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The ancient art of shopping

Kim Fischer 13 July 2016 23

Shopping

Shopping is one of humanity’s oldest pleasures. From ancient Greek agoras to Roman markets to the Turkish Bazaar of the Middle Ages and the modern day shopping mall, people have always liked to come together to shop.

Originally, markets sold food and other essentials as well as luxuries. We still see echoes of these all-in-one destinations in the farmers’ markets in places like Hall, EPIC in Mitchell, CIT in Phillip, and Tuggeranong.

But with the rise of self-service supermarkets, shopping has split into two experiences: the mostly mundane chore of filling up a trolley of household goods, versus the enjoyable experience of “going shopping” which still represents the larger experience of being out in public of a crowd and seeing lots of things to buy.

As you might imagine, the psychology of both kinds of shoppers are studied closely by the corporations that own the supermarkets and shopping malls.

To take one example: milk is one of the most commonly purchased items in the supermarket, but it is always put right at the back of the supermarket to force shoppers to walk past more items on the shelves. This increases the likelihood that shoppers will “remember” other things that need be bought. The same principle applies to the impulse buy items placed at the register. There is a reason why “make a shopping list and stick to it” is commonly cited as a money-saving trick.

The design of shopping malls similarly incorporate a series of clever psychological ploys to convince you to spend the cash in your wallet:

  • Interiors are always designed with lots of mirrors and other highly-reflective surfaces to make shoppers conscious of how they look.
  • Mannequins encourage people to see themselves wearing the displayed clothes
  • Escalators are mostly oriented away from exits so that shoppers have to walk past more stores on the way to and from their cars.
  • Stores are mostly glass facades to make it easy to see the shopping going on inside, whether it is someone booking a holiday or a family being fitted out with shoes.

Even with the rise of online shopping, physical shops don’t appear to be going away soon. However, the emphasis is shifting to storefronts as a way to advertise, gain customer loyalty and deliver a “shopping experience”. For example, both the Apple stores and Peter Alexander sleepwear stores are designed to evoke a specific sense of “space”, whether sleek and high-tech or playful and child-like.

Local shops are still important too, encouraging greater physical activity for nearby residents and providing a sense of community and “place” that is simply missing from our globalised and homogenous shopping centres. People may be able to find a recognisable McDonalds store anywhere in the world, but the experience of visiting Little Oink in Cook or the local hairdressers in Florey is both unique and personal.

To thrive however, local shops need reasons for people to visit and to stay. Play equipment, good coffee, and a hairdresser all do wonders in building regular and sustained traffic to shops. This then provides the incentive for other professions like butchers, accountants, and therapists to move in and attract local clients.

How do you choose when and where to shop?

Kim Fischer is an ACT Labor candidate for the seat of Ginninderra in the 2016 ACT Legislative Assembly election. If you live in Belconnen and have 3 minutes, please complete her survey on local shops and facilities.


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23 Responses to The ancient art of shopping
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dungfungus dungfungus 5:13 pm 26 Oct 16

While in Woolworths Erindale today I noticed newer looking shopping trolleys with the locking and chain mechanism that we all have dealt with at Aldi and Canberra airport.

On making enquiries I was informed that new legislation passed means that as from 1st November 2016 all supermarkets in Canberra will have to use this system although no reason was given to me as to “why?”

It will cost us $2.00 each time we need a trolley at the strorage area from then but I am sure there will still be lots of them left in the carpark which will be free.

Anyone out there know what it is all about? Sounds like another crazy Green initiative to me.

TuggLife TuggLife 10:25 pm 26 Oct 16

We still see echoes of these all-in-one destinations in the farmers’ markets in places like Hall, EPIC in Mitchell, CIT in Phillip, and Tuggeranong.

Kim, you need to come visit southside more. The Tuggeranong homestead market isn’t much of a farmer’s market, and the Southside Farmer’s Market moved from CIT to Canberra College earlier this year.

Having good local shops is so important to a suburb – it was a big factor for us when looking to buy a house in Canberra. Why have some flourished so much while others have died? Back northside, compare Florey to Page – they are next to each other, but the shopping complexes are worlds apart.

JC JC 11:25 pm 26 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

While in Woolworths Erindale today I noticed newer looking shopping trolleys with the locking and chain mechanism that we all have dealt with at Aldi and Canberra airport.

On making enquiries I was informed that new legislation passed means that as from 1st November 2016 all supermarkets in Canberra will have to use this system although no reason was given to me as to “why?”

