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Grocery Shopping Takes Longer

We interrupt this series of columns on serious subjects that matter to take on a subject that really matters.

Well, sort of.

What is that subject, you ask?

Stores that you frequently visit and which–out of the blue–move much of their merchandise to different parts of the store.

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You know the feeling.

You know the location of everything you usually buy. However much you enjoy shopping, you can–if you wish–get through, and out of, the store quickly.

It could be any kind of store. Just to pick one example, if the store is a grocery store, you know where the produce is.

You know where the bread is.

You know where the meat is.

You know where the dairy products and juices are.

You know which aisles you need to traverse.

And just as importantly, you know which aisles you don’t need to traverse.

If you don’t have a four-legged family member, you can stay out of the aisle with the dog and cat food.

If you don’t drink pop, you can stay out of the pop aisle.

If you don’t–or shouldn’t–eat cookies and candy, you can stay out of that aisle too.

Maybe you even make a grocery list with items largely in the order in which the store has them. Then you don’t have to keep reading your whole list to see whether you have everything.

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Until.

Until, that is, the store moves much of its merchandise to different parts of the store.

Then you have no idea–none–where many items are.

You have to walk up and down every aisle–every single one–to find what you want.

Then you get to the end of the store but haven’t found everything on your list.

Do you know where the missing items are? No. If you did, you probably wouldn’t have missed them.

So you either have to find someone to help you, which with minimum-wage increases is getting harder and harder to do. Or you have to start all over again and walk up and down every aisle to find what you’re missing.

Along the way, you meet fellow shoppers who are also shaking their heads in some combination of laughter or frustration that it suddenly takes much longer to buy groceries than it used to.

Much longer.

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With all of this in mind, let’s go to Mrs. Elf’s (this columnist’s wife’s) favorite grocery store to buy ingredients for two of Mrs. Elf’s (this columnist’s mother’s) favorite dishes.

Except that–just for fun–we’ll go to where the ingredients used to be and see what’s there now.

To make chicken and noodles, we’d get chicken, mushrooms, peas, and butter. So far, so good. And we’d also get light bulbs, canned dog food, popcorn, and rice.

Then, to make chili, we’d get ground beef, celery, and an onion. So far, so good. And we’d also get bottled water, cat food, and rice.

Maybe we’d need the bottled water to wash down the light bulbs, not to mention the canned dog food, popcorn, rice, and cat food.

Doesn’t that sound just delicious?

Let’s skip the dog and cat good, and especially the light bulbs, thank you.

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It wouldn’t be surprising if some marketing plan were behind moving merchandise to different parts of the store.

Get shoppers to spend more time in the store and they’ll buy either items that are new to them or items they haven’t bought in a while.

Such as the cookies and candy they shouldn’t be eating.

Yet with recent inflation–including in grocery stores–how many extras are you buying lately?

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A particular store that has moved merchandise now has Buffalo Bills’ merchandise where over-the-counter medications related to the digestive system used to be.

Never mind the edition of this column two weeks ago. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

Randy Elf still doesn’t know where everything in a particular store is, and, no, he doesn’t buy more than he used to.

(c) 2023 BY RANDY ELF

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