9 Supermarket Strategies Designed to Make You Spend More (online only)
By Andrea Woroch
Supermarkets lure us in with coupons and sales, but once
we\'re inside...POW!...they hit us with the old one-two for a checkout aisle KO.
Ultimately, it pays to keep your mental dukes up when you\'re in the ring, but
first you have to know the rules.
Here are nine tricks supermarkets like to spring on
consumers to encourage overspending, along with ways you can overcome them.
1. Something smells really good.
The bombardment starts as soon as the front door swings open. Those
mouth-watering smells emanate from the nearby bakery or deli, enticing you to
buy the more expensive prepared foods. A grocer in New York City even pipes artificial smells into it\'s
facility to induce shoppers to buy more.
The rule, as you\'ve often heard, is to never shop on an
2. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Ever notice how the things you need most frequently are the furthest away from
the door? That\'s intentional; supermarkets guide you through aisles of the most
attractive foods, hoping you\'ll give in to impulse buys.
If you only need one item, it\'s actually cheaper in the
long run to shop at a small market where you\'ll be less tempted to buy unneeded
3. End caps aren\'t your friend.
End caps are the shelving units at the end of each aisle, where supermarkets
place \"sale\" items that aren\'t always that cheap. They\'re counting on
our preference to avoid heading down an aisle, so we\'ll just grab an end-cap
item that seems reasonably priced.
Don\'t give in; wait until you can comparison shop midst
the appropriate aisle. Better yet, find grocery
coupons on your smartphone from sites like CouponSherpa.com, and see
if the product on your list is available at a discount.
4. Bend and stretch your way to better prices.
Manufacturers pay big bucks for prime real estate, usually at adult eye level
or, in the case of products marketed specifically to children, on the lower
shelves. These corporations shell out extra cash because they know we\'re more
likely to buy something we can see easily.
Before you grab the first item you see, take a moment to
scan the entire shelf and make sure you\'re truly getting a good deal.
5. Losing with loss leaders.
There\'s a reason supermarkets advertise such cheap prices on milk, bread and
other basics. These under-priced items are known as loss leaders because the
supermarket is willing to take a loss to bait you into the store, where they\'ll
make up the difference with more purchases.
There\'s no reason you shouldn\'t take advantage of loss
leaders; just don\'t let it rule which store you shop and what you buy.
6. BOGO can be a no-go.
Deals that offer \"seven for $5.50\" are designed to confuse shoppers
who aren\'t quick with the mental calculator. The same trick applies to the now
popular 10 for $10 game making the supermarket rounds.
Bulk buying can be cost effective, but there are a number of
variables to consider. You can fool grocery stores at their own game by
checking the unit price for competing products and selecting the one that truly
offers the best deal.
7. Expensive eye candy.
Product packaging is usually mind-bogglingly bright, featuring plenty of
yellows and reds because these colors attract our eyes. Between this visual
whirl and the bright store lights, grocery shopping can lead to migraines.
Buying generic brands is one of many ways to combat escalating food prices. Before grabbing the first item
that attracts your eyes, look for less-gaudy house brands and compare unit
8. Super sized can equal undervalue.
Bigger isn\'t always better, particularly when a manufacturer increases package
size while hitting the contents with a shrink ray. This practice has become
particularly popular in recent years since you\'re not really expected to check
whether a box or can is full.
Give it a shake or visually compare product contents.
9. The checkout stand is a supermarket\'s last chance.
The checkout aisle is akin to its own mini mart, featuring all kinds of impulse
buys. Supermarkets know we\'re a captive audience, so they squeeze in everything
and anything that might grab your attention and add to the final bill.
Distract yourself by reviewing your grocery list, a
tangible reminder that everything you need is already in your cart.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally recognized consumer and
money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc.