My local grocery store has recently undergone a huge remodel. Shopping has become more stressful–and more decadent–as we are confronted with the largest array ever of any kind of edible product imaginable. We are blessed and over blessed to have a worldwide market of products at our fingertips. But that’s a different topic entirely–telling you how I really feel about an overwhelming amount of lettuce types or ten different kinds of milk or adapting to the sights and sounds of musical entertainment while I rush in to grab food. There’s a new way to shop, and I’m processing it. Let’s just say I never thought I’d live to see the day when buying an essential, food, was so based on impulse buys like anywhere else you shop.
Turns out, the placement of food products is based on (marketing) science. You can read all about it here. It’s no accident that the most popular products are on the second and third shells from the top, or that big companies pay for endcap placement just like publishers do in bookstores.
I was kind of shocked that I’d never thought about this particular product placement before the remodel: books. You know what I mean, the display of grab-n-go paperbacks that usually figure prominently somewhere on your way out. I can’t tell you when I last bought a paperback at the grocery store–maybe if I just had to have one right now, or if a book was (rarely) on sale, but I used to look–every trip. A quick glance to see what books were featured, what was bestselling, what genres of romance were prominent…it was a treat for me. A fun moment. A reward for hunting and gathering my food.
I realized something about how it was before: I’d tackle the grocery list then the store used to literally dump the shopper out into a prominent aisle that contained books. They were literally in front of your face and it was easy to wheel your cart a little to the right to browse them.
During the remodeling, I followed the books as they moved around into various out-of-the-way places. The worst was next to the beer near the front of the store. Not that books and spirits don’t go together, but this location was accessible either at the very beginning of the store flow (no time to browse when you’re all about business) or after checkout (too late).
So now the books are at the end of an aisle (convenient) but before dairy. Not in the prominent I-just-ran-right-into-the books-on-my-way-to-the-registers location that I loved. But not as bad as being stuck in the middle of the store next to the greeting cards. I have to readjust my thinking and steer up an aisle before my shopping’s done.
Maybe that’s a sign of getting older, not understanding change, but I’m adapting.
And hey, a book’s a book. Not much I wouldn’t do for one of those.