Asking why

Supermarket designers have engineered supermarkets with thought and precision.

– The milk is always at the back. If it was in the front, most folks would just take the carton and walk out. This way, they feast their eyes on other potential purchases.

– Fruits and vegetables are located as soon as you enter (typically on the right). Once we see the healthy stuff, we are tempted to buy a bit of it to make ourselves feel good.

– Once we’re done buying a few of the healthy stuff, we find our will power tested as we ignore one interesting item after another to buy what’s on our list. We think we’ve won the battle but right before the cashier, we see chocolates and condiments designed for a last minute impulse purchase (“I’ve been so good buying fruits and vegetables and avoiding all the other stuff. A bit of this can’t hurt, can it?”)

– And, finally, the super market is designed for shoppers who are low on will power. Hungry and sleep deprived folk are the owner’s dream.

The interesting thing here is that once you know why the supermarket is designed this way, you are unlikely to fall for these tricks. In fact, you are likely to “see” things differently the next time you enter and notice many more such tricks. Suddenly, shopping becomes a fascinating learning experience.

The good news is that it works this way for most things in the life. Once we start asking “why”, life is never quite the same again..