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A (Not-So-)Random Walk Around the Aisles


MarketStEl
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THANK YOU, MizDucky, for the best visual of the day -- you, in that hat, buzzing around in your cart and playing chicken with the kiddie-carts, singing, "Don't take me alive."   :laugh:  :laugh:

Love it, LOVE it!!!! Best imagery since Dave the Cook left the moonprint in the sand.

And the hat is an absolute---please say you sleep in it, as well. :wub:

Thank you, thank you. But I must confess that, while I do have a small colletion of vintage hats, the hat in my avatar is totally a creation of Photoshop. As for sleeping in a hat--might make a bit of a tangle with the CPAP mask, I'm afraid. :laugh:

Valiantly trying to return to the topic at hand ...

Another confession: some of those alternative layouts of upscale gourmet groceries used to confuse the heck out of me until I got the hang of them. Especially the Larry's Market on Lower Queen Anne in Seatte, for those who know it--that whole rabbit-warren of service islands down front, with various types of deli/prepared foods/charcuterie/bakery/etc., would send me into total sensory overload. It seemed to take me forever, my first visit, to figure out where you were supposed to stand in line for what. Seems a shame for me to be complaining over the fact that, for a change, a store had *tons* of cool stuff right up front, but as a newcomer I was in desperate need of better signage, or something. I still wonder whether their design just got the better of them or they were deliberately going for that food-disorientation effect, thinking it would impress the customer rather than sending them running to the safe boring simplicity of the nearest Safeway. :rolleyes:

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Heh. Sometimes the "science" with which they program the shopping Muzak backfires in ways I don't think they realize. For instance--as a huge Steely Dan fan, I always crack up when I hear a Steely song come over the supermarket PA. Yeah, the melody and orchestration are really smooth, so the management probably thinks it's innocuous pop--but if they ever actually listened to the lyrics, they'd realize the goings-on being sung about are probably not what they'd prefer heard in their store. :laugh:

How true. :laugh:

Its almost as bad as that cruise line commericial that uses Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" of the Pepsi commerical that uses the Stones' "Brown Sugar," which were two of the winners in Slate's "worst ad songs ever" contest.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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the hat in my avatar is totally a creation of Photoshop. As for sleeping in a hat--might make a bit of a tangle with the CPAP mask, I'm afraid. :laugh:

Aw, nuts. I have shoes that match that hat!

Back to the topic ... As I was reading this thread, I realized something: I tend to buy certain items at the same store because I know where they are. I have a heck of a time finding peanut butter at new stores, for example. And apple butter, and Polaner all-fruit.

That is, of course, when I'm not harvesting, roasting and grinding my own peanut butter; roasting and pureeing my own apples, and digging into my supply of fresh wild strawberry preserves that I put up at the end of every season. :wink: Really.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Valiantly trying to return to the topic at hand ...

Thwarting you:

One of these days I should surreptitiously slip my copy of the "Art Deco" series anthology "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" into the Muzak® stream at my local Super Fresh. (Backgrounder: The "Art Deco" series of reissues, produced by CBS/Sony Records, digs into the Columbia Records vaults for vintage songs from the 1920s and 1930s. "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" is a collection of male singers and groups performing love songs of the era, where the love object is male, as written. Seems the record companies worried that altering the lyrics would constitute copyright infringement.)

Now back to Aisle (?) 1:

Another confession: some of those alternative layouts of upscale gourmet groceries used to confuse the heck out of me until I got the hang of them. Especially the Larry's Market on Lower Queen Anne in Seatte, for those who know it--that whole rabbit-warren of service islands down front, with various types of deli/prepared foods/charcuterie/bakery/etc., would send me into total sensory overload. It seemed to take me forever, my first visit, to figure out where you were supposed to stand in line for what. Seems a shame for me to be complaining over the fact that, for a change, a store had *tons* of cool stuff right up front, but as a newcomer I was in desperate need of better signage, or something. I still wonder whether their design just got the better of them or they were deliberately going for that food-disorientation effect, thinking it would impress the customer rather than sending them running to the safe boring simplicity of the nearest Safeway. :rolleyes:

I think the upscale food emporia do that because, as they know they're not competing on price, they may as well throw their main selling point--quality and service--right at you up front. I hadn't noticed that before, but that Whole Foods Market whose layout I described upthread does the same thing at one remove: of course, WFM being a full-line supermarket, the produce section comes first (it's the place where the store can wow you with the riot of colors and fresh appearance of the veggies and fruits). Then they throw the service counters and buffet at you. Only once you're past that do they let you into the aisles.

Since others have mentioned it, it is interesting to try to figure out the logic behind what products a given store chooses to group together. The Acme where I shop puts the packaged dinner kits (Hamburger Helper et al. in the same aisle with the condiments, while the Super Fresh puts them in the aisle with the pasta (which makes more sense to me). Are oils condiments, as they are at Super Fresh, or baking supplies, as they are at Acme?

Of course, product mix also plays a factor in determining layout: the Acme, located as it is in the heart of South Philly, stocks fewer organic/all-natural products than does the Super Fresh, located at the edge of Center City and directly across the street from a Whole Foods. It's in Super Fresh's interest to group all the crunchy-granola stuff in its own aisle, adjacent to a freezer shelf where similar frozen products can go, in order to get shoppers interested in those sorts of items to buy them there along with all the "regular" groceries instead of split their shopping trip in two. Meanwhile, at the Acme, buying "all natural" may mean picking up the Ry-Krisp or Stoned Wheat Thins off the shelf in the cracker aisle just down from the saltines and Ritz, or grabbing a pack of whole-grain pasta from the pasta aisle. And that product mix is also driven by the customer mix (real or desired): there aren't as many affluent, super-health-conscious people living in the vicinity of 10th and Reed as there are around 10th and South.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I have alternate shopping personas-

When I am at my local Safeway, I enter from the left hand side (it's the side closer to my apartment, and I walk) and beeline pretty much straight to the things I buy at Safeway- past the produce to the canned tomatoes (i see no increase in quality with fancy types), to the big bulk bags of rice, to the frozen vegetables that I use in quick dinners, and so on.

When I am at my co-op, it's totally different. The Madison Market on Capitol Hill in Seattle is one of the most sublime co-ops ever. It's not too big, but they carry a ton of stuff and have beautiful produce and seafood and meat (if you are into that stuff). I spend way too much time there, wandering around, inspecting labels. Shopping there is way fun compared to Safeway.

I shop at both of them each week.

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:laugh: You're welcome! But don't forget my frequent stops to swear under my breath at either over-solicitous or vanished store clerks; or at "unit pricing" that's in five different units for the same class of item; or at produce that looks like someone took the word "squash" a little too literally. :laugh:

I HATE that so-called-unit-pricing! I'm pretty good at mental math but our backwards measurement system makes it a total PITA.

To go back to the origin of the thread, my old store was a two-door model that I always entered on the right near the produce. My new store is a two door model with the produce on the left. I don't like it. It also seems so big, and not in a good way. That may be more a function of my personal physical circumstances than the store, but I'm sticking to my story. I hate forgetting something because it takes forever to backtrack, especially to the produce section. Milk is still in the back corner, but I think it is also near the checkouts. I like having bananas near the cereal, which seems pretty common here.

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