Store Maps - Where Are They?

First off, I am a “map person”. I love figuring out how to read them to find the shortest route between where I am and where I want to get to. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a street map or a building’s map. If there IS one, I want it!

That said, when I move into a new neighborhood, the nearest grocery store is on of the first things on my list to find. That’s easy enough. What I find challenging is finding my way around in the store to what I want without it turning into a scavenger hunt. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like grocery shopping to begin with. Never have. For most of the past 17 years I have been a devoted Peapod shopper and have enjoyed the luxury of shopping online from home and having my groceries delivered to my door. Alas, I’ve had to cut back on that luxury to save money and have been forced to get my own groceries the ‘traditional way’, and relying on friends with a car to get me there and back - which means I’m going to different stores depending on who is available and where THEY want to shop.

I’m finding that shopping in these behemoth stores without knowing where anything is – without a map – is tiresome and annoying. At first it seemed like a no-brainer for the store to have a map handout/brochure at the entrance to help customers quickly and easily find the items they want. Then it dawned on me. Of course they would not provide such a thing! They want people to wander up and down every aisle in the store, in search of . . . . . Sure, eventually the shopper will find what they came for. But while they are looking for it, they’ll come across hundreds of other items that they will likely buy, attracted by flashy packaging, sale price, and any/all the other tactics used to attract a buyer to a product. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t spend nearly twice as much at a grocery store than they intended to spend, and come home with about twice as many items as they intended to get. Yeah, a map of the store would defeat its purpose – getting people to buy as much as possible. That also explains the gi-normous shopping carts. As big as they are, most of the shoppers I’ve noticed still get to the checkout lanes with an overflowing cart.

And it’s not just grocery stores that use the no-map/scavenger hunt tactic. When I worked at the gigantic Macy’s/Marshall Field’s downtown store last year during the holidays, I found out they don’t have maps either. In fact, I don’t ever recall seeing a map/brochure of a store showing where things are. I don’t think it’s just because they move things around from time to time, nor that they are trying to save a tree. Like at the grocery stores, I think it’s a planned tactic to entice people to buy more than what they came for.

Of course if you shop at the same store often enough – grocery or otherwise – you’ll learn the layout, and how to quickly find only what you came for. Meanwhile, I live for the day I can go back to using Peapod on a regular basis, and a portable store map to make my shopping experience more efficient!
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
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