“Clean up on Aisle 5”

It’s a little-known fact that the grocery store industry is run by an underground ring of satanic processed food worshippers.  Over the years, I’ve often fantasized about spearheading a nationwide boycott.  Seriously. It’s up there with the very detailed plan I have for how to spend my lottery winnings.  

But since grocery stores have a monopoly on Cool Ranch Doritos, I’ve kept my mouth shut.  Well, not today.  Today, I’ve got a bone to pick with good old Chuck.  Chuck is the general manager of my local grocery store.  We’ll call him ‘Chuck’ because that’s his name.  Actually, his name is ‘Charles,’ but it’s hard to get your Clint Eastwood on when you’re in a stand off with a guy named Charles.   

So, Chuck recently got word from the home office that impulse-purchase-based profits are in the toilet, which clearly means that local shoppers are not nearly disoriented enough to take advantage of the “buy two get one free” special on powdered milk.  Time to reorganize. 

Based on the way this order was executed, I can only assume that Chuck is either: 

A) Completely asleep at the wheel, or 

B) A corporate top performer and out-of-the-box thinker who is conspiring with his 9 year old son to make sure there are plenty of hysterical, hyperventilating housewives to cart out of aisles and into the back room where they keep all those people for whom the experience is just “too much.”  

Having seen Chuck’s picture at the front of the store, it really could go either way.  But I’m gonna go with ‘B’ here.  Because only a 9 year old with an early bedtime would elect to commence removing and relocating all the items on 50% of store shelves at 8 AM in a retail location that’s open 24 hours.  I’m sure his mom didn’t want him up late on a school night.  An evil genius needs his rest, after all. 

But all’s well that end’s well, because I gotta tell you, the result is a masterpiece.  If you don’t leave this store with 10 packs of tropical-flavored gum, 60 rolls of toilet paper and the shakes, you’ve got a bright future ahead of you in the grocery business, my friend.  Try not to squander your talent on something silly, like science.  Or technology. 

Witness the work of an artist…Go ahead, I’ll wait. 

Layout of Ingles grocery in West Jefferson, NC

Super intuitive store layout

Impressive, eh? Not only are the saucy noodles I needed yesterday NOT in the dry pasta aisle, but tortillas are shacked up with Hogs N’ Heaven pork rinds on a random kiosk strategically positioned in front of the ground turkey.  Am I alone in thinking that dry noodles — be they pouched or boxed — are dry noodles and should all be located on the aisle that is clearly marked DRY PASTA?  Or that tortillas belong with International Foods and pork rinds with Snacks?  Unless of course you’re making your world famous pork rind roll-ups for the kids’ lunch.  In which case, it makes perfect sense.  

Why put juice with cereal?  Maybe we’re considering it part of breakfast.  But think of your target market!  Put juice where it belongs, Satan — near the TONIC WATER.  Because I swear to the Sweet Virgin Mary if you do, I will hop on the powdered milk special train just because you made it easier for me to get the mixers for the stiff drink I’m going to need when I leave this place. 

The examples go on and on.  I know there’s a method to the madness, and it has nothing to do with making the store an easy, convenient and pleasant place to shop.  Innovative artists like Chuck are rarely understood and appreciated in their lifetimes.  Still, I have to believe that somewhere Chuck and his son are carefully crafting the speech for their “Psycho Store Organizers of the Year” award.  

Nice job, Chuck.  Keep reaching for the stars and separating the good guac from the processed, avocado-colored dip masquerading as the real thing.  I, for one, do not begrudge you success.  Just send the guys to peel me up off the floor in Aisle 5. 

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8 Responses

  1. Amen. If you ever get Chuckie to fix that mess, can you send him here? I think I found his bride at Smiths.

    • I’m on it, Lisa. Any excuse to send the man packing…

  2. Oh heavens…I’m laughing so hard my mascara’s running, and I have to LEAVE FOR WORK IN 6 MINUTES.

    And I had a friend who in desperation would often pour juice (or 7-Up) on cereal for the kids if they ran out of milk, so it seems Chuck was thinking of her.

    Not that I condone that sort of thing…

    • Lori — I’m thrilled to have returned the favor. Hope you get that mascara mopped up before you leave 🙂 I can totally relate to your friend, although I doubt I have ever been so creative before 2-3 cups of coffee. Maybe Chuck’s wife told him, “Juice goes with cereal. Seriously. You know, just in case…”

  3. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been infuriated with grocery store organization. Why is pancake mix in the baking aisle and syrup in the breakfast aisle? Why are the seasoning packets on the vegetable aisle and not with the spices? Why? WHY?

    I don’t need a strategically designed grocery store to continue being a fat-ass. I’m going to buy those brownies and cheesy puffs whether you lead me on a wild goose chase for tortillas or not. So why not make my life a little easier? I just don’t get it.

    • Satanic processed-food worshippers supported by evil marketing geniuses. There’s no other explanation.

  4. This is HILARIOUS. All of your posts have me sitting here giggling to myself. Nice diagram, by the way!

    • Girl, you know what grocery store I’m referring to, right? It was a big old mess up here for at least a week! So good to see you guys this weekend. Hope you finished up all the necessary work items on the house! Keep in touch and let us know about the new digs…the kids are already angling for a pool party…

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