On Supermarket psychology and manipulation

Y’all, it’s been a wild week.
In the past few days, I gave away everything in my apartment (except my books. #priorities), said goodbye to all my local friends, ended my lease, and became what is lovingly (or derisively, depending on your perspective) known as a "digital nomad."

And then I got snowed in to the next town over for over two days. 

When I finally made it the 700 miles south to get home for the holidays, I immediately made a trip to my favorite grocery store. It’s a local, Louisiana chain with all the best Cajun brands, best wines, friendliest service, and I adore it. 

I walked in and looked around for a hand basket. They had buggies (or carts, depending on your version of English) everywhere, but no baskets to be found. 

I normally carry my own reusable basket, but today it was filled with—you guessed it—books.

I searched by the doors, under the checkouts, everywhere. A cashier noticed the frustration on my face and asked what I needed. When I told him, he said, “Oh, we don’t have those any more. Would you like a buggy?”


Now, if you’re nerdy enough to read about the Psychology of Supermarkets, you already know everything about the store is designed to make shoppers stay longer, find more things they like, and purchase more goods. Including the carts.

I get it. 

All businesses do that. I do that. I’m a marketer. It’s my job to help you tell your story, get more leads, and make more sales! 

But not being able to use a basket so that I'm forced to haul around a buggy for my few items, or balance them in my arms with my wallet and phone is frustrating as hell.

But here’s the difference: marketing means making it easier for customers to buy from you.

Making your customer’s life harder if they don’t  buy? That’s manipulation.

So don’t feel guilty about marketing. Because the people who love you can tell the difference.

And if somebody crosses the line? Well, their customers will start shopping at Publix. 


PS. Want to raise your rates in 2019? Book a call with me today to create emails & web copy that prep your clients for the change while making them clamor to book you now. 

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash