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 of 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?
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.
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!
Proudly serving buyers and sellers in Asheville, Hendersonville, Etowah, Brevard, Cashiers, and all the wonderful mountain communities in between.
For more information about buying or selling homes or land in the Brevard, NC area, contact the Clay Team today at BrevardNCProperty.com!
To receive to our monthly e-newsletter, property updates, or other information, subscribe here.