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15 Worst Mistakes I've Seen Walmart Shoppers Make

From masks being taken off to teens playing in the toy aisle, there are just some things that shouldn't be happening right now.

Word spread quickly around the neighborhood—the Walmart on Route 191 in Bethlehem, PA, had a new supply of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. During the time of a pandemic, this is some exciting news, so I ran over there at lunchtime.

I snagged a 3-pack—score! But, honestly, I felt like handing them out to customers while walking around the store, considering what I witnessed. Attention Walmart shoppers: many of you need to be more careful about following safe shopping protocols. We all do.

So what exactly happened? Well, here are some of the biggest mistakes I witnessed my fellow masked Walmart shoppers make. And to make sure you're up to date, be sure to click here for all of our latest coronavirus coverage.

Masks being taken off.

taking off mask

A masked employee stands at the entrance to make sure everyone who enters is wearing a face cover, but I saw at least five people pull them down around their necks as soon as they walked into the store. Not good! And there are more mask dangers out there, too.

Masks only covering people's mouths.

shopping with mask

Twelve, count 'em, 12 people shopped with their masks pulled down under their noses. Four employees left their noses exposed, too. I felt like asking them, "But, what if you sneeze?" And saying that, "according to a study in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, pathogen-bearing droplets expelled in a sternutation (ie. a sneeze) can travel up to 100 mph and more than 20 feet."

Becoming irate.

upset shopper

Jennifer, a Walmart associate, restocking family-size Frosted Flakes told me that when employees enforce the six-foot social distancing guidelines, some patrons become "downright nasty, angry, yelling 'This is a free country. Don't tell me what to do!'" While she noted that most customers are respectful and appreciative, those who aren't acting accordingly might want to rethink their attitudes and actions before going shopping.

Not disinfecting shopping cart handles.

disinfecting shopping cart

The store provides disinfectant wipes, so use them! I saw one boy sitting in his mother's shopping cart grabbing the handle and then picking his nose. Gross…

Browsing for non-essentials.

browsing grocery store

Several employees told me the store is full of people "who apparently are bored at home."

"They're not shopping essentials. A garden hose isn't an essential item like food. Our garden department was crazy this weekend," said Maroc, a store associate.

Bringing the entire family to the store.

shopping with family

Shopping for essential items shouldn't be a family affair. Going to Walmart shouldn't be seen as an opportunity for getting out of the house for some exercise. That's what parks are for. Shop alone if possible.

"Don't bring your babies in here," said store-associate Maria.

Eating in the store.

samples grocery store

It can be messy trying to eat and drink while wearing a face covering, which is why people take them off to feed their faces, preferable something they should be doing at home and not while shopping. My advice? Finish your strawberry smoothie before you enter the store and don't open the box of Ring Dings for your four-year-old before you check out.

Shopping during peak times.

Coronavirus pandemic effects: long queue to enter the supermarket for grocery shopping

The store is busiest after lunch and in the evening. So it's best to plan to shop in the morning when the store has been freshly cleaned and stocked to help avoid creating more crowds.

Touching everything.

touching everything

You know those shoppers who browse through the store picking up and examining every product on the shelves even though they have no intention of buying it? Yep, there was plenty of that going on. But right now, it's best to keep your hands in your pockets until you're ready to toss the Doritos in your cart!

Wrestling for paper towels.

paper towels

I personally did not see this happen as the paper towel shelves were empty when I was shopping. But store-associate Maria told me, "A few weeks ago people were pushing and shoving to get at the paper towels and toilet paper while we were restocking them. We had to switch to restocking at night when the store is closed because it was getting crazy."

Improvising a face covering.


One guy who apparently forgot his mask pulled his Eagles T-shirt up over his nose. That's not a valid face-covering, in the slightest.

Playing catch.

toy aisle

Two teenage guys were playing catch with a Nerf football in Sporting Goods, while their buddy squeezed a bicycle horn, honking it over and over again. I blew the whistle on that penalty and they muttered something under their masks and walked away.

Not planning your shopping strategically.

grocery shopping

Now is the time to get in, get the goods, and get out quickly. I saw too many people casually cruising in and out of the aisles as if nothing in life had changed. Knowing exactly what you need is key, and just make sure you're not stocking up on the worst foods to buy at Walmart.

Not practicing social distancing.


There are markers on the floor at checkout showing you exactly where to stand, so there really isn't any excuse to not stand six-feet away from each other.

Touching the credit card swiper.

Walmart checkout

Or paying with cash. That's like shaking hands with a thousand other humans! Instead, download the Walmart Pay app for touch-free payment with your smartphone at a register or at self-checkout. An even better option? You can order your items online and use curbside pickup.

Stay safe, everybody.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Jeff Csatari
Jeff Csatari, a contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, is responsible for editing Galvanized Media books and magazines and for advising journalism students through the Zinczenko New Media Center at Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA. Read more about Jeff