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(The Consumerist)   The reason why milk is located in the back of the grocery store? It's not as obvious as you think   (consumerist.com) divider line 190
    More: Interesting, Planet Money, grocery stores, shelf life  
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30888 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Jul 2014 at 4:31 AM (16 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-27 11:26:42 PM  
actually that's pretty much exactly what i thought the reason was.
 
2014-07-27 11:28:19 PM  
Yes... it is that obvious
 
2014-07-27 11:28:34 PM  
And the reason that bread is always on the opposite side of the store from the milk is so the warm bread doesn't heat up the milk, right?
 
2014-07-27 11:34:08 PM  
The author of this article has never heard of "two birds, one stone" before.
 
2014-07-27 11:35:07 PM  
Yeah, right.  And the reason the most expensive grocery items are always at eye level is because that's the only place the packages fit on the shelves.

/The reason is because it is a staple item.  If they put it towards the front they would lose out on impulse sales.
//Ex-grocery worker.
 
2014-07-27 11:46:18 PM  
Are there people who don't know this? For reals?
 
2014-07-27 11:49:55 PM  
So I have to go through the entire store to get to the item I want?

*checks article*

Well, I guess that makes sense too.
 
2014-07-27 11:50:59 PM  
My grocery store used to have the bread and the peanut butter and jelly together, about two aisles away from the milk. They did a big renovation recently, and in the process they just had to move the bread to the far side of the store, and move the peanut butter and jelly away from the bread.
 
2014-07-27 11:53:00 PM  
Every once in a while I'll be reaching in to grab some cream and someone will be back there stocking my shelf and I almost infarct.
 
2014-07-27 11:54:08 PM  

ginandbacon: Every once in a while I'll be reaching in to grab some cream and someone will be back there stocking my shelf and I almost infarct.


Maybe you're lactose intolerant.
 
2014-07-27 11:57:28 PM  

AverageAmericanGuy: ginandbacon: Every once in a while I'll be reaching in to grab some cream and someone will be back there stocking my shelf and I almost infarct.

Maybe you're lactose intolerant.


Ahaha LOL!
 
2014-07-27 11:58:22 PM  

HotWingAgenda: My grocery store used to have the bread and the peanut butter and jelly together, about two aisles away from the milk. They did a big renovation recently, and in the process they just had to move the bread to the far side of the store, and move the peanut butter and jelly away from the bread.


My local Publix has the bread, peanut butter, jelly, etc, on the other side of the aisle from the dairy, so it makes it nice and easy.  They also have frozen pizzas and convenience foods on the opposite side of the same aisle from the beer, which seems like smart product placement.
 
2014-07-28 12:03:08 AM  

TuteTibiImperes: HotWingAgenda: My grocery store used to have the bread and the peanut butter and jelly together, about two aisles away from the milk. They did a big renovation recently, and in the process they just had to move the bread to the far side of the store, and move the peanut butter and jelly away from the bread.

My local Publix has the bread, peanut butter, jelly, etc, on the other side of the aisle from the dairy, so it makes it nice and easy.  They also have frozen pizzas and convenience foods on the opposite side of the same aisle from the beer, which seems like smart product placement.


Yeah. This article is BS. You can tell when a store is set up to fark with you or not. Just because the milk will be located close to the coolers doesn't mean that the cooler is placed in the far corner for a good reason.

At the same time, the article is true. The design of the physical building has as much or more impact on product placement as the social engineering aspects of economy.

The real story is "Things are complicated."
 
2014-07-28 12:22:44 AM  

ginandbacon: Every once in a while I'll be reaching in to grab some cream and someone will be back there stocking my shelf and I almost infarct.


25.media.tumblr.com
 
2014-07-28 12:22:46 AM  
If the nefarious plans of the grocery store to subliminally trick you into grabbing two of every item in the store on your way to get a pint of half-n-half are the worst of your problems, you've got it pretty easy.

Impulse buys are for the weak minded.
 
2014-07-28 01:21:04 AM  
If that's the case how come dairy is way in the back of my local Walmart and frozen foods are up near the front.

In my Kroger dairy is in the back and frozen is nearby. Except for organic vegetarian "dairy" is in the diagonal opposite corner.
 
2014-07-28 01:25:17 AM  

BizarreMan: If that's the case how come dairy is way in the back of my local Walmart and frozen foods are up near the front.

In my Kroger dairy is in the back and frozen is nearby. Except for organic vegetarian "dairy" is in the diagonal opposite corner.


