Woolworths stepping up to a change in the way they merchandise their store ….

tantrums

I have written about Woolworths on several occasions – in general I am quite complimentary.

They are my sole supplier of Chuckles, and then there is their rotisserie chicken which is actually finger looking good — not like the other chicken, which once eaten makes you want to deeply consider retching as an option to finish the meal.

I have as usual strayed away from my point.

I can’t recall where this original conversation started but the discussion was about the way Woolworths (and most retailers) pack the small, impulse purchases along the line of where you are waiting for a till to open up.

And the mayhem it creates with parents with young children.

I for one, have often thrown in items whilst standing in that same queue that I do not need, but I do that “eeeehhh” sound and then toss it in my trolley.

It happens.  It’s a phenomenon that has been observed among shoppers, and it’s the reason that Woolworths and other retailers do it.

Basically retailers know so much about us and our behaviour that they arrange their stores using various models to ensure they aim us to the product we probably want.

I love the idea of retail psychology and why we behave a certain way.  There are words like “bum brush” and it appears it is not only me that smells clothing as part of the retail process.

We are all animals, who behave along a fairly clear line of expected behaviour.  Sure there will be the odd person who comes along and goes left instead of right (or right before left) on entering the store.  I can’t recall which is the correct way we “naturally” go and stores design and merchandise accordingly.

The point of the matter is they (the retailers) know what we are going to do, they guide us to do it, and then place products in front of us that we cannot resist.

This long intro brings us to the of RUNNING THE GAUNTLET to the till to pay when the aisles are stacked 3 or 4 levels high with sweets.

You can hear the whining all the way down the aisle, the teeth gnashing and the eventual reverting to crying in frustration.

And that is just from the parents.

Usually the “let’s part with a lot of money after this queue” moves reasonably quickly, but no matter how quick it goes you will have a child going “Mooooooommmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee …….. I waaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnttttt this, can I have thiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssss……….. please, mommie please, mommie please… ”

Mommie is repeated to the point, where ever human being is now staring at that child, thinking ugly thoughts.

“Mommie please” is usually done in an escalating whining voice, dragging each vowel out, and only stops after sufficient people have turned around to stare at the child (not the mother, we all feel for the mother) but we stare at that child a bit like those children act in The Village of the Damned.  Group “think” and together we are hoping that that child instantly falls asleep.  Or disappears.  Which ever is easiest.

Not dead sleep, just sufficient sleep immediately so the whining can stop.

{this is without a doubt why I wear a head set permanently and listen to music at a volume which could be referred to as slightly too loud}

We feel for the moms and dads ….. because shit balls it is not an easy adventure. If you have kids and you have attempting to leave the house to exchange money for goods, then this has happened to you.

If it hasn’t, then either you are lying or you are really able to switch off to your child like no one’s business.

I have a very simple theory about whining and it is probably rooted in my theories behind dog training.

If you are seriously thinking about having a child, get a dog, say three years before.

Spend the time training your dog until you have a well behaved dog who listens to commands, goes outside when you say, does not hop onto the furniture unless invited and also does not fucking eat the couch when you are out.

Dogs are a fabulous introduction to having a child.  There are many similarities.  Seriously if you can get it right with a dog, train them, having a loving relationship with them, but they still know you are the alpha male, then you are nearly 80% there to parenting.

Children are basically designed to get what ever they want.  Do you think they are made with those super big heads, large innocent eyes and the pout so they are good at manual labour?  No.

They are designed to play on our emotions — which may also explain why Donald Trump has done so much with so little and continues to up to this point.  Potential President Elect?  I think that is the sound of the four horses of the Apocalypse right there <makes clippety clop sound with coconut shells from Monty Python skit>.

I know the right words are “guide” and “nurture” but it is almost the same thing.  You are teaching your child not to go outside when you say no, not to climb onto the table when you say no, not to lick the dog when you say no, and most importantly not to fucking eat the couch.

The trick to training a dog, and a child, is to never give in. Not once.

Once you have set a rule/a line/a this is as far as this shit is going to go vantage point.  Then stick to it, even though you want to give in.  Even if you decide “listen I am so over this shit, just let the child have 100kg of straight sugar and I will mainline it in ….” even then, stick to your guns.  Hold back.  Hold firm.

Why?

Once you give in, your child learns that the issue is not whether you will give in or not, because you are going to give it —- eventually —- you have just proven that, the question is simply “when” — and when means that the whining and crying needs to be kept up until the point is reached where you go “fuck it, have it already….”

