Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(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
    More: Interesting, Planet Money, grocery stores, shelf life  
•       •       •

31019 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Jul 2014 at 4:31 AM (1 year ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2014-07-27 11:26:42 PM  
12 votes:
actually that's pretty much exactly what i thought the reason was.
2014-07-27 11:28:19 PM  
5 votes:
Yes... it is that obvious
2014-07-27 11:35:07 PM  
4 votes:
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.
2014-07-28 05:30:09 AM  
3 votes:
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 01:25:28 AM  
3 votes:
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 12:22:46 AM  
3 votes:
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 04:05:19 AM  
2 votes:
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 12:03:08 AM  
2 votes:

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."
2014-07-27 11:58:22 PM  
2 votes:

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.
2014-07-27 11:50:59 PM  
2 votes:
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 11:49:55 PM  
2 votes:
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 11:34:08 PM  
2 votes:
The author of this article has never heard of "two birds, one stone" before.
2014-07-27 11:28:34 PM  
2 votes:
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?
2014-07-29 04:21:15 PM  
1 vote:

parasol: durbnpoisn: There is no news here.  About the only thing I could add that also makes sense is that the coolers should be as far away from the front door as possible.  Every time you open the door, you are letting the cool air out, and warm air in.  Obviously the air nearer the front door is not as controlled as the air at the far back.

Very sensible - I would have traded it for the inverse recently - one of the coolers at the grocery "went bad" - it was emitting some small amount of smoke and smelled like......burning plastic with a hint of diesel and metal and caused an immediate sharp head pain.
The floor staff seemed quite unconcerned ("yeah, we know, someone's gonna fix it") but the smell remained for days - I guess lack of ventilation

The same store also seems to attract birds who fly in and can't get back out


Protip: all stores attract birds. Most stores hire guys with pellet guns to kill and remove them whenever an issue arises.
2014-07-29 04:10:03 PM  
1 vote:

robertus: skrame: I used to work in a grocery store, and if you thought the short distance between the truck and the cooler stopped us from leaving the milk out for four hours on occasion, then you're crazy.

/delivery was supposed to be at 7 or so, and sometimes they came as early as 4. With freezer/cooler staff coming in just a few hours, no one else is going to step up and waste an hour moving and rotating the milk.
//Sam's Club. We sold a town of milk.

We usually just left it on the truck until the crew came in.

/Had to unload one of those trucks at the end of an 8-hour shift. The truck had come in late and we couldn't let it sit overnight. Took forgoddamnever since I weighed about 150 pounds and those racks were huge. Got paid hella overtime.
//Former cartpusher


Ha, I had a similar story. It was the 4th of July, so I was getting time and a half already. The dairy truck was late and came at the end of my shift. The manager on duty didn't want to unload it because if you don't know how to use a power jack and move the milk pallet the wrong way... splat goes the milk. So she asked me to do it.

She didn't know they'd have to pay me holiday overtime pay. She got in big trouble the next day.
2014-07-29 04:06:00 PM  
1 vote:

doglover: The author of this article has never heard of "two birds, one stone" before.


More of a causation thing.

Originally, they put it in the back of the store to make people go through the store. Most women didn't work and went shopping basically every day.

Then, things changed. But we're not about to demolish grocery stores and rebuild them with coolers in the front. That's why a lot of places put a little cooler near the front door with some milk in it, which is really annoying for the stock boys to fill. It doesn't actually turn over that much because most people don't use it, so it ends up causing more waste.

Also, people are used to it being in the same place and get mad when you move stuff (try working at a store during a remodel).
2014-07-28 06:33:07 PM  
1 vote:

This text is now purple: Contrabulous Flabtraption: [3.bp.blogspot.com image 494x336]
can't believe I'm first

I've been coming here for a decade and have never gotten an explanation for that image.


some stupid art thing: http://charliewhite.info/understanding-joshua/ (NSFW images)
2014-07-28 05:01:24 PM  
1 vote:

rooftop235: There is more conversation over the placement of milk than there is over the fact that milk causes cancer.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035081_pasteurized_milk_cancer_dairy.htm l


So much for any credibility you might have had.
2014-07-28 12:03:30 PM  
1 vote:

jayphat: Oreamnos: BizarreMan: 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.

