Everything about a — supermarket — including the sales flier and store layout — is focused on consumer behavior.
I don't make a shopping list, but I can go into a store and just buy the items I think are a good deal.
How can you fight the impulse to buy? Knowing these supermarket tricks will help you become an informed shopper:
A store's floor plan is thought out carefully, so the items you buy every week — milk, butter, ground beef — are at the back of the store. That makes you walk through a good portion of it. The idea is that you will see other things and buy them.
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When you walk into a store, the first things you usually see are flowers, then produce. Flowers are pretty and fresh, they smell wonderful and enhance the store's image. That makes the flowers and produce seem fresh and appetizing.
When you buy produce, reach to the back or top for the freshest, and buy during the week because most deliveries are made Monday through Friday.
Stores use shelf placement to enhance purchases. The most profitable items are at eye level. The best bargains are usually on the top shelf. Private-label brands and oversized bulk items are on the bottom. Always check the top and bottom shelves for items marked closeout, clearance or discontinued.
Manufacturers pay for end-cap (end of the aisle) displays for products. These displays don't always mean a discount. Sometimes they are only new or seasonal items.
Products with appeal to children are at their level. I suggest you leave the kids home if possible when you shop for groceries.
On weekends, stores often have product samplings. Many sampling stations also offer coupons to try to get you to buy the product.
Don't go to the store hungry. Stores often have the smells of bread or cooked chicken in the air to kick-start shoppers' appetites. Pay attention to the sales circular and understand the sale. Many people think the Kroger sale that offers 10 items for $10 means you have to buy 10 of an item. It just means that each item in the sale is $1.
When Kroger advertises buy one, get one free, you don't need to buy two. If you buy one, the item is 50 percent off.
Sometimes a sales flier will state there's a limit of how many of an item you can buy. Stores institute limits so more people can buy the item, or they want you to think it's a good deal. Many people think that because of the quantity limits, they should buy more of an item than they normally would.
Keep an eye on shrinking sizes that cost the same as before. Is that half-gallon of ice cream really a half-gallon?
Know your prices so you know whether the sale price is a good one.
&@149; Near the cash registers, you will find the most profitable items displayed. Don't be lured into this trap.
Department store floor plans have the same purpose: to keep you browsing, perhaps to buy. Many department stores have cosmetic and perfume counters at the main entrance. These items have the highest profit margins. And chances are, if you're looking for women's clothing, you have to travel through other departments to get there. This gives you time to browse. Also, dressing rooms are often tucked away so you'll look at other merchandise on the way. But no store can make you buy anything. Be responsible for your money.
Deals to check out
Through Aug. 21, print a coupon and redeem it for a free dim sum or Street Fare item with any food purchase at P.F. Chang's from 3 to 6 p.m. Here's the offer you'll have to take with you.
Redbox is having a 10 deals for 10 days promotion. More information at redbox.com. Get a free Southern Living cookbook when you buy at least $15 of certain products. Here's the form. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library gives a free book each month to kids 5 and younger. To sign up, just visit the Website and click on "first time visitor." Then, enroll your child and register for the program. http://imaginationlibrary.com/howworks.php. United Way wants to help you understand more about your child's development from his/her first month through 5 years old. Sign up to get your Ages & Stages Questionnaire at www.uwbg.org/ASQ or call 211 to request the program over the phone. Prospective home buyers can attend a REACH home buyer orientation at 733 Red Mile Road at 5 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday to see whether they qualify for assistance with down payments and closing costs.
Celebrate the The Chinese Moon Festival, presented by Kentucky Chinese American Association, from is 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 10 at MoonDance, 152 Monarch Street at Midnight Pass. It's free. www.moondancelex.com
Discovery Night at The Living Arts & Science Center, 362 North Martin Luther King Boulevard, is at 6 p.m. Sept. 1. The cost is $1 for children younger than 12 and $2 for ages 12 and older.
Don’t be swayed by stores’ marketing tricks