Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Americans can be fussy about their grocery stores.

Especially with the proliferation of stores that at least claim they're helping save the world.

Or, at least, help it destroy itself less quickly.

So whenever there are surveys asking customers which stores please them most, the reactions can tend toward the emotional.

The latest survey is the Market Force Information annual customer satisfaction poll of 12,892 deeply committed shoppers.

Yet again, Wegmans is at grocery's summit. This highly caring supermarket chain entrances customers to the degree that its brand reputation is better than Apple's. Or Disney's. 

Second came Publix, which actually managed to tie Wegmans last year.

Trader Joe's, a winner in previous years, came third. 

Aldi and H-E-B scored strongly, too. But as, often with these things, it's the bottom of the pile that provides the most fascination.

Imagine that Wegmans enjoyed a Composite Loyalty Index of 77 percent and that Publix and Trader Joe's were at 76 and 75 respectively.

Please now imagine that one of the more basement-dwelling chains -- Safeway -- managed a mere 42 percent. Yet even that looks positively giddy when compared with Walmart's 34 percent.

What seems to matter most to customers are convenient location, enticing sales and promotions and value for money. 

How, then, could Walmart have slipped so low? Surely, it at least does well in the last category. I asked Walmart and will update, should I hear.

It must surely be disconcerting for a brand that has long been proud of its ability to compete.

Perhaps, though, times are changing. 

If you're looking for trends, customers still want to lean toward organic produce -- even if there's no real scientific proof that they're better for you.

Like true Americans, they're also getting lazier and more Amazonized -- or, perhaps, more stressed. So home delivery is growing. As is the notion of clicking on an app, choosing your products, and collecting your items from the store.

For Walmart, though, it can't be easy being thought of as America's 22nd (and least) favorite grocery store. 

Optimistically, perhaps the chain is just preparing for a different sort of fight to come. 

The fight for human hearts and their new habits.

Published on: Jun 16, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.