Trouble is, they're not very well made rocking chairs, and they're not comfortable compared with many other rockers. Here's why:
1. Seats are not contoured. The woven seat of a Cracker Barrel rocking chair is totally flat. Your butt is not. They make them this way to save money, but if you could set two chairs next to each other and one had a contoured seat, you would never choose this chair.
2. Backs are not contoured. Same issue. Viewed from the top they are a straight as a board (I'm looking for some photos I took of these and will post them asap). A rocker can either cradle you, or it can just let you sit flat on it. Cradling is better!
3. Back posts are set at an angle but are totally straight. I've explained this in previous posts, but this is a very common way of designing a rocker that can be sold cheaply. The post has to be set at an angle - otherwise it won't lean back at an angle and even look like a rocker - but what separates the good from the great is a elbow-cut back post, which provides far more recline and takes the weight off your back as you sit in it. Also, an elbow-cut back post makes for a far stronger and longer-lived chair, because the lower part of the post is straight and therefore all the forces are equalized as the chair rocks. The way this (and most other inexpensive rockers) is made, the back post pulls away from the front every time the chair rocks, gradually weakening the chair over time.
4. The chair is not weatherproof or even weather resistant. These chairs are sold as porch rockers, but they are made of non-weatherproof woods, and therefore begin to rot and degrade as soon as you put them on your porch. In fact, if Cracker Barrel didn't sell so many rockers, they would rot right there on the restaurant porch. As it is, the rockers are sold within a few days and end up rotting on the customer's porch instead.
5. The chair is lightweight. Put a Cracker Barrel chair on your front porch and you will know when the wind starts to blow, because your rockers will blow all over the porch. The wind causes them to rock on their own, and they "shuffle" around as the wind continues to blow. They end up scuffing your walls and each other.
6. The chair is not strong. Especially after a few months outdoors, they get rather brittle, especially in the joints where water soaks in and causes the wood to rot. I have seen posts rot, seat slats break, and arms break - arms usually break at the joint with the back post, although they sometimes break at the front post.
Overall, Cracker Barrel chairs are popular because they are visible, widely available, and are very well retailed, with the ambience and romance of the front porch of the country store. Compared with lots of quality rocking chairs, they seem to be a good deal, but considering their overall quality and comfort, I would stay away from them if you plan to sit in them or have your guests do so!
UPDATE: Wow, the popularity of this post is just epic! Had no idea it would attract this much attention. It seems like there are many people who agree with my constructive criticisms, and others who say they love their cracker barrel rockers. I realize my post title was harsh, but I'll stand by my comments, because while ALL rockers are comfortable and worthy of love, there ARE (big) differences in quality and comfort when you compare one rocker to another. Anyway, love to all! And keep those posts coming!