There's a place (not a grocery store but a big box retailer) I essentially stopped shopping at because each time I went in they had moved everything around. Eventually I said screw it.

You sound old.

Seriously, it's always the old people who shop your store once every 4 years that are like "You've moved everything around since i was last here." I can't help it the last time you were he was when Bush was president.


Someday, you'll go into a grocery store and think "Hey, they're finally playing cool music!"  Then it will hit you, you're old.
2014-07-28 08:09:34 AM  
1 vote:
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.


What really annoys me as a tall guy about having the common or best-selling stuff at (someone else's) eye level is that with clothing and shoes, the largest sizes always end up on the floor or on hangers/shelves ten inches above it; if they also have narrow aisles, I have to crawl across the floor when I'm looking _if_ they have socks or boxers in my size.
Honestly, if they've shelves and aren't just piling up boxes, it would be a lot more convenient to put the size 13+ shoes on a shelf at 7 feet even if they're out of reach for a shopper of standardized-60-years-ago height - and should there be a dwarf in need of clown shoes, there are always step ladders.
2014-07-28 07:26:39 AM  
1 vote:

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!)


According to the Planet Money guys he isn't wrong, it's for both reasons. Click through to the Planet Money story the Consumerist was trying to summarize. It's worth a listen (I'm a regular listener of theirs) and Consumerist apparently stopped listening half way through.

They actually decided it was a tie, and milk is put back there for both reasons at the same time. It's really dumb that the Consumerist missed that... All they had to do was listen through to the end, but apparently that was too much for them.
2014-07-28 07:21:02 AM  
1 vote:
As someone who worked as a stock boy in a grocery store for a few years, I would suggest milk is put where it is for another reason: cutting back on required work. Milk has to be almost constantly restocked. It also is one of the heavier items in the store (especially in the boxes of six it comes in). Having someone wheeling milk to the front constantly would be impractical. It's a lot easier to have the milk in a large cooler where the excess stock can also be kept and easily put on the shelves when necessary.  A job that would take (say) ten minutes otherwise ends up taking two.

As someone said above, why grocery stores are the way they are is complicated, but in many cases "tricking the customer" is not the primary reason for things.
2014-07-28 07:19:07 AM  
1 vote:

doglover: The author of this article has never heard of "two birds, one stone" before.


Yeah, the Consumerist author doesn't seem to have actually listened to the podcast they based TFA on. I did, and the Planet Money guys ended up deciding it was for BOTH reasons... Both practical (preserving the cold chain) and psychological (so you have to walk through the store seeing all the other products for sale).

So basically, the Consumerist fails again.
2014-07-28 06:03:02 AM  
1 vote:

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.


Funny, I always figured that the wink-minded were the ones who had to tell themselves a fantasy about how their minds were super-logical and special and immune to things that work on every other Human on the planet.
2014-07-28 05:23:21 AM  
1 vote:

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 04:50:58 AM  
1 vote:
In other news, water is wet.

img.fark.net

Film at 11.
2014-07-28 04:48:56 AM  
1 vote:

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 04:46:00 AM  
1 vote:
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 04:40:39 AM  
1 vote:

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 04:16:24 AM  
1 vote:
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 02:42:59 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:37:43 AM  
1 vote:
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 01:34:33 AM  
1 vote:
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 01:25:17 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:21:04 AM  
1 vote:
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.
2014-07-27 11:54:08 PM  
1 vote:

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 11:46:18 PM  
1 vote:
Are there people who don't know this? For reals?
 
Displayed 37 of 37 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report