It will cost us $2.00 each time we need a trolley at the strorage area from then but I am sure there will still be lots of them left in the carpark which will be free.

Anyone out there know what it is all about? Sounds like another crazy Green initiative to me.

It is a deposit. You get your money back if you can be bothered to take your trolley back to the trolley bay.

And don’t think there is any law change. For some time now supermarkets have been fined for abandonded trolleys and many put in place deposit schemes to encourage trolley return, guess Woolies Erindale is now just impliemting it.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 1:10 am 27 Oct 16

Enjoyable experience – what is this enjoyable experience of shopping you speak of? Unhelpful staff, terrible range, average prices.

Was in a local music equipment store last month, willing to drop $300. They knew that, but still just said what they had was all that was available, even told me what I was after wasn’t made. Went online, found it, bought it from the US. Same brand, $50 more than the model the local store had. Similar experiences with tech, books, so on.

As for the Apple Store, article kind of misses the point. Apple stores are minimalist, that’s been a feature since the first generation stores and was taken to an extreme with the second generation stores. But their main goal was to be church like and very busy/crowded. And overseas to be community hubs. Now we see the third generation store designs about to roll out and they abandon the extreme minimalism for a new design that adds natural elements, but importantly, blurs the line between the inside and outside of the shop.

dungfungus dungfungus 7:47 am 27 Oct 16

JC said :

dungfungus said :

While in Woolworths Erindale today I noticed newer looking shopping trolleys with the locking and chain mechanism that we all have dealt with at Aldi and Canberra airport.

On making enquiries I was informed that new legislation passed means that as from 1st November 2016 all supermarkets in Canberra will have to use this system although no reason was given to me as to “why?”

It will cost us $2.00 each time we need a trolley at the strorage area from then but I am sure there will still be lots of them left in the carpark which will be free.

Anyone out there know what it is all about? Sounds like another crazy Green initiative to me.

It is a deposit. You get your money back if you can be bothered to take your trolley back to the trolley bay.

And don’t think there is any law change. For some time now supermarkets have been fined for abandonded trolleys and many put in place deposit schemes to encourage trolley return, guess Woolies Erindale is now just impliemting it.

We are all aware what the $2 is for.

According to Access Canberra, it is an offence in the ACT to remove a trolley from a shopping centre or to use or leave a trolley outside a shopping centre precinct. This would appear to refer to the shoppers, not the supermarket.

So, why are the supermarkets being fined and do you have proof of these fines?

chewy14 chewy14 9:11 am 27 Oct 16

JC said :

dungfungus said :

While in Woolworths Erindale today I noticed newer looking shopping trolleys with the locking and chain mechanism that we all have dealt with at Aldi and Canberra airport.

On making enquiries I was informed that new legislation passed means that as from 1st November 2016 all supermarkets in Canberra will have to use this system although no reason was given to me as to “why?”

It will cost us $2.00 each time we need a trolley at the strorage area from then but I am sure there will still be lots of them left in the carpark which will be free.

Anyone out there know what it is all about? Sounds like another crazy Green initiative to me.

It is a deposit. You get your money back if you can be bothered to take your trolley back to the trolley bay.

And don’t think there is any law change. For some time now supermarkets have been fined for abandonded trolleys and many put in place deposit schemes to encourage trolley return, guess Woolies Erindale is now just impliemting it.

Nah, I think they did change the law so that it’s an offence for supermarkets to keep their trolleys within their own shopping precinct but that the offence isn’t applicable if they install a containment system such as the deposit scheme.

I’ve seen a few supermarkets rolling them out recently.

pink little birdie pink little birdie 9:24 am 27 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

While in Woolworths Erindale today I noticed newer looking shopping trolleys with the locking and chain mechanism that we all have dealt with at Aldi and Canberra airport.

On making enquiries I was informed that new legislation passed means that as from 1st November 2016 all supermarkets in Canberra will have to use this system although no reason was given to me as to “why?”

It will cost us $2.00 each time we need a trolley at the strorage area from then but I am sure there will still be lots of them left in the carpark which will be free.

Anyone out there know what it is all about? Sounds like another crazy Green initiative to me.

It is a deposit. You get your money back if you can be bothered to take your trolley back to the trolley bay.

And don’t think there is any law change. For some time now supermarkets have been fined for abandonded trolleys and many put in place deposit schemes to encourage trolley return, guess Woolies Erindale is now just impliemting it.

