necessarily bread winners, though they do have a discount on a decent selection of bread.

Not content with a cashier to bring home to meet Mom and Dad? So then what are your moves in the grocery store if you set your eye on another shopper?

Don’t pick them up in the toiletries aisle; purchases there tend to be embarrassing and your interest in the person purchasing them appears pervy.

Do, if you’re a man, come to the aid of a woman struggling to reach something on a top shelf. Do, if you’re a woman, seek the aid of a handsome stranger in reaching uppermost groceries. You can always put them back anywhere later; putting things back in the right place is one of the jobs of grocery store employees.

Do ask your potential target’s opinion of a product, choose one you conceivably might both use, like a cleaning product. Don’t over do it, a simple “have you tried this stuff” doesn’t sound like a pick up line as it shouldn’t. Do meet their eyes.

Do linger in the produce aisle, people are slower there because they’re surveying the state of the produce, that and they’re thinking about their bodies and nature, just like you are. A potentially suave move in the produce aisle is to  help an attractive stranger who appears to be struggling to open those little plastic bags you’re supposed to put the produce in. Have one you’ve already opened (so that you have one you’re sure CAN be opened), appear to open it for the first time, then hand it to her with a flourish.

Finally, if you insist on find grocery store love, it’s important to know the hot spot for picking people up or starting up friendly conversations. It’s the check out line, because at last your target isn’t moving.

Written by Rebecca K.