You go to the store often and you pick out your food but there are a lot of factors you might not have thought of. I never thought of many things until I actually worked in the grocery industry. Ever wonder how to go about intelligent shopping? Well I can tell you how, since I actually work in one of the many grocery stores around the country that millions of Americans depend upon for their basic need. Let me let you in on a few secrets.
Secret 1: How to get the freshest produce. If you want fresh produce you need to look where you grab. Grocery stores prefer to rotate their produce in such a way that the oldest stuff is grabbed first and the newest stuff last. For instance, when it comes to things we have up on shelves we tend to put the newest stuff in the back and the oldest stuff up front. If you find a salad rack the first one you grab will most likely be the oldest. You can pull the racks out and grab the newer from the back. If things are hanging the newest is in back. When it comes to things in displays we tend to put the newer stuff closer to the floor and the older stuff closer to eye level. We want you to grab the oldest stuff first so we put it where you can just reach out. I know it might be hard to explain but when you go in think of this. The rule I always used was this: wherever I would grab first I put the oldest stuff. Grab for the stuff that is not where you normally would. A good place to start is away from the price signs, because for some reason people tend to grab near where it shows the price. Also if you come in early we will have the racks out, this is when we stock everything up, from the hours of roughly seven until noon, the rest of the time is just to fill it up.
Secret 2: There is often a rack of discontinued items sold dirt cheap. In the store I worked at this discontinued item rack was near the back. Chances are that it is somewhere in the store, if you get to it you will find that it is marked down by huge amounts. There you can find some great substitutes for items on the shelf. One of the best things available are the discontinued alcoholic beverages which can be a real bargain.
Secret 3: Brand names do not matter: If you look at the packages in the back you will understand that brand names are all packaging. The company that packages the food is the one that gets their name on it. Generics and brand names often come from the same place. Often the same farms provide tomatoes sold under two different brand names for two different prices, for instance. In the end the brand name absolutely positively does not matter. If you ignore brand names and go with something different you can get a good deal.
Secret 4: Stores depend most on their most loyal customers. I am not sure what the percentage is, but in business there is a vital minority of customers that provide most of the business. If you make it known to stores that you are in this vital minority they will treat you well. For instance some customers complain. When vital customers complain they actually get listened to.
Secret 5: What they want you to buy is what you see first. Whatever it is that stores want you to go for they put right in front of your eyes. In other words, the best bargains are the things you see least, the things above and below eye level and not what they put out in the front. Also, things that kids will bug you to buy are put at their level, but you should have known that from the news.
Secret 6: Organic vegetables are a fraud. This is something I learned outside of the store, but in truth there is some difference in organic meats but organic vegetables have a relatively loose definition. It isn’t really any better for you to buy organic vegetables than non-organic vegetables. They are just more expensive.
The bottom line is that a lot of the grocery industry is playing with the psychology of your customers. A lot of it all boils down to how things in the store are organized. Things that stores will do a huge profit on are encourages whereas a lot of the discounts lie toward the back and off to the side. They are a profit making company and so essentially the job is to convince you that one thing is a bargain while there is a better one in there. Every time you go into the store keep one rule in mind: “don’t buy what they put in front of you, buy off to the side.” If you do this you will get fresher food and in some cases cheaper.