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How grocery stores are just like casinos

Common techniques to get you to spend more
Posted at 1:26 PM, Feb 14, 2018

If you think grocery stores are arranged for your convenience, you probably haven't been inside one recently.

They are designed to get you to spend as much money as possible, and a recent report from the casino industry says many of them are carefully laid out, just like a casino, to get you to stay longer and spend more.

Produce up front, milk in back

You may have noticed a common trend in supermarkets: produce in the front, milk in the back and candy at the checkout.

It's all designed to get you to spend more time and money.

A recent report from the casino industry site claims modern grocery stores are designed eerily like casinos.

They say the similarities are numerous. Some examples?


  • Have no windows, just like casinos, so you don't know it's getting late outside, and that you had better head home. Back in the 1970s and 80s, grocery stores had a line of windows up front by the checkout lanes.
  • Give you a multi-sensory experience of sights and sounds to keep you happy.
  • Steer you to the right when you walk in, just like casinos, so you loop through the whole store counterclockwise.
  • Place milk and eggs in the back, just like casinos make you hike to the back to find the cheaper slots.
  • Add drink bars (coffee bars in the case of supermarkets) to get you to order a latte, which then slows down your shopping experience getting you to buy more. It's similar to the alcohol bars all around casinos.

And it all works, nutritionist Lauren Niemes told us last year for a report about grocery store design.

For instance, Niemes says all that that colorful produce up front puts you in a happy mood. You end up buying heads of broccoli, avocados and even pineapples you had no intention of buying before you walked in.    

"Supermarkets have lots of strategies they use to get consumers to buy foods," Niemes said.

So the next time a supermarket display catches your eye, and you say, "Wow, maybe I should buy that," just remember it is all part of their plan.

And it's similar to the colors, lights and sounds that make a casino so inviting and hard to leave.


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