Frozen isn't the same as chilled.  Milk, and other fresh dairy is shipped chilled but not frozen, so it wouldn't take as long for it to warm up and spoil more quickly than something shipped hard frozen like a Stouffer's lasagna or frozen pizza.

The milk is stocked from the back from a chilled room, the frozen stuff is likely unloaded frozen from a truck, put into a big freezer at the grocery store, and then moved into the freezer cases as needed to replenish stocks.  Since it starts out colder it won't hurt it to sit on the stocking cart for half an hour as the clerk moves it around to fill the holes in the display cases.
 
2014-07-28 01:25:28 AM  
Next you're going to tell me that they really rearrange the entire store every few years to make it more convenient for me and not to make me wander every damn aisle looking for things.
 
2014-07-28 01:34:33 AM  
I know, right? The store I go to has the personal lubricant and cucumbers just about as far away as they possibly could be. I mean, who does that?
 
2014-07-28 01:37:43 AM  
Milk starts go go bad once it is about 4 deg C. The stores where the milk isn't the last thing you can pick up before you go out the door end up selling more "bad milk" if you survey their customers.
 
2014-07-28 02:20:46 AM  

SilentStrider: actually that's pretty much exactly what i thought the reason was.

 
2014-07-28 02:42:59 AM  

zamboni: I know, right? The store I go to has the personal lubricant and cucumbers just about as far away as they possibly could be. I mean, who does that?


Obviously trying to get you to pick up some canned soup at the same time.
 
2014-07-28 03:00:23 AM  
Really subby? Interesting!?
Whar "Obvious" tag, where,
 
2014-07-28 04:05:19 AM  
Having not read the entire thread, just the first few comments, it appears that I'm not that only one who found the answer to be completely obvious.  Efficiency.  You find the milk at the back of the store because they load it straight from the cooler into the back of the chilled shelves.  The cooler needs to be in the back of the store to be close to where the food gets delivered.

/okay, sometimes, but rarely, the side
 
2014-07-28 04:16:24 AM  
Yeah, I always figured it was at the back because of delivery access.

Now, department stores, on the other hand?  Those layouts are  evil.
 
2014-07-28 04:37:41 AM  

Radak: Yeah, I always figured it was at the back because of delivery access.

Now, department stores, on the other hand?  Those layouts are  evil.


Well they do department stores like that because of ghosts.
 
2014-07-28 04:40:39 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: So I have to go through the entire store to get to the item I want?

*checks article*

Well, I guess that makes sense too.


Article seems to have a bet each way. Right at the end it says some chains have a selection of milk right up the front.
That fah?
 
2014-07-28 04:41:54 AM  

Doc Batarang: Radak: Yeah, I always figured it was at the back because of delivery access.

Now, department stores, on the other hand?  Those layouts are  evil.

Well they do department stores like that because of ghosts.


Who goes to department stores anymore? So many online options, many without ridiculous taxes. Seriously, Craigslist alone has so so many desperate folk, and you can find just about anything.
 
2014-07-28 04:46:00 AM  
Typical. They talked to experts in running grocery stores. Not experts in the mechanicals that keep the stores running.

THERMODYNAMICS. It's more visible at certain stores, mainly ones with single entrance/exit areas. The chilled cases are on the opposite side of the building from the shopping entrance, and should also be opposite from any bakery or kitchen operations. Yes, there's some consideration for stocking, but it becomes something you design around. Most cool stocking still gets done from the front.
 
2014-07-28 04:48:56 AM  

PainInTheASP: Yeah, right.  And the reason the most expensive grocery items are always at eye level is because that's the only place the packages fit on the shelves.

/The reason is because it is a staple item.  If they put it towards the front they would lose out on impulse sales.
//Ex-grocery worker.


I take it you never worked the grocery delivery docks. Basically it's pulled off the truck, counted and shoved into the storage cooler in a few brief minutes. That's how Gerbes, Kroger and Dillons does it. It may be different at other chains.
 
2014-07-28 04:50:58 AM  
In other news, water is wet.

img.fark.net

Film at 11.
 
2014-07-28 04:54:47 AM  

robohobo: Who goes to department stores anymore? So many online options, many without ridiculous taxes.


Eh, some of us live places where we've got to pay tax either way, and I'm in town often enough for other things that if I need to pick up something from the department store, I'll just walk there and get what I need.  (They also have one of the best grocery stores in town, so that's a bonus.)
 
2014-07-28 04:55:05 AM  
I would expect Consumerist readers to be completely incapable of imagining any circumstance at all in business not to be motivated solely by screwing over customers.  To normal people who have several functioning brain cells the actual reason is obvious.

