Well, left of center aisle almost works

“CASHIER: Are you a member of our club?
ME: Um, I’m just getting hot dogs.
CASHIER: That’ll be four thousand dollars…or you can join our club.
ME: Um, I can’t come to a lot of meetings, but I guess I’ll join.
CASHIER: It’s really convenient. Fill out this personal information for the next ten minutes.” Jim Gaffigan, Food: A Love Story

P L A N O G R A M : D E F I N I T I O N 

Planograms – visual representations of a store’s products or services —  are considered a tool for visual merchandising.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, “It is a diagram or model that indicates the placement of retail products on shelves in order to maximize sales.”

They therefore help dictate a retail store’s layout. The ultimate effectiveness of the planogram can be measured by sales volume but not consumer convenience.


This article is dedicated to the one person or persons in your family responsible for purchasing the groceries for the entire week; every few days; or on an emergency must have basis.

It will attempt to shed some semblance of sanity as to the apparent logic behind the placement of items in your favorite grocery store’s shelves based on computer algorithms and not any kind of common logic a rational human being would readily use to place stock on shelves.

Case in point: 

For the longest period of time I have been purchasing rice pudding and chocolate pudding conveniently placed in my store’s dairy department. The display was always at shoulder height for me. I am six feet tall and could easily access my favorite dessert.

Recently these products mysteriously disappeared from their usual spot. I searched up and down the entire length and breadth of the dairy display cases. All to no avail.

Today I successfully discovered that the items I sought had been relocated to a new site ( left of center) on the dairy shelves.

The items were placed in the “nose bleed” area of the store– almost seven feet high and the shelving holding the items in place obscured a customer from ever finding them.

I spoke with two store employees. The female, who was using a scanner to check item prices in the dairy area, was five foot five inches tall. The male manager I had paged to speak with was five foot eight inches tall. I explained the situation to them and led them to the shelving niche the planogram had situated in.

They readily agreed that the site chosen was impossible to reach and not accessible for every potential customer to easily acquire.

I was informed that the aisle had recently been redesigned and that was the way the planogram laid out the new display setting.

I asked them both if they thought the new product locations would be altered so that customers could reach these items. They told me not to hold my breath.

The illogical planogram had determined that this new location was the best to not serve purchasing customers but satisfy the grand design of warehouse gurus sitting at a desk at headquarters and not aware of the physical realities making some products inaccessible to many customers.

As I was chatting with the male employee I noticed a woman placing her foot on a lower dairy case shelf and attempting to climb up case to reach the product she was seeking.

Sometimes computers are not all they are cracked to be. This might have been a matter of bad code ruling the roost much to everyone’s chagrin. — gc


About gc (659 Articles)
Quote of the week: "If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.-- Frank Herbert quotes .

29 Comments on Well, left of center aisle almost works

  1. I relate to this. Sitting and daring not to stand and fall, I wonder who designs anything really. When I worked retail, and other places, I always thought, who in the dickens designed this? I realize that comment ages me, but seemed fitting😂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Moral of the story: Always bring you pogo stick when grocery shopping!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I returned to the store to search for another item and saw one of the female sales staff helping a senior located the item she wanted by getting a small portable ladder from the back office. Why don’t they just leave these items in an accessible area for everyone to use? If you’re going to use the pogo stick do so after three hours. Any accidents in the store will need an aisle cleanup. 🙂


