Going to the grocery store is such a commonplace task, we do it on autopilot. Walk in, fill up cart, leave. But the moment you step inside, the manipulation starts. Your grocery store is designed and organized to get the most money out of your wallet and into its cash registers.
1. Be wary of deals
Who doesn’t like deals? Grocery stores really, really like them — because shoppers tend to buy, buy, buy. A deal is not a deal for you if it’s a 3-for-$4 special and you only need one. Buying in bulk is only useful if it’s something you absolutely know you’ll use and need. Otherwise, it’s just another item gathering dust in the cupboard.
2. Sell-by versus use-by
It pays to know the difference between sell-by dates and use-by dates. In a nutshell, pay attention to sell-by dates; use-by dates are a recommendation. Take a look at the USDA site for a detailed rundown of the different food sell terms.
3. Start at the back
Ever wondered why all the staples, like the milk, are never at the front of the store where they’re easy to see and grab? Because stores want you to go through as much as the store as possible, and they do that by putting the basics at the back and far away from each other. They know that as you make your way through the aisles, there’s a bigger possibility that you’ll throw in a whole bunch of nonstaples as well, and that’s how they make their money.
4. Easy access
The expensive items are kept at eye level where they’ll catch your attention and are easy to lift into your shopping cart. The basic, cheaper items will be down on the lower shelves, which are easy to overlook, and put off shoppers who don’t want to stoop to find what they want.
5. The kid grab
Grocery stores want to grab your kids, and they do this by putting all the colorfully packaged, sugary treats at kid-height where kids can grab them without their parent’s help. The next thing you know you’re pushing around a cart full of candy and cereal and battling a screaming child about putting them back.