January 6, 2008

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After reading the second chapter in this book I found myself saying YES, YES, YES! I have been saying for many years, that grocery shopping is the biggest waste of time, but it is a necessity that humans have to do. First the item is made and shipped to the grocery store, where a human unpacks and stocks the shelves, and then a customer places the item into their cart, and then on to the register, where the item is sacked into a bag and taken to the customers house where it is unpacked and placed into a pantry. When I look at the concept of how many times items are placed and or handled it’s a waste of time, and I can say I hate grocery shopping. Having such a dislike to grocery shopping I find myself walking into Whole Foods or Wild Oats, or even an upscale store. My thought is if I have to do the grocery shopping, I better shop at a store with a great astrosphere. While these upscale stores or natural grocers know how to target the customers that come through their doors. When walking into Whole Foods many people can get lost in the aisles of what they have to sell. Any shopper has to be smart and go shopping with a plan of what is needed and know that there are many things that lure customers in and it’s those products that the stores get the customers on. Not only do grocery stores target customers but almost all stores feed on impulse buying customers.

Personally I am an organic shopper, and for the most part if I know we need something from the store I will just purchase it without any further thought of how much it costs. Simple little tactics can be a huge help, and the biggest one that stands out to me is price comparing. Remembering the prices of the same product from different stores and being wise about where to purchase an item from. That’s seems so simple but people get wrapped up in life and don’t want to worry about price comparing, and it’s those people that will get sucked into purchasing the higher priced item. I am totally aware of grocery stores putting two sections of all the fruits and vegetables so people don’t see the price differences next to each other. That’s not the only thing that stores do, they “target” customers into buying the more expensive product, which boils down to the packaging of the generic brand versus the more expensive brand. Having traveled many places, packaging is a huge deal in other countries, and it’s amazing to me how countries look at the concept of packaging. This could be a paper in its self but it is a notable idea having just come back from Brazil, and seeing how that country packages its cookies. I purchased cookies for about 2 dollars, these cookies are what we know as oreo’s in the United States, and every single cookie was individually wrapped. The cost of wrapping every cookie individually brings up the overall production costs, knowing I paid about 2 dollars, while the packaging probably cost 1.50.

Tim Harford hit this right on the money when talking about the different strategies stores use in chapter two. This really seems so simple and that everyone knows this, but really I feel this is really important and Tim Harford must also think this is a notable concept because after all it is a chapter in his book.

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