We are all aware what the $2 is for.

According to Access Canberra, it is an offence in the ACT to remove a trolley from a shopping centre or to use or leave a trolley outside a shopping centre precinct. This would appear to refer to the shoppers, not the supermarket.

So, why are the supermarkets being fined and do you have proof of these fines?

http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/territory-services/city_rangers/changes_to_shopping_trolley_legislation_litter_act_2004

Also it is annoying to send shopping trolley collectors out of the shopping centre precinct.
Also I believe it is quite expensive to buy each commercial shopping trolley.

Maya123 Maya123 9:45 am 27 Oct 16

I have noticed certain houses and blocks of flats with what looks like a trolley graveyard out the front. You can see in those instances who’s stealing them.

dungfungus dungfungus 12:01 pm 27 Oct 16

pink little birdie said :

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

While in Woolworths Erindale today I noticed newer looking shopping trolleys with the locking and chain mechanism that we all have dealt with at Aldi and Canberra airport.

On making enquiries I was informed that new legislation passed means that as from 1st November 2016 all supermarkets in Canberra will have to use this system although no reason was given to me as to “why?”

It will cost us $2.00 each time we need a trolley at the strorage area from then but I am sure there will still be lots of them left in the carpark which will be free.

Anyone out there know what it is all about? Sounds like another crazy Green initiative to me.

It is a deposit. You get your money back if you can be bothered to take your trolley back to the trolley bay.

And don’t think there is any law change. For some time now supermarkets have been fined for abandonded trolleys and many put in place deposit schemes to encourage trolley return, guess Woolies Erindale is now just impliemting it.

We are all aware what the $2 is for.

According to Access Canberra, it is an offence in the ACT to remove a trolley from a shopping centre or to use or leave a trolley outside a shopping centre precinct. This would appear to refer to the shoppers, not the supermarket.

So, why are the supermarkets being fined and do you have proof of these fines?

http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/territory-services/city_rangers/changes_to_shopping_trolley_legislation_litter_act_2004

Also it is annoying to send shopping trolley collectors out of the shopping centre precinct.
Also I believe it is quite expensive to buy each commercial shopping trolley.

Clearly, this isn’t working.

The person I spoke to at Woolworths was adamant that new rules were applying from 1st November 2016.

Maybe the existing rules still apply but the government is going to enforce them for a change.

dungfungus dungfungus 12:07 pm 27 Oct 16

Maya123 said :

I have noticed certain houses and blocks of flats with what looks like a trolley graveyard out the front. You can see in those instances who’s stealing them.

I think I can explain that situation which occurs mainly at public housing estates.

The tenants aren’t stealing the trolleys, otherwise they would be concealed and let’s face it, who would want to buy a hot trolley?

Instead, these trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

Denying the elderly of this use of these trolleys would not be a good look for the government.

Maya123 Maya123 7:04 pm 27 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

I have noticed certain houses and blocks of flats with what looks like a trolley graveyard out the front. You can see in those instances who’s stealing them.

I think I can explain that situation which occurs mainly at public housing estates.

The tenants aren’t stealing the trolleys, otherwise they would be concealed and let’s face it, who would want to buy a hot trolley?

Instead, these trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

Denying the elderly of this use of these trolleys would not be a good look for the government.

No, many trolleys end up being shoved is creeks and the like. No plan to reuse them. Especially the houses with a collection outside. It appears those trolleys don’t go back. I mean, how many do they ‘need’? I see people pushing laden trolleys home, but I can’t ever remember seeing them pushing empty trolleys back to the supermarket. If a trolley is taken away from the supermarket and not returned, ie dumped, I see that as stealing. To say it isn’t, is like saying the joy rider who takes a car and then dumps it somewhere is not stealing.

Lurker2913 Lurker2913 7:43 pm 27 Oct 16

Maya123 said :

. . . trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

I understand the need to transport groceries home but the trolley should be immediately returned to the supermarket.

If anyone wants to keep a trolley in their garage they should buy their own. I reckon there would be a market for a full size trolley with a seat and a small motor. Both carless hipsters and old people would love it.

pink little birdie pink little birdie 1:15 am 28 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

I have noticed certain houses and blocks of flats with what looks like a trolley graveyard out the front. You can see in those instances who’s stealing them.

I think I can explain that situation which occurs mainly at public housing estates.

The tenants aren’t stealing the trolleys, otherwise they would be concealed and let’s face it, who would want to buy a hot trolley?

