Have you ever wondered why you always accidentally end up with double, or sometimes triple, the amount of food in your grocery cart than what was written on your list? Have you ever looked down at the register and realized you didn't end up only buying milk as you, and your budget, intended? You're not the only one, and there's a method to explain the over-shopping madness; supermarket secrets geared towards making you stay longer and spend more.
For example, everyone has made that last-minute candy bar decision while waiting in line for the register. Hey, there's no shame, everyone needs a good sugar kick once in a while. However, the Snickers (or six) that you threw into your cart probably wasn't really your decision at all. The supermarkets' secret is, they actually put a lot of time and resources into ensuring that you will make decisions such as these. Why? Ca$hMany of these deceiving details were brought to my attention by an article by Marion Nestle. Here's the breakdown of some major ways you can make sure you are spending your money your way and combat the temptations when you only want a few things from the store.
1. Don't Listen to the Music
Supermarkets are set up in a very specific layout to encourage costumers to stay longer so that they spend more. The store purposely plays slow music because it has been proven that it will slow down your feet and make you spend more time wandering through the aisles. The idea is that you stay long enough for your will power to wear out. Don't let the power of the beat get to you.
2. Skip the Grocery Cart
Everything is getting bigger in America, so we might not even notice the large-sized everything anymore. One thing that you might not think about: the size of grocery carts. They've grown, and the shopper has a tendency to want to fill it up.
#SpoonTip: Shop with a handheld basket or your hands. That way you can only buy as much as you can carry and, trust me, your wallet will thank you.
3. Don't Let Stores Use Your Favorite Foods Against You
Nestle's article points out that if you belong to one of the "shoppers' clubs," your purchases are tracked, put into a computer, and ultimately tells stores where to place items so you'll see them and buy them. They basically figure out the foods that you can't resist, and then put them in a place you won't miss them.
So don't worry, you aren't losing your mind when it always seems like your favorite foods have the biggest display smack-dab in the middle of the store. Talk about Big Brother conspiracies, man.
4. Just Because It's Pretty Doesn't Mean You Should Buy It
It's also no accident that the most aesthetically pleasing, fresh, and best smelling foods are placed right at the entrance of the store. Not only do they fill your nostrils with bakery goodness and lead you mindlessly in their direction, but they probably will make your stomach begin to growl too—everyone knows the danger of shopping when you're hungry.
5. Head Straight to the Back of the Store
As a college student, most weekly shopping trips are just to pick up milk, bread, or much-needed Keurig K-cup refills—but even with the best intentions and the strongest will power, most of us won't leave the store with just these items.
This is because supermarkets put the basic necessity products in the farthest possible place so that customers are forced to walk through the aisles to reach them. They makes it so that shoppers have to search for what they need which is what usually leads to impulse buys.
6. Read Right to Left
Okay, get ready to be really creeped out, I know I was. Stores place name brand and high-selling products on the left of the shelves and to their right, they place knock-off brands which are, more importantly, cheaper. Why? Because you read from left to right and you will see the more expensive and name brand items first. They have actually thought of everything.
So make sure to remember these supermarket secrets and keep your eyes peeled straight ahead when walking through the aisles. Remember, read nothing from left to right and don't let your pace be swayed by the slow music—in fact, bring headphones and listen to some T-swizzle or Queen B to keep your feet moving. And when in doubt, just stick to your list.