Grocery Stores are Evil

Posted: April 16, 2012 in Unbounded Learning

Melanie Greenberg, a clinical psychologist wrote this article for Psychology Today about how groceries basically take advantage of you.

Ten Ways Your Local Grocery Store Hijacks Your Brain


This place is evil!!

I thought it was pretty interesting and clever. A lot of it made sense. Why don’t we go through some of them?

1. Fooled by Fresh Flowers

Dr. Greenberg wrote that grocery stores place fresh flowers by the entrance to create a fresh and inviting experience for consumers. Seriously? I’m pretty sure people will still feel slightly poorer walking out of a grocery store even if you put Jason Statham by the entrance.

2. Muddled by Missing Milk

Product placement in store makes you spend more money

Now this actually makes sense because I’m pretty sure they do this in any kind of store. Basically, Greenberg says they put the essentials that people ALWAYS reach for like milk and eggs at the back of the store so you HAVE to cruise the aisles to get to them. Therefore, it’s easy for them to entice you into buying what you probably don’t need.



3. Exasperated by Faux Environmentalists

Green Lifestyle Costing More Green

Green Lifestyle Costing More Green

Greenberg talks about competitive altruism which is people’s willingness to pay extra just so they can say they made the greener choice. I’m all for the environment but I’d rather save green in the form of dollars. I mean, if people really wanted to be environmentally friendly when it comes to cleaners, why pay more for an “organic cleaner” when you could just mix vinegar and warm water to clean the bathroom? I’m pretty sure that’s more eco-friendly anyway.

She talks about other stuff which just made me think that it’s not completely evil that grocery stores do this. Okay, they want to boost sales. Is that so bad? It’s the consumer’s responsibility to think for themselves and if putting milk and eggs at the back of the store makes a person spend $40 on shit they didn’t need, then maybe they deserved to be hijacked in the first place.

  1. That’s funny, I thought competitive altruism was when two people conspired together to kill a third competitor? You know, the A-MARE-iken way. Oh well, I will say that fresh flowers go a long way though, saved my ass more than once.I hope this was a picture of your shopping cart.

  2. ssharp4 says:

    I can believe that article totally. Its just like those conveniently place “impulse buy” items by the the checkout counter, like candy and soda. Its like the stores know when to grasp at the wallets of consumers at just the right moment.

  3. velvedi says:

    Interesting article.. I like reading about these things, like how stores will put more expensive items as well as their store brand items at eyeline level to the shelf and the lower priced items are usually toward the bottom. I’m with you on the whole “organic” issue. I’m immediately wary of products that have that word all over the packaging.

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