Kroger drink aisle with ads on refrigerator doors with caption 'Kroger commercials and voice activation on their drink aisle' (l) Kroger building with sign (c) Kroger drink aisle refrigerator doors with caption 'Kroger commercials and voice activation on their drink aisle' (r)

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock @donwitmadness/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘You got to sit through a 5-second ad break’: Kroger shopper calls out new digital ads that block what’s inside fridge doors

‘Ads on doors is crazy’


Jack Alban


One of the most annoying parts of browsing video or any type of content online is that in many cases it’s hidden behind a paywall of sorts. Sometimes the paywall is as divisive and stalwart as the one between East and West Germany once upon a time. Other times it’s not that serious: You just have to suffer looking at ads for a few seconds before you can get to doing what it is you wanted to do in the first place.

And while one expects a 30-second clip pontificating the benefits of engaging in a particular get-rich-quick scheme on YouTube, or ads lauding the after effects of slathering your face with some new-and-improved skin cream formula before they can watch a video of someone vlogging about their day doing nothing, one doesn’t really expect that kind of same end user experience while they’re out shopping at the grocery store.

However, some retailers are maximizing their earning potential but installing refrigerators that have screens in front of them that display ads in between still images of the drinks that are supposed to be waiting inside for thirsty/hungry patrons. CNN reported on a Walgreens location that was receiving heat from some customers who hated the latest addition to the store.

Other retailers, like Kroger, have been called out for installing the offering in its businesses, and the consumer backlash appears to be unanimously negative.

A TikToker named Don (@donwitmadness) highlighted his beef with Kroger’s decision to install these screen-laden refrigeration units in its stores in a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 112,000 views on the popular social media platform. He shows off the fridges in the viral clip, which contains a text overlay that reads: “Kroger put commercials and voice activation on their drink aisle”


♬ original sound – Don

“So Kroger done found a way to gain ad revenue off the f*cking drink aisle. So like you can’t just look through a glass door and find what you want you gotta sit through a 5-second ad break, or you gotta open the door up,” Don says, highlighting the inconvenience of the new screens while walking past refrigerator after refrigerator with screens on its doors.

“I know first world issues oh boohoo you gotta open a door up, but it’s still annoying to go from glass doors to f*cking Taco Bell ads when you’re just trying to get a drink. And then things they’re advertising are stupid like why are you advertising like a regular pack of Hot Dogs like I didn’t know hot dogs existed.”

That’s not the only gripe he had with the refrigerator screens, however, and the TikToker brought up a feature they pack that he found utterly useless: “Then there’s this wave to speak option on each one of these doors and I can’t think of what I would possibly need to say to a f*cking door, what is it gonna transfer me to a Kroger employee and they’re…what question could I possibly ask that I can’t just simply ask anyone? Like nearby me.”

He then points his camera to the end of the aisle where a worker for the popular grocery store chain can be seen standing, “There’s a Kroger employee right in front of me. This is another attempt to try and modernize something by making it more complex and more stupid and…” his attention is directed elsewhere at the end of the clip and his camera rests on a black bottle of Halloween-inspired Fanta: “What is this evil a** Fanta?”

One commenter speculated that Kroger’s decision to implement the refrigerators will more than likely affect their sales for the worse: “I wonder how this affects their sales. I’d walk right past instead of buying anything if I can’t see what’s inside.”

Another simply wrote: “Ads on doors is crazy”

While one TikToker said that they were going to take measures to ensure that any ad revenue they received as a result of installing these screens on refrigerators would be offset by the extra energy costs they would incur as a result of keeping doors open longer than usual: “I like to make up for them getting extra ad revenue by leaving the doors open to increase energy costs for them.”

Which was an idea echoed by another user on the platform who wrote: “Keep the doors open, every single one”

There was one user who called the excessive advertising a sign of a fallen society: “Dystopiannn. The avg person saw between 500-1k ads/day in the 70’s. Now we see between 4k-10K ads a day and don’t even notice. Our attn spans are done”

The above-mentioned statistic is supported by the University of California, which wrote that the average individual in the 1970s saw 500 advertisements a day, and in 2023, folks see around 5,000 in a 24 hour period: “In the 1970’s, people were exposed to about 500 ads per day. At present, people see roughly 5,000 ads per day. There are 5.3 trillion display ads shown online every year. On average, children see 20,000 thirty-second commercials each year.”

According to Built In, just simply seeing an advertisement for a particular product or brand hardwire our brains to see these items in a more “favorable” light.

So even if walking past a Taco Bell graphic on a refrigerator at Kroger may not influence you to dash out of the store to grab a crunchwrap supreme, somewhere down the line you might want to satisfy your craving for some grub by hitting up the Bell.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Kroger via email and Don via TikTok comment for further information.

The Daily Dot