      • Ladder would likely lead to a lot of liability issues. Much like Embeecee experience below, the main grocery store in White Rock has a lot of customers with walkers or electric carts; so 5′ high is almost out of reach. Biggest problem is a lack of store personnel to lend a hand and if you are disabled – harder still to run around looking for help.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Did you ever notice that many store personnel try to avoid people with handicaps as if they are contagious? There was one senior lady I helped. The package of cookies she wanted was over six feet in the air. I caught her trying to climb the shelving. It was an impossible task for her. See was using a wooden cane and walker to get through the store. She had placed her groceries in the walker and used the cane to pull items down from the shelves. I walked with her for a while and helped her get the top most items she needed to purchase.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Yes…that is how planograms sometimes work! During my career, I stopped teaching for about two years because I was offered a position for a book distribution company. I knew someone who worked there. Since I was offered a management position with a company car…I quickly accepted. I didn’t notice that any school district or the newspapers where I worked ever, ever, ever offered me a company car! Big Deal! I was Assistant District Manager for a group of 35 “big box” book departments. it was fun and demanding and I got to travel. I also learned about the odd and complex (?) workings of the planogram. The planogram drove me crazy. The merchandisers who worked for me and actually placed the books (many books) in the right place…could not figure out the right place. Or they questioned the placement. So…I went back to teaching…even though schools are sometimes like planograms!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For a period of time I was a shadow shopper. Part of the training program involved learning the intricacies of understanding and using the planogram. It offered great insight into the reason behind its use but offered little inderstanding of the way the illogic of the entity setting up the diagrams actually functioned. Needless to say I never did have the chance to use the planogram. Whew! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I would never see them, if it were me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I finally located them by pure chance. I stood on the bottom panel of the butter section of the area and reached deep into the area. Some of the containers were pushed way in th back of the casing. and so were out of my reach. Guess I’ll go to another store for these items.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s Pancake day (Shrove Tuesday) and my son, a teacher, was planning on picking up ingredients on his way to work and making pancakes with his class. Unfortunately, he forgot his wallet. He called mum (like they do) and asked for my help. He needed the ingredients by a certain time. Arriving at the supermarket I found they’d moved everything around apart from the overhead signs that indicate where everything is. It should have taken no more than five minutes, it took almost half an hour. To save time on queuing I used the self service checkout only to find it was unable to print the itemised receipt I clearly needed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did you ever notice that when you are in a hurry to get something from the grocery store something ALWAYS runs amok?

      One time I was in a hurry and allowed one customer behind me to cut ahead. She only had two items and it was the express line.

      Much to my chagrin she tried using her charge card and the computer froze. Then she looked for the money and onlyhad nickels, dimes and quarters. Then she wanted to get her Air MIles points for the purchase but discovered that she was short about $1.25 to qualify for the points.

      She told the cashier she did not like the candy bars located near the checkout station and just told the cashier to forget it. Before she left she discvered she had some store coupons in her purse. Happily the coupons had all expired.

      After 10 minutes she left the area with her two items and a long line of upset people behind her. almost applauded when she did.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. And I hope their liability insurance is paid up and all. Having to climb on shelving to reach items that you wish to purchase is just dangerous (and the designers are idiots). If a 6 ft man cannot reach the thing, they’ve made the shelves too damn high IMHO…I’m a go-cart rider (having little enough energy to walk around the store and too much pain besides). In my preferred shop, the shelves are 3 to 4 (maybe 5) high…about 6+ feet I guess. I stand on the cart (which is also probably not safe) to reach the high items or time to time some kind soul will get it for me. I have to wonder how some of these shopping conglomerates stay in business with their ideas (such as you’ve presented in this article) that have nothing to do with the customer. It’s amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well I commented and the site SEEMED to take it, but I don’t see it showing up, so I’ll repost it, hoping not to duplicate myself. I said: “I hope they have their liability insurance paid up and all. It seems self-defeating for a store to design their shelving and storage based on what THEY want versus what the customer can easily use. I’m a cart rider (you know those little electric carts for the fatties (I’m a fatty so I can say “fat” if I want to) or disabled or elderly? ) and my shop of choice has shelving about 6′ in height. I have to stand on the cart to reach the top shelves (which probably isn’t that safe) or sometimes a kind soul will get whatever it is down for me. I have to wonder how those shops like you describe stay in business.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the second entry. I returned to the store to get another item but discovered that the item was sold out…for the moment at least. Oh well…such is life. 🙂


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