Level design & the grocery store

I recently had a conversation with my therapist about how I shop. Frequently I have found shopping to be an overwhelming experience, whether it be because of all the other people or simply because I am trying to find an item and I can’t. I expressed to her that when I get overwhelmed, like many people, I start to list objects in the space around me, and this really got me thinking about level design, how a store is organized, and how society associates certain items together.

For example, it makes some kind of strange sense for avocados and tomatoes to be next to each other in produce. In a recipe where avocado is used, tomatoes are usually around, and even if they aren’t, both avocados and tomatoes are considered fruits even though they seem like vegetables.

An example that doesn’t make sense: Milk and cheese are not together. WHY? Milk is almost always along the back wall of a store. Cheese is usually by the bacon, which for some reason is also separated from the rest of the meat. This I find really strange. At least milk and lactose-free milk are together?

But on that note, I saw an arrangement of Lucerne almond milk at Safeway the other day that struck me as odd. I know that it wasn’t just an accident because the price signs were labeled in this order as well. The order was: Almond milk, Vanilla Almond milk, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk, and Unsweetened Almond milk.

To reiterate shorthand, it’s odd that the order is: A, VA, UVA, UA.
I personally would choose to arrange the milk: A, UA, VA, UVA
However, I would have been okay with: A, VA, UA, UVA

The store is laid out in such a way that most people will find things quickly. Sure, I guess if you eat cheese and bacon together, that aisle works for you. For me, I keep kosher, but most of the kosher food that I eat is NOT on the three kosher shelves at my store. I only go to the kosher aisle to pick up kedem, shabbos candles, and of course, Wachy Mac.

What’s curious about Wacky Mac is that it’s NEVER with all the other boxed mac and cheese. It is also one of two kosher boxed mac and cheese brands that I have been able to find since going kosher (the other brand was some weird-ass gluten-free, lactose-free thing at Whole Foods). Why isn’t it in the regular mac aisle? I think it would sell a lot better because hello fun shapes for children, and also it wouldn’t be so hard to find it the first time I’m at a new grocery store, assuming that store even has a kosher section.

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