Saturday, August 28, 2010

Supermarket tribulations

So, partially because "I needed to get stuff" and partially because "#$#@$dammit, I'm going to go to the supermarket, myself, and do this, myself, just to prove that I still can," I hit the supermarket this morning to clear a short shopping list.

It was amazing how hard it was. Even with the rolling walker.

And it took forever.

Major-chain supermarket taxonomy... some "clever" internal department has tracked shoppers, and through some mysterious computation decided how to shelve their products, and how to label the aisles. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the elements in said computation was to encourage people to roam, so that their eyes are cast across lots o' products and thus generate lots o' sales.

I came to the store with a list of what, six? Eight items? I had to traverse the entire store, maybe forty yards long, at least four times. Going up and down aisles, scanning the shelves, looking for the six things I wanted because I couldn't tell where I might find them. I finally ran into someone who worked there (wasn't easy) and even after I found some assistance, I had to go from one end of the store to the other, twice. (Because although she was extremely nice and helpful, she didn't know where to find what I was looking for, either.)

Trader Joe's, a southern-California staple supermarket, is even worse. They rearrange the store. Weekly, it seems.

I'm sure nobody from Joe's or Vons is reading this, but just so's I can get it off my chest...

Have pity on those of us who can't walk so good. You're not creating sales by making us walk around and look at more and more products. You're eliminating sales.

Whole Foods is notoriously expensive. Purposelessly so, it seems sometimes. But their store--and their parking lot--is easily navigable. I can find things in Whole Foods immediately. Product doesn't wander overnight from place to place; if it was in place X last week, it's in the same place this week. So, Joe's and Vons, even though it costs me more to go to Whole Foods, I'll probably be shopping there more... because shopping there doesn't make me walk until it hurts.

Something to remember, for all of us who design systems... yeah, the system (whatever it does) may work beautifully for you, the designer or the enterprise who uses it, but if it makes the people it's inflicted upon suffer...

You suck. Go back to the drawing board. Try again; this time, more compassion, please.

No comments: