Don’t be a victim! 4 classic grocery shopping tricks we all fall for.
Ever walked out of a supermarket with a lot more (frankly not-so-useful) purchases than you meant to buy? The good news is, it’s not your fault! The bad news is that you’ve been scammed once again by subtle grocery store tactics that get you to buy more than you intended.
The next time you’re in a supermarket, pay attention to these small details that can cost you a lot of money. These classic tactics are employed by supermarkets around the world to maximize customers’ shopping baskets and most of us fall for them almost every day:
1. Door crashers will only crash your budget
It is very common in supermarkets to have the biggest deals in islands or standalone bins at the entrance to lure customers in for savings. You may think that this is designed for the convenience of the shoppers who can get the deals and walk out quickly, but once you’re at the deals it’s actually hard to just turn around and walk out without having to make a big U-turn around the whole store. These deals will get you to come in far enough that you’ll have to see a lot more alluring products on your way in and out.
2. Store layouts hang you out to dry
Did you ever wonder why you have to walk all the way through the store to pick-up daily staples like bread and milk? It’s no accident: supermarkets are intentionally designed that way so that items you need on a daily basis are as far away from the entrance and checkout counters as possible. This way, it is guaranteed that you will see at least one or two more items than what you originally came to buy, and will end up buying more things. Almost everyone has committed the spending sin of leaving with more things than we meant to go buy, but how can we help it when some large supermarkets are designed like mazes where there are no parallel aisles and you end up seeing more items that you think you need? T-sections and aisle locations are another subtle store design that is employed to ensure you always bump into some featured products as you walk around in the hopes that you add more items to your trolley.
3. Shield your eyes from eye-level shelves
Stores take advantage of the fact that you tend to pay more attention to what’s in front of you by putting the more expensive brands at eye-level. Those bright lights really illuminate how nice the items look at your eye-level, but if you squat down you’ll find that the same pasta on the top shelf is available in a cheaper brand or a bigger size at the bottom. The higher shelves are organised in a way that you feel like everything you want and need are available at arm’s length, but make the effort to crouch and move things around and you’ll find better deals and prices lingering in the harder-to-reach shelves.
4. Checkout counter cravings
Supermarkets won’t let you go even when you’re at the checkout counter! After a dizzying round about the maze of aisles and flashy products, your attention is now being drawn to the latest celebrity scandal magazine or irresistible snacks while your items get scanned.
Worst of all for parents, now it’s your child’s eye-level that is being leveraged with all the candy and toys set on the lower shelves. Maybe you don’t mind occasionally indulging yourself and your child to some snacks at the checkout counter, but would you mind knowing that the exact same items are a lot cheaper if you picked them up from inside the grocery aisles? A study done by the New York Times on one type of energy bar found that some supermarkets are charging more for the same brand but for different flavors at the checkout counter than on the cereal aisle inside the supermarket.
Good news for shoppers though: you can bypass all those sneaky supermarket tactics by shopping online for groceries
. The front page of any shopping site will still try to get you with featured products or special offers, but you have more control over what you see online, what pages you visit, and access to product information at your fingertips. The best part is that you can track your savings and spending online and your shopping can be done in much better time from your sofa than popping out for an hour to the store.