Grocery Store Hell

I know about the psychology of grocery shopping and why they basically follow the casino model – anything to get you to stay longer and pay more. The bakery is in the front because looking at all those cakes and cookies make people hungry, and thus likely to buy more. Product placement on shelves depends on how much a brand has paid for placement, thus making the bottom shelf your cheapest options. The whole place is designed like a maze (I’m looking at you Ikea) designed to force you up and down all the aisles.
What I don’t have is a good conceptual model of how the grocery store is organized so I can find what I need. Amazingly enough because of great signage, it’s fairly easy wayfinding at Walmart of all places. HEB is a nightmare. Where do I find enchilada sauce? Is it in ethnic foods, whatever that means, or is it next to the canned veggies? I went this morning with my Mom to pick up some fresh salsa. We were in the prepared foods section, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Was it next to veggies? I see premade guacamole, but sadly no salsa. We eventually found it next to the mushrooms. Those two foods aren’t related in any way.
HEB now has an app. You don’t have to register, but if you do, they require your DOB. Undoubtedly so they can send me coupons for Metamucil. The app is incredibly buggy and dies frequently. The closest thing I get to a map is to create a shopping list and selecting specific brands.
The aisle number is helpful, but telling me that bananas are in produce is not. I know a banana is produce. What I really want to be able to do is have an app that I can make a list in, and then see everything I need plotted on a store map, so I can get in and out as fast as possible. But that’s never going to happen because grocery stores aren’t designed around the needs of their users, they are designed around the needs of the business. But, much like casinos, it’s all about manipulating your senses.

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