Grocery store tricks, and how to avoid them…

I’ve commented before about the fact that grocery stores operate on tricks and frauds, and that they should all be closed down for making profits at the expense of people. The blog Pay Less for Food also examines a lot of grocery-store-related issues. Here are a few entries they wrote on the subject:

How Your Local Friendly Supermarket Profits From Your Inconvenience
Supermarket Speed Bumps That Get You to Spend More
How Food Packaging Illusions Cost You Money
Psychological Supermarket Tricks That Make Us Spend

Nine Simple Ways to Avoid Supermarket Impulse Purchases

If your grocery store was truly concerned with making things more convenient for you they would place the basic staple items you need closer to the entrance.

This convenience would allow us to quickly grab what we needed and go. But how many times have you gone into the store for a quick trip to buy some butter or bag of sugar and come out with a cart full of groceries?

Supermarkets purposefully place the essential staples not at the front of the store, but far in the back. As a result, we pass through row upon row of edible temptations. In fact, nearly 40% to 50% of all of our purchases inside the store are impulse purchases!

If your supermarket made it convenient for you by placing all of the staples at the front of the store, they would lose all the profit they collect as you make your way to the back to purchase your essential items.

5 thoughts on “Grocery store tricks, and how to avoid them…

  1. AnarchoJesse March 25, 2010 at 11:15

    Good post. That said, I always feel kind of weird because these “tricks” just don’t seem to work on me. Like… I get in, grab my meat and potatoes, I get out. Maybe I’m just that oblivious…

    • Francois Tremblay March 25, 2010 at 15:54

      Actually, if you had ever worked in a grocery store, you’d know that these tactics are devastatingly effective. I saw a quote from an industry insider once that said that without tricks and frauds, the grocery store business would just crash.

  2. Kevin Benko March 25, 2010 at 14:48


    You seem to have a similar tactic to me.
    I consider *any* shopping trip to be similar to a commando raid: get in, get what I need, and get out as quickly as possible.

    This, of course, irritates my wife, especially since I will, sometimes, grab food from a shelf, without breaking stride, as I walk by… hell, I’m not there to browse, I there to get my stuff as quickly as possible so I can get on with doing more important things.

  3. Nicklas W Bjurman March 25, 2010 at 22:14

    Some of the placement of the groceries makes sense from a health and safety perspective.

    Meats, dairy and fresh products are usually places along the walls and the most sensetive products to spoil is placed near the entrance to the warehouse.

    This is because these products needs constant supervision and easy to exchange for fresh produce.

    The dried foods are placed in the middle because they never need to be removed from the store.

    I have stopped buying things that aren’t real food. I eat meats, vegetables and dairy nowdays and it has benefited me greatly. My asthma is gone and the production of muccus is down considerable. I probably had a constant infection from the excess of refined carbohydrates that I consumed before.

  4. rom March 26, 2010 at 17:31

    supermarkets study human behavior in the store and how they can get them to graze and purchase more things, they spend money on this (it must be paying). They have different categories of shoppers in seven or more classes, the store itself, its layout, the setting up of the stalls are all designed to increase sales. Studies have shown that certain types of music being played in the store at particular times increases sales. The Matrix.

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