Instead, these trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

Denying the elderly of this use of these trolleys would not be a good look for the government.

There are plenty of options to buy your own shopping cart or trolley and have been for many years. Kind of jerky to wheel one home and not return it immediately even if you live close.

When I lived in Aranda there were occasions where there were no trolleys in the supermarket it was really irritating. It also happens frequently in Coles Belconnen where there are no trolleys in the supermarket.
Also there is quite a few trolleys pulled out of the lakes every Clean up Australia day.
Also the new legislation might be the end of the period where the transition to deposit systems are compulsory

dungfungus dungfungus 9:19 am 28 Oct 16

pink little birdie said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

I have noticed certain houses and blocks of flats with what looks like a trolley graveyard out the front. You can see in those instances who’s stealing them.

I think I can explain that situation which occurs mainly at public housing estates.

The tenants aren’t stealing the trolleys, otherwise they would be concealed and let’s face it, who would want to buy a hot trolley?

Instead, these trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

Denying the elderly of this use of these trolleys would not be a good look for the government.

There are plenty of options to buy your own shopping cart or trolley and have been for many years. Kind of jerky to wheel one home and not return it immediately even if you live close.

When I lived in Aranda there were occasions where there were no trolleys in the supermarket it was really irritating. It also happens frequently in Coles Belconnen where there are no trolleys in the supermarket.
Also there is quite a few trolleys pulled out of the lakes every Clean up Australia day.
Also the new legislation might be the end of the period where the transition to deposit systems are compulsory

You expect others to buy their own shopping trolleys but you don’t do it yourself.

Then you whinge when there aren’t any at your supermarket.

Give me a break!

dungfungus dungfungus 9:20 am 28 Oct 16

Lurker2913 said :

Maya123 said :

. . . trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

I understand the need to transport groceries home but the trolley should be immediately returned to the supermarket.

If anyone wants to keep a trolley in their garage they should buy their own. I reckon there would be a market for a full size trolley with a seat and a small motor. Both carless hipsters and old people would love it.

“I understand the need to transport groceries home but the trolley should be immediately returned to the supermarket.”

Try and tell that to the elderly.

dungfungus dungfungus 9:50 am 28 Oct 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

I have noticed certain houses and blocks of flats with what looks like a trolley graveyard out the front. You can see in those instances who’s stealing them.

I think I can explain that situation which occurs mainly at public housing estates.

The tenants aren’t stealing the trolleys, otherwise they would be concealed and let’s face it, who would want to buy a hot trolley?

Instead, these trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

Denying the elderly of this use of these trolleys would not be a good look for the government.

No, many trolleys end up being shoved is creeks and the like. No plan to reuse them. Especially the houses with a collection outside. It appears those trolleys don’t go back. I mean, how many do they ‘need’? I see people pushing laden trolleys home, but I can’t ever remember seeing them pushing empty trolleys back to the supermarket. If a trolley is taken away from the supermarket and not returned, ie dumped, I see that as stealing. To say it isn’t, is like saying the joy rider who takes a car and then dumps it somewhere is not stealing.

My late mother had many faults but being a liar wasn’t one of them.

How are you going to get your groceries when you are old and frail?

pink little birdie pink little birdie 12:16 pm 28 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

Lurker2913 said :

Maya123 said :

. . . trolleys are used to transport the groceries from the supermarket and then a trolley is pushed back empty the next time they go to the same supermarket.

My elderly mother did this for years when she lived in a retirement cluster at Macquarie.

I understand the need to transport groceries home but the trolley should be immediately returned to the supermarket.

If anyone wants to keep a trolley in their garage they should buy their own. I reckon there would be a market for a full size trolley with a seat and a small motor. Both carless hipsters and old people would love it.

“I understand the need to transport groceries home but the trolley should be immediately returned to the supermarket.”

Try and tell that to the elderly.

Again it’s illegal to take trolleys of the shopping precinct and there have always been options of other carts that individuals can purchase for wheeling their shopping home.

All elderly people I know who walk their groceries home and need a cart or trolley have their own. Often with better wheels that are lighter easier to manoeuvre over footpaths than the supermarkets trolleys.
Also we walk to and from work and do grocery shopping on our way home. We pack reusable bags. We also never take trolleys out of the shopping centre carpark. I have also strongly considered buying a shopping cart to take the groceries home because then I could buy heavier stuff on the way home (washing powder, cleaning supplies). Currently I tend to do a big shop with the car when I need heavy or bulky stuff and then buy in bulk so it’s months before I need more.