Also, who goes to a grocery just to pick up one milk and nothing else.  That's what 7-11s are for.
 
2014-07-28 04:55:46 AM  

SilentStrider: actually that's pretty much exactly what i thought the reason was.


Yup... The headline initially made me second guess myself into thinking it had to do with keeping it as short of a trip as possible from truck to milk fridge as possible, but I went back to the more obvious one.
 
2014-07-28 05:01:01 AM  
It is at the front at the far end from the entrance, where you normally end up meandering to just before you hit the tills (frozen food second last, fridge stuff last basically). The back of the store has other refrigerated stuff - cheese and desserts, and the bakery at the far corner. So putting it at the back can't be that important.
 
2014-07-28 05:03:00 AM  
The true reason why milk is far back:

You will walk through the store and see things you might want to BUY.

Milk is a very common item that almost everybody needs, so making a lot of people walk through shelves upon shelves of advertisements will most likely net them some extra sales.
 
2014-07-28 05:07:01 AM  

GreenSun: The true reason why milk is far back:

You will walk through the store and see things you might want to BUY.

Milk is a very common item that almost everybody needs, so making a lot of people walk through shelves upon shelves of advertisements will most likely net them some extra sales.


You know how I know you didn't RTFA or ever work as someone who stocked groceries?

(Heck, I even worked in a store that stocked Bread and Milk in the same isle!)
(What I can't stand is trying to figure where a particular store houses Hershey's Syrup and Marshmallows. Marshmallows don't belong with the candy they belong right next to either graham crackers or hot chocolate!)
 
2014-07-28 05:14:14 AM  

GreenSun: The true reason why milk is far back:

You will walk through the store and see things you might want to BUY.

Milk is a very common item that almost everybody needs, so making a lot of people walk through shelves upon shelves of advertisements will most likely net them some extra sales.


So why aren't all onions in the back of the store.
 
2014-07-28 05:16:07 AM  
At my store they moved the toy isle behind the pharmacy area,  now I can get my ping pong balls and anal lube and I'm back outside to perform my shows!
 
2014-07-28 05:16:48 AM  

doglover: TuteTibiImperes: HotWingAgenda: My grocery store used to have the bread and the peanut butter and jelly together, about two aisles away from the milk. They did a big renovation recently, and in the process they just had to move the bread to the far side of the store, and move the peanut butter and jelly away from the bread.

My local Publix has the bread, peanut butter, jelly, etc, on the other side of the aisle from the dairy, so it makes it nice and easy.  They also have frozen pizzas and convenience foods on the opposite side of the same aisle from the beer, which seems like smart product placement.

Yeah. This article is BS. You can tell when a store is set up to fark with you or not. Just because the milk will be located close to the coolers doesn't mean that the cooler is placed in the far corner for a good reason.

At the same time, the article is true. The design of the physical building has as much or more impact on product placement as the social engineering aspects of economy.

The real story is "Things are complicated."


This.  Real example: our local grocery store has one entrance on the front left of the store.  Back in the day the dairy used to be in the back middle of the store.  Then they redesigned.  First thing to change?  Dairy goes to the back right of the store, as do the eggs and butter, and coincidentally the two junk food and soda aisles get moved to the right side of the store as well.

I get that refrigeration is generally done in the back of the storefront since it's more convenient for loading reasons, but some stores still inconvenience customers on purpose.
 
2014-07-28 05:20:11 AM  
I want to know why peanut butter, jelly, ketchup, and mayonnaise are all in different areas. Mayonnaise is used on sandwiches a lot more than salads. I don't need to find it next to the ranch and thousand Island.
 
2014-07-28 05:22:03 AM  

aerojockey: GreenSun: The true reason why milk is far back:

You will walk through the store and see things you might want to BUY.

Milk is a very common item that almost everybody needs, so making a lot of people walk through shelves upon shelves of advertisements will most likely net them some extra sales.

So why aren't all onions in the back of the store.


Because they're kept with the belts in the fashion accessory aisle.
 
2014-07-28 05:23:21 AM  

xria: It is at the front at the far end from the entrance, where you normally end up meandering to just before you hit the tills (frozen food second last, fridge stuff last basically). The back of the store has other refrigerated stuff - cheese and desserts, and the bakery at the far corner. So putting it at the back can't be that important.


Exactly. What a crock of shiat, can't believe how many chump Farkers have swallowed the BS explanation.

WE HAVE TO PUT IT AT THE BACK JUST NEAR THE DELIVERY COOL ROOM OH NOES SPOILAGE!!!

