Sunday, March 9, 2014

Off to the Grocery Store

Sunday is my day to grocery shop.  Mrs. BA and I always say that we are going to menu plan and I can then go to the store with a better list of ingredients to know what meals we are going to have for the week.  With both of us working - it's hard to know what dinner is going to look like when you come home at 5:30 and nothing is defrosted or ready to go.

But I like going to the grocery store.  There, I said it.  Mrs. BA doesn't like going to the grocery store.  In fact, she's not very good at it.  So it all works out.  I like going up and down every aisle and I love my Wegman's app that tells me where things are and what's on my list.  But that, of course doesn't stop me from buying the "emergency breakfast" or something else that I just have to have.

So it appears that grocery stores have been controlling my (our) minds for years.  From BuzzFeed.

21 Ways Supermarkets Control Your Mind
  1. The make you associate the color red with discounts - supermarkets often put red “discount” signs in their parking lots, so you’re familiar with their format before you enter. Once you’re inside, the same sort of red signs don’t always denote a price reduction. But, because of the association you’ve already formed, you’ll be more inclined to buy the product.
  2. They make shopping carts extra large - shopping carts, which were invented in 1938, are purposely much larger than the average family’s weekly food shop. This encourages you to buy more food than you need. (I will say that Wegman's does offer a small and large cart - but I always go for the large one.)
  3. They put fruit and vegetables at the front - fruit and vegetables are usually positioned at the supermarket’s entrance. Although this doesn’t make sense for the shopper, who will crush their fresh shopping with heavier items later, the fresh smells and bright colours of fruit and veg make you feel positive. Plus, if you buy healthy food at the beginning of your shop, you’re more inclined to spend more on junk foods later.
  4. They trick you with math - loose fruit is often priced by the pound, whereas packaged fruit is priced by the item. This makes it difficult for you to work out which is the cheaper option.
  5. They pretend their fruit and vegetables are fresh - fruit and vegetables are often displayed in crates to make them look like they have just arrived from the farm.
  6. They spray their vegetables with water - vegetables are often sprayed with a water mist throughout the day to make them look fresher. (I will note that at one of the Safeway's that I have shopped at, it's a show - you hear thunder and see "lightning" before the sprayers are turned on.)
  7. They use flowers to fool you - flowers are also positioned at the supermarket’s entrance, usually in a more open display than food. This reminds the shopper of being in a local store and makes them feel less overwhelmed by the size of the shop which, in turn, encourages them to spend longer there. (And on those occasions when I have SoBA with me - he will always demand that we buy flowers for Mrs. BA.) 
  8. They make you feel really hungry - most supermarkets position baked goods near their front doors. The smell of fresh bread activates your salivary glands, which makes you more inclined to make impulse purchases.
  9. They force you to walk everywhere - essential items, such as bread, milk, and eggs, are spread out all over the store in order to make you wander around more. (hey, that's often the only exercise I get during the week)
  10. They make you think you're going fast when you're not p they use smaller floor tiles in the more expensive aisles to make your trolley click faster. This makes you think you’re traveling faster, so you subconsciously slow down and spend more time in the expensive aisle.
  11. They hide the cheese at the back - dairy products are usually positioned against the back wall, so you have to walk through the entire shop to get to them, encouraging you to pick up more things on the way.
  12. They've worked out a sneaky right-left formula - since most supermarkets make you move from right to left, you’re naturally inclined to buy things from the right-hand aisles. The most expensive products are placed there. (Hey, I'm left-handed and I usually work the store from the farthest point back to the front (and do the aisles in reverse - so I'm OK with making suckers out of my right-handed friends.
  13. They exploit your kids - expensive items are positioned at eye level, whereas items that are meant to appeal to children are positioned at their eye level. The cheapest items are positioned at the bottom of shelves, as you’re least likely to look there first. (This is one of the main reasons that I really like to grocery shop solo)
  14. They make you think things are cheap when they're not - when you’re in a hurry, you’re likely to pick up bargains on the ends of aisles, rather than considering the best-priced options. Supermarkets will rarely place the cheapest products here. (I do like the impulse, end-cap purchase, I'm sorry to say.) 
  15. They subliminally suggest food pairings to you - complementary items, such as crackers and cheese or apple pies and cream, are positioned next to each other in order to encourage you to buy more than you intended.
  16. They sell meat and fish against white walls - meat and fish is often sold against a white backdrop, as this makes it look fresher.
  17. They make things look better so you spend more - visual cues, such as installing wooden shelves and nice lighting, make you more inclined to spend more money on quality products.
  18. They paint the walls red to make you stay longer - warm colors grab your attention and and encourage contemplation. Research shows that people contemplate which fruit juice to buy for a long time, so those aisles are painted red.
  19. They play music to make you spend more - slow music makes you shop for longer, whereas classical music makes you spend more. Experiments have also shown that playing French music in the wine aisles increases the sales of French wines. (I will say that Wegman's has a really good Muzak system - I often find myself singing along, and I'm not alone.) 
  20. They place essentials to encourage impulse buys - everyday items, such as socks and deodorants, are often placed near the registers as you’re likely to pick them up on an impulse, because you’ll need them at some point, even if you weren’t planning on buying them.
  21. They appeal to your greedy side - check out lines are often lined with things like chocolate, which you’re likely to pick up as a reward for yourself for doing the shopping.

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