Monday, September 29, 2014

Grocery Shopping Made Difficult For People With Physical Limitations

The list of things that I hate about grocery shopping is a lengthy one. As a matter of fact, there really isn't one thing I like about it. For the most part the things that bother me are not the fault of any given store. Things like screaming kids and people who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot, can't be controlled by good management. BUT, one thing that I've found at our local store grocery store is bothering me more than the others.

Displays being set up in the aisles. I'm not talking about a few displays scattered throughout the store but rather 3 to 5 displays in EVERY SINGLE AISLE. These displays block merchandise and take up enough room that you can't pass a cart that has been stopped next to one.

Many of the displays are angled to stick out. I assume
they do this so you can get stuff behind it
but look how far that sticks out.

Display after display, all the way down the aisle.

Another aisle, another bunch of crap taking up space.

The bottom three shelves are completely blocked by this display.
Many of the displays are not angled and just flat out block
everything behind it. 

I wouldn't even be able to move this one if I wanted to.

Literally every single aisle!

I don't think any customer should ever have to move a display in order to reach an item they wish to purchase. Plus I don't think anything should be taking up aisle space at all since these aisles are designed to only be wide enough for two shopping carts. That being said, I think there is a larger issue here of access and independence. I have all kinds of pains in my neck, shoulders and upper back. This area is subject to frequent muscle spasms, easily triggered by say, moving something bulky or heavy. What about the elderly and everyone with physical limitations who either can't or could hurt themselves moving these displays?

I called and spoke with the manager about this issue. He was very nice and sounded like he wanted to help. He suggested I should come get him next time I'm in shopping and he can help me move anything that needs to be moved. He also spoke a little about why they have displays (promoting sale items or keeping holiday favorites easy to find, etc). I certainly don't know the first thing about operating a grocery store but I'm not sure that matters. I tend to believe there is no scenario that makes this acceptable. I don't feel like I, or anyone else, should have to add another half hour to an already exhausting trip to the grocery store to seek out help. I shouldn't have to stop shopping to wait in line at the courtesy counter, then wait for the manager to be paged and then take him back into the aisles that are created the problem of the moment.

What surprised me, was when he said I was the only person who has called and said anything about the in-aisle displays. I assume he is telling the truth but I would be willing to bet money I am not the only person who thinks the displays are in the way, annoying or a barrier to purchasing. Hearing this was a little disappointing because I fear it means nothing will be done.

Do any of you encounter this at your grocery store? Do you feel like this is an issue of access?

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! I'm glad you posted the photos because it makes it clear that it's both excessive and dangerous. Our grocery store doesn't have displays like that, though there is an extra-wide aisle that there are displays down the center, making it a little tricky to maneuver. But, the displays aren't directly blocking product on the shelves.

    Our grocery store uses end-caps to showcase sale items or commonly purchased together items (like spaghetti noodles and sauces, for example). There's also part of the extra-wide aisle and displays that are used to display sale and holiday items.

    After viewing the photos, I initially seemed to me that they either don't have enough shelf space (so they're taking up aisle space) or they're receiving too large of shipments and don't want product sitting idly in the back of the store or that they desperately need some merchandising assistance.

    Does the store manager really feel it's a good use of his time to have to walk around with a customer and move things to allow access to product on shelves?

    I agree that if you're having difficulty and/or frustration with it, so are others. It clearly makes it dangerous (and leaves him open to liability) for people to get product off the shelves or even just maneuver the aisles - they may be missing out on making a sale because people may not want to deal with the displays, passing up on certain product purchases.