Supermarket Tricks are a subtle buying tool, and all about getting you to spend your hard earned dollars in their stores.
Our guest writer, Alex is going to give us the low down on how to try and dodge them!
I recently ducked into the supermarket to buy a litre of milk. $57 later, I returned with a bag of bacon and cheese rolls, three pumpkins, a punnet of heirloom tomatoes, some of that squirty chive stuff, two boxes of a new brand of muesli bars, a box of chamomile and spearmint teabags, a plastic aeroplane spoon, and six pair of undies. Sadly, when I returned home, I realised I’d forgotten to buy the milk.
You see, I’d been hoodwinked; I’d succumbed to the sorcery. I’d walked into the Magicians’ Lair, and totally fallen prey to Supermarket Tricks.
1. The “Wholesome and Fresh” Illusion
Walking into the supermarket is uplifting. I always feel “healthy” as I’m greeted with an array of colourful fresh produce, sumptuous, freshly baked products and mouth-watering delicatessen small goods. It’s a wonderful way to start the shopping experience, however, it’s also a fabulous trick to fill a consumer’s trolley with expensive goods they don’t necessarily need, and distract them from going straight to the products they want to buy.
A good way to avoid this ploy is to start shopping at the furthest aisle, which in most supermarkets is the frozen food section. That way, you can start filling your trolley, then, by the time you get to the fresh stuff, you’ve got a good idea of what you need, and how much you can afford.
2. The “Sawing Your Dollar in Half” Trick
Now I always fall for this one. “Buy one, get one free“. So exciting, and I was thrilled when I saw this sign above the said muesli bars. It didn’t dawn on me that while it was certainly a bargain, I didn’t actually need that many muesli bars.
3. The “Floating Must Have”
Now look, the aeroplane spoon is really very cool. And, my kids love eating their spag bol off it. That said, I didn’t really need it. I was lured into buying it, when I was reaching for a jar of baby custard and the aeroplane spoons just “happened” to be hanging right in front of me.
These hanging displays are a great tool for supermarkets to attract consumers, and it was no coincidence they were hanging in the baby food section.
Which leads me to the next trick…
4. The “Great Romance” Illusion
This is actually as salacious as it sounds. So you know, teabags are in a relationship with the bags of sugar. Bread has long been having it off with crunchy peanut butter, and I don’t even want to discuss what the batteries have been doing all those years on the shelf next to the torches.
A lot of thought goes into how our supermarket shelves are designed, and companion product placement. The trick is, supermarkets want us to buy the products we need, and then the products we think we’ll need to accompany them.
And drum-roll please”¦Here comes the most fabulous of all supermarket tricks, and the one we all fall for time and time again.
5. The Fantastic “Necessities Separation” Illusion
This trick is effective and it’s a good one.
Why is it that milk is never near the bread or eggs? By the time I’ve traipsed from one end of the supermarket to the other, I often wonder if they’re even in the same postcode.
This is because supermarkets really don’t want us to walk in, find all our essential items and queue up to pay for them.
If that was the case, I’d never have purchased my six pairs of undies. (By the way, they were “Buy two, get one free”. And they’re fine, if you like purple hearts).
Supermarket magicians want us to go hunting for the products. They want you to do what I did. “Gosh, I can’t find the milk but these undies are cheap. I think I’ll buy six pairs!”
So, an update on my expensive shop. The cheese and bacon rolls went down a treat, the pumpkins rotted, nobody noticed the tomatoes on their sandwiches were heirloom, the squirty chive stuff is in the fridge waiting to be used, the children hated the taste of the new brand of muesli bars, even the pantry weevils found them bland. I haven’t touched the tea, the aeroplane spoon was a hit and my undies are fine, (if you like purple hearts). I guess you could say it was a very expensive bottle of milk!
In future, safeguard your sanity and purse strings by sticking to your list, and never go shopping hungry.