99% of grocery chains have biatchin' in-store air conditioners pumping. You just about need a jacket to go shopping on a 90 degree day. Is this article SERIOUSLY SUGGESTING a "shelf filler" walking 15 extra meters to the front of an air conditioned store is gonna affect the quality of milk? Hahaha.

Stores either do it for  a]  the main reason suggested here: maximizes customer browsing or  b]  it's a heavy biatch to transport by hand and to stock the shelves, and we sell truckloads of it daily, so fark it, let's put in near the delivery dock.

Spoilage schmoilage.
 
2014-07-28 05:23:40 AM  

SamFlagg: GreenSun: The true reason why milk is far back:

You will walk through the store and see things you might want to BUY.

Milk is a very common item that almost everybody needs, so making a lot of people walk through shelves upon shelves of advertisements will most likely net them some extra sales.

You know how I know you didn't RTFA or ever work as someone who stocked groceries?

(Heck, I even worked in a store that stocked Bread and Milk in the same isle!)
(What I can't stand is trying to figure where a particular store houses Hershey's Syrup and Marshmallows. Marshmallows don't belong with the candy they belong right next to either graham crackers or hot chocolate!)


Marshmallows go in the baking supplies aisle.
 
2014-07-28 05:30:06 AM  

MrBallou: If the nefarious plans of the grocery store to subliminally trick you into grabbing two of every item in the store on your way to get a pint of half-n-half are the worst of your problems, you've got it pretty easy.

Impulse buys are for the weak minded.



Like it's that hard to walk to the back of the store? These are the same people who drive around until a parking spot is open next to the door. You're right, If I just want milk I'll go grab it without impulse shopping.
But you give me a good excuse to post this fun romp.
 
2014-07-28 05:30:09 AM  
Because it's cheaper and easier to set up refrigeration against the wall than it is in the middle of the isles. Next question please.
 
2014-07-28 05:31:33 AM  

SamFlagg: (Heck, I even worked in a store that stocked Bread and Milk in the same isle!)


Makes sense.  It would be dumb to have to take a boat trip just to get one of those.
 
2014-07-28 05:31:36 AM  
some grocery chains wouldn't have a small dairy cooler at the front of the store for people who need milk and are in a huge hurry

And they don't!

Been in stores from Fl to NY, to VA to WY.. Dakotas to TX.. WI to NV.. even up in Canada;  have NEVER seen a store do this. Always at the back of the store, yet the meat section - which oddly enough is also in a cold, refrigerated cooler or display, is ALWAYS much closer.
Of course the meats are closer to the deli, so when the meat expire and go bad, they snatch up the bad stuff, take them to the deli and make "fresh" meals to sell at 3 times the price it would have sold when fresh. (two can play the BS game)

The fake media BULLSHIAT they come up with...
 
2014-07-28 05:37:12 AM  

TheMega: Been in stores from Fl to NY, to VA to WY.. Dakotas to TX.. WI to NV.. even up in Canada;  have NEVER seen a store do this. Always at the back of the store, yet the meat section - which oddly enough is also in a cold, refrigerated cooler or display, is ALWAYS much closer.


I've seen milk in coolers right by the register, but only single serving size, along with various impulse buy sodas and whatnot.  I've never seen full size milk by the register.
 
2014-07-28 05:37:20 AM  

Big Ramifications: xria: It is at the front at the far end from the entrance, where you normally end up meandering to just before you hit the tills (frozen food second last, fridge stuff last basically). The back of the store has other refrigerated stuff - cheese and desserts, and the bakery at the far corner. So putting it at the back can't be that important.

Exactly. What a crock of shiat, can't believe how many chump Farkers have swallowed the BS explanation.

WE HAVE TO PUT IT AT THE BACK JUST NEAR THE DELIVERY COOL ROOM OH NOES SPOILAGE!!!

99% of grocery chains have biatchin' in-store air conditioners pumping. You just about need a jacket to go shopping on a 90 degree day. Is this article SERIOUSLY SUGGESTING a "shelf filler" walking 15 extra meters to the front of an air conditioned store is gonna affect the quality of milk? Hahaha.

Stores either do it for  a]  the main reason suggested here: maximizes customer browsing or  b]  it's a heavy biatch to transport by hand and to stock the shelves, and we sell truckloads of it daily, so fark it, let's put in near the delivery dock.

Spoilage schmoilage.


B is partially correct. Major chains sell so much goddamn milk a day that loading it on a cart, taking out to the floor, and stocking it on a shelf would be an impossibility to keep up with. It's why they're loaded from the cooler, by going straight from pallet to shelf, it saves ridiculous amounts of time.
 
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