Supermarket layouts.

About a week ago, I stumbled across Dan Hill’s terrific cityofsound. As I went through some of his recent posts, I found this one relating to supermarket layouts.

The map of Sainbury’s closely resembles the local Whole Foods with short aisles that easily allow you to jump from one to the other without having to go down the entire aisle in the usual serpentine pattern.

During our last trip, I paid attention as we navigated through the store. A typical trip almost always involves going back for something we’ve forgotten. And usually we come home with a few extra items that weren’t on the list. I’ve always been an impulse buyer to begin with, however, I think grocers lend themselves towards impulse buys. For example, you’ll find that X is on sale and decide that you’ll make a dish with X that week. But suddenly you realize that you need Y for that recipe. Suddenly you’ve got 3 or 4 extra items in your cart.

When making our shopping list, we usually think about what meals we’d like to cook that week. Then we add the items that we need for those meals to our list. Almost always, our list is organized in such a way that if we followed it from top to bottom, we’d traverse the store several times over.

At the very least you’d think they could place all canned goods in one aisle. Less common canned goods like bamboo shoots are almost never in the same place as the peas and the corn. And how about putting the salad dressings near the produce. I guess we’re all just slaves to the supermarket.