Because life is a series of edits

Melonhead, Aisle 12

In Family, Places, Places & Spaces, Pop Culture on March 12, 2009 at 6:30 am

Last night, Megan sent me to our local Shop 'n Save Spend to pick up a few basic staples to hold us over until she can do it for real on Friday. I had maybe 7-8 items on my list, all of which took me 45 minutes to find.

Can someone please explain to me the philosophy of grocery store organization? I get why the milk is always in the back and why the cat litter's not in the produce aisle, but I'm not sure anything else made sense.

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  1. Having worked for a major grocery store company, I can say with authority that the strategy is, indeed, to make you stay the longest amount of time as possible in the store. Why would they put bread, eggs and milk at the front of the store? No, let’s HIDE those items so you feel like it’s a neverending Easter Egg Hunt as you shop for groceries and hopefully discover 50 bucks worth of impulse purchases.

  2. You’re a man; it’s a grocery store. No amount of planning or strategy (on your part or the store’s) can reduce the amount of time you spend finding the peanut butter.

  3. It’s all making sense now, especially after having given in to my one impulse purchase of a $3.26 bag of Milano cookies for me and the Mrs. to share when I got home. I just can’t figure out why there hasn’t been more of a protest/rebellion by a general public who are so helplessly herded through aisles and aisles of stuff they don’t need just to get to stuff they do. Where is the outrage, people?

  4. Yes, you’ve smoked it: the strategy/logic is all tied to retail. EVERYTHING in a good store is well-placed to maximize the likelihood that it will be purchased on a whim.
    When I worked retail, there were videos and even courses that my stores were willing to put us through in order to learn some of this. There is big business in making retail more effective this way.
    There is a solution, though: start taking notes on where in the store (aisle numbers, front, back, etc.) the things you most regularly purchase are. After a while– a month? two? it depends on how often you go– you should be able to “map” your trip– and write your shopping list in order.
    When I’ve done this in the past (or simply learned it from going so often) it has cut my trip length by more than half.

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