Supermarkets and fast food chains make people happy, one consumer survey reports.

Publix Market
Credit: © State Archives of Florida/Steinmetz

Feeling blue? Maybe some retail therapy—or snacks!—might help. Seriously. According to a new survey of 10,000 consumers covering nearly 300 restaurants, brands, and retailers across 20 categories including air travel, banks, fast food chains, supermarkets, and appliance makers, the three best emotional consumer experiences in the United States are associated with Publix, Chick-fil-A, and Residence Inn. In fact, the survey, which was published by consumer experience research firm the Temkin Group, found that supermarkets and fast food chains earned the highest average rating from consumers, who were asked to gauge their emotional response to experiences with the brands. Rounding out the top ten were H-E-B, True Value, Kroger, Save-a-Lot, Wawa Food Market, QVC, and Amazon.

On the other side of the spectrum, the automotive industry, banks, health insurers, and internet service provides fared less well. "Emotion is such a critical component of consumer experience, but that fact seems to be lost by moth health plans and TV and internet service providers," the research firm's managing partner Bruce Temkin said in a statement. This year's lowest consumer rankings went to Comcast, Fujitsu, Health Net, Blue Shield of CA, Anthem, Time Warner Cable, Commonweath Edison, Medicaid, Charter Communications, and AT&T.

According to Temkin, consumer behavior is inextricably linked to their emotional experiences—with those experiencing positive emotions 15.1 times more likely to recommend a company to their friends and 7.1 times more likely to purchase items from that company. Goodwill now is also protection for future foibles: making shoppers happy means they'll be 6.6 times more likely to forgive a company if it makes a mistake.