Kids are clever little people.  Even though they have mucus on their faces and can sit in their faeces for 3 hours and have little in the way of verbal communication.  Babies are baisically lumps of lard we carry around for months before they start to exhibit some sort of a personality and are able to keep some of their body secretions inside their body.

When I look at babies I am often left wondering “how the fuck did we become the top predator in this food chain ……. I mean crikes ……….”

Back to the original point – parents trying to get through a stressful shopping experience, after work, trying to rush home before they get food going and having to keep saying NO, NO, NO, NO the entire way down the check out aisle is exhausting. Add a second or third child into that trolley and it becomes the Jim Rose Circus in no time.

For them.  For us.  For everyone except the retailer who is going to get a few “fuck, yes, take it ….. fuck it” and then this reinforces the way the aisles are designed.

In a not so suprising announcement Woolworths have opted to pull sweets out of these aisles – you can read it on their Facebook page

Parents? Good news. We’re going to remove all sweets and chocolates from the check out aisles.

We know that the ‘kids gauntlet’ is a real challenge for those of us committed to teaching our children healthy eating habits… and we want to help make that easier.  Read more about it and people’s comments on their Facebook Page.

— they have not told us what they are going to put in it’s place, so we wait with mild anticipation.

Woolworths I personally think this frees up a lot of space to keep a few bottles of wine displayed.  What would you like to see in their check out aisles?

Anyway, well done Woolworths, you have several moms smiling in joy, and several people who only remember to buy jelly beans whilst standing in the same aisle feeling really annoyed.

Now they are going to need to abandon the aisle and go and find those crazy good jelly beans.  {That crazy person running whilst abandoning her children in the queue would be me if that ever pops up on your security video feed.}

You can’t win it all.  But at least you aren’t losing …..right?

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7 Comments

  1. Having gone grocery shopping with five children all together, I feel the pain of all parents standing in line. Though, I will admit that I did not have that problem. My children knew that I would leave all my groceries in the cart and take them home before I would put up with the whining. How did they know this? Because after 90 minutes of shopping, I did. The kids had been particularly whiny and were on my last nerve. I took they home, waited for their father to get home and then went back to the store. Both parents were cross. Lesson learned. Mom is meaner than you.

    Congrats to Woolworth’s for understanding a parents pain.

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much for the giggle, it amazes me that people like yourself take the time to amuse and entertain other people and make their days a little brighter!! Loved the piece but what are they going to do with the chuckles?

    Reply
    • I am trying really hard not to eat Chuckles, I buy the “buy big and save” one and the eat it before I have got the car, so I do not have to share it with anyone. It may well explain the ever increasing tyre I have around my mid drift.

      Reply
  3. Correen

     /  August 31, 2015

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face today! Can not agree with you more about kids and dog training. I have owned and trained rottweilers for 7 years.There are very few life forms on this earth as stubborn as a male rottweiler. My daughter, unfortunately, is one of those (so is my MIL, but lets not go there today…)

    Reply
  4. celestegrobler

     /  August 31, 2015

    Yes, and the jelly babies. I’m gonna miss impulse-buying those. Woolies taught me to a) stop and shop BEFORE I fetch kids from wherever they are, even if it means being a bit late, and b) I am worse at impulse buying than my kids (Chuckles, the babies and OMG those evil Lindor Hello my name is… dark chocolates)
    Maybe this new decision of theirs will actually assist me in losing weight? Maybe they can line the shelf with apples?
    Thanks for a great post once again!

    Reply
  5. June

     /  August 31, 2015

    I would love know how you feel about the “minute” printing on the BOTTOM SIDE of the Woolies “warm-up” foods. I dont carry a Magnifying glass in my bag…to read the instructions.
    Another gripe….why the heck do we have to turn the product over and all the saucy bits end up on the lid so we can read the damn thing. Argghhhh!!! Many emails and complaint from me to woolies and I get the standard reponse….thank you for your mail, we will ,….whatever….nothing changes.

    Reply
    • I must be honest I have often stood in an aisle with those boxes sitting up above my head and me trying to read the very fine print underneath in a bid not to have all the saucy stuff tip over the edges.

      But in most cases the containers are sealed so well, you can flip them over and nothing comes out. And it does not seem to destroy the contents. And if it does, then once I have read what I need I take another pack.

      Reply

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