I can’t wait for trolleys to get mechanisms that are GPS coded and when the trolley leaves the specified area the wheels just lock up. That would stop many people taking trolleys out of the shopping centre carpark.

TuggLife TuggLife 2:11 pm 28 Oct 16

pink little birdie said :

I have also strongly considered buying a shopping cart to take the groceries home because then I could buy heavier stuff on the way home (washing powder, cleaning supplies).

I hear you can get one at Woolworths Erindale for just $2!

dungfungus dungfungus 9:10 pm 28 Oct 16

TuggLife said :

pink little birdie said :

I have also strongly considered buying a shopping cart to take the groceries home because then I could buy heavier stuff on the way home (washing powder, cleaning supplies).

I hear you can get one at Woolworths Erindale for just $2!

They’re still free until Tuesday actually.

Rush in, get yourself a bargain.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 7:05 am 29 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

How are you going to get your groceries when you are old and frail?

Apparently public transport is all the rage and everyone should use it for their daily/weekly shopping activities. I don’t know how you are supposed to carry half a dozen large shopping bags full of food onto a bus though, It’s a bit of a chore pushing it up the steps and not much room in the bus itself, especially for older people.

From the OP – “the enjoyable experience of “going shopping” which still represents the larger experience of being out in public of a crowd and seeing lots of things to buy.”
I find absolutely nothing enjoyable about going to the shops. Armed with a list of necessities I try to load up the best bargains, being careful not to stray from the required items and as quickly as possible get home to relax. There are so many unenjoyable things about shopping.
The shops are disorganized so well that you have to walk through pretty much every aisle to get just a few things. Why are paper towels in the pet food aisle instead of with foils and wraps, toilet paper or tissues? Why are rubbish bags with gardening supplies instead of with glad wrap and zip-lock bags?
Thanks to the introduction of “home brand” items, the range of goods is narrowing every day. Oft bought products are being removed from the shelves and “cheaper” alternatives take their place, but upon closer scrutiny the cost has actually gone up. A perfect example is Snowy River party pies, which I used to be able to buy for $7 for a 36 pack. Now the only “choice” is Patties pies, costing upward of $10 for just a 24 pack. That equates to a 100% increase. After querying the supermarket on this I was told it was a decision based on store review of products and the item wasn’t very popular. This is contradictory to my own observations, as I often couldn’t purchase the items as they were sold out. Another reason to doubt this responses validity, is the fact that both brands are manufactured by the same parent company. Obviously this is just another way to increase store profits, with complete disregard of the customers’ grocery budget. The new product also isn’t comparable to the old one in terms of taste, as evidenced by the scrunched up faces of my children.
A lack of choice also means that I must visit at least three stores instead of one, to get the variety we need or to make the budget balance. Greens and meats come from Aldi or the butchers whilst other foods are purchased from the other two giants, because the items just aren’t available anywhere else. Then there are the specialty things like deli sliced meats, Asian groceries and occasionally the bulky items from Costco. So much travel to appease the palates of a hungry family.
Crowds are another reason I dislike shopping. Trolleys are difficult enough to maneuver without having people block the way with whilst they ponder what to buy, or walk very slowly side by side with their partner, taking up the entire aisle along with the impulse buying displays. It is either this or the shelf fillers who block access to things with new stock. They used to do night fill, but now they inconvenience shoppers at any time of the day.
Last but not least is the wait at the registers. Supermarkets seem to think that having self serve registers means that they no longer have to put staff at checkouts, or at least one particular brand does. This means long queues and a frustrating wait to pay for the items. As if it didn’t take long enough to seek out everything from the puzzling store arrangement, but now they make you wait whilst the self serve machines constantly alert the one staff member that they are out of cash, can’t read the bar-code or have some other unknown malfunction.
Finally, once you’ve loaded the car with all that shopping, you take the trolley back to the trolley bay to find that it is filled with incompatible security apparatus, meaning you have to take yours all the way back to the store to retrieve the $2 coin. What a pain the bum.
Fishing is a social activity. Lawn bowls is a social activity. Shopping is a chore. I can’t work out why browsing the shops for items I like but can’t afford to buy would be enjoyable. All it does for me is further emphasize the fact we aren’t wealthy enough to be able to spend on wants rather than needs. I can do without constant reminders of that truth.

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