Brevard North Carolina Real Estate Blog: Conspiracy on Aisle 5

Conspiracy on Aisle 5

I don't know anyone who really enjoys going to the grocery store, especially these days when the price of a loaf of bread is approaching the price grocery storeof a gallon of gas. But yesterday's trip to my local store presented more than the usual challenges of finding creative, affordable ways to keep my family healthy and fed well without breaking the bank. What I uncovered were some intentional, and some unintentional attempts to alter the amount of money I spend without me really noticing.

There is a science to product placement and layout in any retail store, but it's especially so in grocery stores. It's why the things we buy the most are at the back of the store. It's their not-so-subtle way of forcing us to wander down multiple aisles (and make additional purchases) just to get to the eggs and milk we came in for. It's why manufactures pay top dollar for shelf space that is at eye level for most adults.  Except of course, the chocolate cookies and sugar bomb snacks that are placed at a child's eye level. And, we all know that with certain brands, a half a gallon of ice cream really isn't a half a gallon anymore. In recent years the selection of breakfast cereals has exploded over the years, but the boxes have gotten smaller and smaller. Some clever manufacturers though still use the same size packaging they always have, they just put less in it. The opposite is true of certain paper goods though. I don't want to buy 24 giant rolls of paper towel. Three would be just fine and I suspect that if you break it down by the price of each roll, you aren't saving anything (and you may be paying more) for these gigundo economy sizes.

So what was it that got my attention yesterday and why am I convinced there are other undiscovered conspiracies waiting to snare our time and our wallets?

Evidence #1

When were grocery carts super sized?  For as long as I can remember, there was one size grocery cart plus the little hand basket when all you're picking up are few small items. In recent months, I've begun seeing some carts that are somewhere in between..bigger than a basket, smaller than the usual grocery cart. But yesterday as I was heading to my car with my groceries, I noticed that the cart I was pushing was the size of a Volkswagon. It was huge!  OK, I guess someone with a big family who buys everything in multiples of 5 would appreciate having more cargo room. But I'm convinced that it's a conspiracy by the grocery stores to get us to keep buying until the cart is really full....and our wallets are really empty.

Evidence #2

When I got home I started looking over my receipt. Scanners long ago replaced having to punch in the amount of an item manually. But if you haven't already noticed, scanners are often wrong.  Because I have a "frequent shopper" card at this particular store, I get "advantage" pricing and according to my receipt, I just saved $31. Not bad! But then I noticed the line that says I paid $12.20 for cherries. I love cherries but I didn't buy cherries....I bought grapes which are substantially less money. Then I spotted the pasta sauce that I bought only because it was "advantage priced" but the price rang up higher than it was tagged on the shelf. I don't generally go over every single receipt, and every single item, but I know I should and after this experience, I am raising my right hand and vowing to look it over every single time.

If you'd like to test your "grocery store knowledge", try this little quiz and see how much really know.

More importantly, the next time you go to the grocery store, don't let that catchy Beatle's tune playing on the store's "musax" system lull you away from the business at hand.  Stay alert for these and other conspiracies!






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Comment balloon 4 commentsCarol Clay • July 16 2011 01:11PM


Carol - I am one of those "weirdos" that actually likes grocery shopping!  I do impulse-buy when stores have "Frequent Shopper" discounts, and I too often find they were scanned incorrectly.  I think in the end, the store knows MOST ppl won't drive all the way back and wait in line for a $2 adjustment...

Posted by Sharon Lord, New Home Advisor (Maracay Homes) almost 8 years ago


Awesome post. Thanks for the insight and info. Happy shopping.

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) almost 8 years ago

Carol, I do the shopping in our household and like you am amazed at what I am seeing. Tuna Cans have been downsized but we are still paying the same amount. Cereal like you said is guilty of the same thing but the size looks the same. A dozen eggs are going for just about the price of gas. Great post and we all need to be careful to NOT fill up our cart too heavy because they have grown in size. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) almost 8 years ago

This is a great post and amazing.  Just last night, and I'm not kidding, I was thinking of doing a "test" of products.  Of course this was only in my imagination, I'm too lazy to actually do it.  But, opening up the can or the box and actually MEASURING the contents.  I'm sure the 6 oz. of whatever is really 5.5 oz when measured.  One store that I shop has removed the plastic hand carry baskets.  You have to use a super-sized cart, even if you want only a few items.  Yes, a conspiracy . . . and it's good to be mindful of the games they play!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 8 years ago

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