Since relation with my insatiable desire of buying anything

Since I was young there always has been something that really catched my attention. It is asimple thing, related to our daily life; something that actually we, and also me at the beginning,don’t really consider but, if examinated with more attention, it revels to be more interesting that itseems: the logic behind supermarkets. I always wondered how it could be possible that any time,when I went with my mother to buy something in the supermarket I always went out with candies,snacks or useless products. Why every time I went with a shopping list I constantly came out witha lot of things that I didn’t need? At the beginning I thought it probably was just a case, or maybe itwas just in relation with my insatiable desire of buying anything surrounded me. But it’s not just acase; behind the shining front of the supermarket there’s a hidden, extremely organizedmechanism.I always used to be curious about the world around me and I got used to observe all the thingsthat happened. There were several things I like to do and those things gave me the opportunity tolook carefully what was around me and ask questions to myself. One of my favorites “hobbies”was going to the supermarket with my mum; I really loved food, and the supermarket appeared tomy eyes like a magic world full of food, smells and colors. So I started to ask questions, observeand research.I have always been a person who wants to know, to have answer to all my questions and inthe case of my “supermarket problem”, after a long time of observation I found out that behindcompulsive buying there is something more: a marketing strategy. All supermarkets have in factmarketing strategies to entice consumers to spend more money. Unwanted products have greatervisibility and attract customers. If you go shopping, that might seems something relaxing andhelpful, always remember that there is someone who deceives you. I noticed that anytime I was atthe supermarket I couldn’t find basic necessities like oil, salt and sugar, and that may not havebeen an accident: they are often placed in less visible locations intentionally to give more chanceto unwanted products, those products that are not in your shopping list, but that end up in yourshopping cart and make you spend a bunch of money. Companies usually pay to chose thelocation of their products at eye level, so that they are at your fingertips; among the most covetedplaces there is “the head of a gondola”, basically the place at the end of the lane, where you stopthe longest time and you get the impression that you can find the deal. Another place reallydemanded is the one close to the speakers, “the place of impulsive shopping”, where, thecustomer usually doesn’t know it, there is a real war between food companies to conquer a placefor their products there. The basic necessities, however, do not have a strategic location, becausethe companies already know that they will definitely be purchased.To direct the display of products there is the so-called “category management”. Productsare aggregated according to logic and precise criteria; for example, in the shelves where there aretea, coffee, biscuits and jam, you will also find all breakfast items. More attention has also grownfor fruits and vegetables department that is very colorful and well cared for, just to give theconsumer the idea of a fresh product.The food, as well as support, also must increasingly be able to flaunt. So how does thepositioning and the representation on the shelves work? What senses are involved in thecommunication of food? Well, I can say that taste and smell are almost like one only sense, as themouth and nasal cavities are joined. The sense of smell is very important, because it warns andallows us to judge the food. Just think about the street-food, where fumes and smells are like aneon sign. But also tact plays a fundamental role: let’s think about how important is theconsistency of pudding, or meat. For the sight, instead, color and brightness are important; anexample of this is wine. The sight seems to be the main important sense for the communication ofthe food.Supermarkets today are not only a commercial space to sell; it is above all a space ofcommunication and sense. A crucial importance is also given to the material from which shelves inthe supermarket are made. In recent years there is a tendency to use wood to convey naturalnessand genuineness values that are part of the universe of reference of contemporary food. There arespecific commercial agreements between brands and retailers for placement on the shelves. Let’sthink about the products that are placed between one hallway and the other, which are extremelyvaluable, because they are the ones that everyone sees, and there’s where you can finddiscounted products.After I finally knew all the tricks that supermarkets hide, I tried to go one day, with myshopping list, avoid all these dangerous traps and, when I finally came to the cash desk, in myshopping cart there was just exactly what I wrote down in my list. I have finally had the answers tomy question and I can say that I proved that nothing is casual in the spatial organization of thesupermarket. There are appropriate ethnographic studies about the paths the consumer isinduced to do, which are mainly paths of sense. The case of supermarket is a clear, and not theonly, example of how marketing strategies are acting anywhere and anytime on us and on ourdaily life, sometimes without us noticing it.This engaging topic was not only something I was interested in; it was also a way to use mycuriosity to research, discover and analyze the world around me and it proved, another time, mygreedy desire to know more and more.