DEAR GROCERY STORE MANAGER:
I acknowledge that I am but a humble shopper. I know little about marketing strategies, promotional campaigns, or the psychology behind store layout and design. In fact, until I googled this morning I did not even know that there was a psychology behind store layout and design.
That said… I am a humble shopper who feeds a family of five, including a giant teenaged boy who absorbs two slices of pizza and a bowl of stew as an appetizer while he is watching me prepare dinner. Also including a swarm of 11-year-olds who attack my cupboards like fruit flies every day at 3:45, devouring anything that does not require the use of an oven, a blender, or a food processor. And have I mentioned my “picky” eater? Because she costs more to feed than everyone else combined, with her constantly evolving tastebuds and perplexing interest in consuming only fruit that is out-of-season.
I feel like you should want my business. Yet when I am in your store, it seems as though you are doing everything possible to make it difficult for me to touch, let alone purchase, your goods.
I am 5’4″ tall. I am pushing a cart that is about 3 feet wide. It is more than likely that this cart has at least one wheel that wobbles and another wheel that sticks. I am probably in a rush because I am supposed to be at work, or picking someone up and driving them somewhere, or handing the car off to someone who has booked it for an all-important journey to a mall, or a Starbucks, or a Starbucks inside a mall.
With these facts in mind, I offer 5 simple suggestions that may help to nurture my relationship with your establishment:
- Stop putting things at heights that are unreachable to the average woman. .. I know that I am short… but I am not so short that I qualify for a disability pension or merit a reality TV show. And even my 5’8″ daughter can’t reach those boxes of tissues in aisle three.
- If you simply MUST put things on a high shelf, at least show a little mercy and don’t stack them even higher! The aforementioned tissues were stacked five boxes high, so even when I scaled the lower shelves it was impossible to extricate the cute little box with the yellow flowers on it without having the whole Jenga-tower tumble down upon me.
- DO NOT create a promotional display tower in the dead center of an aisle. Are you thinking that I may buy all 500 cans of tomato soup just to clear the pathway for my giant-ass cart?
- Stop moving things to new places. One day, the salad croutons are hanging out with the condiments. The next day, they are on a display by the lettuce. Now they are in the bakery section. Seriously?!? You know what will really up the sales volume for croutons? Being able to find them.
- FIX THE DAMN WHEELS ON YOUR GROCERY CARTS! Just do it.
Kim, the sad truth is the grocery store does this with studied intention. The most profitable stuff for them is at the eye level of the average woman’s height. The specials in the aisles or at the end of the off aisles are marked up. The candy and small stuff near the cash register are there for us to buy to quiet kids that are whining or as a reward for them not so doing. The milk is in the back, so you will buy something else. The bigger the carts, the more you buy. And, so on. Keith
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And I will happily buy other items with my milk, bribe kids with candy, and impulse purchase… just give me a cart that goes in a straight line, an unobstructed aisle, and the ability to reach everything!
Amen to all five. At 5’2″ (or at least I used to be), I find myself often asking for help to reach the higher shelves, or if no one is around, trying to climb up the lower shelves to reach that one item I need that’s at the very top. Sometimes that doesn’t work out too well. One time, I was trying to reach a particular can of soup, just managed to wing it, and it fell right on top of my head (those cans are really heavy when falling from a height of 6 feet or so). I saw stars. Probably could have sued the store somehow, but I was too embarrassed.
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I know the feeling. A lot of my personal dignity was lost under the mountain of square tissue boxes that fell off the shelf at me the other day.
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YES YES YES!! Especially the moving of items to new places so I finally give up and don’t buy them at all. I think that’s supposed to make us go down new aisles and buy different things, but actually, I think I buy less and get pissed off 🙂
I’m short too. Nuff said.
also… as I age… I am less-and-less amused by activities that cause me to question my memory.
Me too. It’s annoying to be forced to go on a scavenger hunt for an item you need and it doesn’t make me want to buy other things on the way. It just makes me cross. I think our supermarkets must be smaller because although the top shelves are out of my reach they don’t stack things that high. I’m short too by the way.
For the past few months I’ve had to buy my groceries online and get them delivered which has been very handy but presents a whole new set of issues. The main one is substitutions, what the pickers and packers think is a reasonable substitute for an out of stock item is quite strange at times. Apricot jam for marmalade? OK they are the same colour. Once I ordered boneless lamb and they sent me lamb bones. Still at least I don’t have to deal with supermarket trolleys. They don’t work here either.
There is a home delivery service in my city that brings you ‘local’ produce all year round. Seems like a great idea in summer, when you open your door to find berries and kale and fresh cobs of corn… no so thrilling come November, when you are trying to figure out 7+ meals to make with turnips!
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I got so fed up with changes once that after looking around for awhile, I went to customer service with my list and asked them to tell me what aisles to find the items in. Saved me tons of walking and totally frustrated the staff, because they didn’t know where everything had been moved to either.
I once hunted for marshmallows with an employee for so long that I wound up knowing all about her kids and her favourite sport (curling). We still chat when I am in the store… and we did eventually locate the marshmallows, which have since been re-located again!