GROCERY STORE TRICKS
ur food system is
completely out of whack: Why else would there be 1 billion obese people in the
world, while a billion others are starving? The handful of companies
that control food distribution and huge supermarket chains are to blame for
this discombobulated distribution of food—much of which is unhealthy for us
anyway. All supermarkets are structures that make us buy more than we need. We know they’re evil but we all return to them because they’re
convenient. Most of us
probably don’t consider our local grocery store "evil.” But if you’ve noticed
that you tend to walk out with more stuff in your cart than you planned, here
are five sneaky supermarket strategies that may be to blame:
1. They put milk
in the back. We wish we could
say they do this so you get more exercise but grocery store milk, and other
things that just about everybody needs, are put in the back of the store so you
(and your children) are more likely to make impulse purchases as you make your
way the dairy section and back. To avoid weighing your cart down with
unnecessary junk, tabloids, and candy in the store’s "golden triangle,” (the
route from the door, to the milk, to the checkout), stay around the edges of
the story rather than meandering through the aisles. Don’t go in without a
list, and don’t buy anything not on the list.
2. They bake
bread. Even if you don’t buy bread when you go to
the supermarket, its aroma may taunt you, sometimes from vents above your head.
The smell of baking bread makes us buy more stuff, experts say. Some places
too small for a bakery actually add the scent of baking bread to the air
conditioning systems. Short of nose plugs or a bad cold, it’s hard to avoid
this one. But being aware of the phenomenon may help you pay more attention to
what you’re grabbing from the shelves.
3. They depress
you into buying more. Want to know if your supermarket
chain is messing with your head? Listen to what type of music’s playing. The place you are most likely to hear depressing music from the 80s and 90s is
in supermarkets—and that’s because it makes you put more stuff in your cart.
As a result, millions of people have been exposed to Annie Lennox! I you suspect your grocer’s trying to mope you into a
buying binge, arm yourself with music player loaded with favorite tunes, and
pop in those ear buds.
4. They lure
your kid at eye level. While you’re comparing prices
between laundry detergents (you are picking the unscented, plant-based type,
right?), your kids are tugging on your pants, begging for the dual-colored
water guns located about 3 ½ feet from the floor—directly in their reach.
Coincidence? Stores place kid-friendly items at the little ones’ eye
levels so they’ll hound parents into making unnecessary purchases. Steel
yourself to say no, or leave the kids with a friend when you need to shop.
5. They nickel
and dime you with produce. Focus groups examining the spending habits of working class
Canadian women. After comparing food bills, it turns out the women who paid a
higher cost up front for weekly produce shares in a local community-supported
agriculture program actually spent less than women who headed to the grocery
store on a regular basis. Plus, because much of the produce in supermarkets is
shipped from all over the world, grocery stores tend to sell varieties that can
withstand long shipments—not the ones that taste the best. Compare a tomato
shipped in a plastic container from California to an organic one pulled fresh
from your farmer’s field the same day it’s sold. There’s no contest!
SAVE $$ AT THE GROCERY STORE
Here are 1some ways to save money when you go grocery shopping:
- Eat first
- Make a list and buy only what’s on it.
- Buy non-grocery items somewhere else (discount or dollar store) or try store brands
- Beware of marketing strategies that place higher priced items in end-of-aisle bins and stand-alone islands
- Watch checkout scanner for errors.
- Use store/manufacture’s coupons. Consider joining the stores ‘club’.
- Limit impulse buying
- Buy discounted (2-for-1) or sale items only if you can use them.