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Alphabetical Supermarket Shelf Stocking System

For Organizationally Challenged Customers and Store Managers
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Aside from the obvious departments in most supermarkets, like Bakery, Deli, Dairy, etc., (almost all of which are placed around the periphery of the store rather than in the middle somewhere), grocery stores employ a wide variety of stocking rationale when deciding where to place items on the shelf. The result is that you can't go into any two stores, even if they are in the same chain, and expect to find what you were looking for in the same place.

In the alphabetical system, each row or group of rows contains items placed there in alphabetical order, using a "noun name first" naming convention. One shelf in each row would be dedicated to refrigerated or frozen items.

In an ironic twist of fate, bones and buns are in the same aisle.

Grogster, Jan 07 2012

Challenging Foreign_20Alphabetti_20Spaghetti
[mouseposture, Jan 07 2012]

Item_20Display_20by..._20of_20Manufacture shameless elf promotion [FlyingToaster, Jan 09 2012]


       It would work in some entertainingly grey Stalinist dystopian state supermarket, to be sure. However, i would prefer them to be organised by some kind of taxonomy known only to a few. For instance, mustard and nasturtium seeds should be in the same aisle and parsley should be nowhere near sage.
nineteenthly, Jan 07 2012

       Most stores reposition stock frequently to keep return customers from following set patterns based on their individual purchasing needs, which ensures that people will constantly be walking past items they wouldn't normally glance at. It's a sneaky tactic that encourages impulse buying. Your way would be much nicer, but wouldn't generate as much revenue.
Alterother, Jan 07 2012

       \\entertainingly {grey | Stalinist}\\ There's a combination of adverb with adjective which has apparently never been uttered on the Internet before.
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012

       Yeah, i do that a lot. In fact, i think we probably all do because a lot of us find this place via Google by mistake, don't we?
nineteenthly, Jan 07 2012

       Entertainingly grey Stalinist ideas sleep furiously at the Halfbakery.
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012

       Stalin is still alive.
pocmloc, Jan 07 2012

       In the freezer section, under "S."
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012

       I looked there, but all I found was a little slip of paper reading 'specimen removed to ideological reconfiguration facility'. It was signed with the initials 'N.K.'
Alterother, Jan 07 2012

       An obvious forgery. Should have been H.X.   

       The real culprit was probably Tom Blofeld, father of the famous cricket commentator, and charter member of the World Domination League.
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012


       Dewey Decimal system for Groceries.   

       All female beauty and cosmetic products would be filed under "Fiction" ...
8th of 7, Jan 07 2012

       Where would they keep the Alphabetti Spaghetti?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 07 2012

       It would be kept in glass jars, constantly agitated and carted around the shop in a job creation scheme.
nineteenthly, Jan 07 2012

       Obviously, it would be sold in individual cans, containing, each, a single letter. A can of As, another of Bs, and so on. Problem solved.   

       The problem really only arises with this: <link>
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012

       Dairy, Milk, 2%   

       Dairy, Milk, 4%   

       Dairy, Milk, Goat   

       Dairy, Milk, Soy (See: Medicine, Nausea Prevention)   

       Dictator, Living Impaired (Freezer Shelf)   

       Magazine, Computer, Apple   

       Magazine, Computer, PC   

       Magazine, Porn, TaTa-Centric (See: Household, Cleaner, Wipes)   

       Produce, Cabbage   

       Produce, Kumquat   

       Produce, Pepper, Jalapeno (See: Household, Safety, Fire Extinguisher)   

       Spice, Anise (See: Fennel)   

       Spice, Girl (Oops, in this case, Girl would be the noun name)
Grogster, Jan 07 2012

       Spice, Old
pocmloc, Jan 07 2012

       Pets, Exotic, Rhinoceros.
Alterother, Jan 07 2012

       //mustard and nasturtium seeds should be in the same aisle and parsley should be nowhere near sage//   

       For the love of Zeus, why?
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012

       \\Girl, Spice\\
//Spice, Old//

       Eventually, the freezer section will add
Girl, Spice, Old.
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012

       // Dictator, Living Impaired (Freezer Shelf) //   

       Dictator, Living Impaired, Preserved (See under Lenin, V. I.).
8th of 7, Jan 07 2012

       I dunno. Zombies are living, impaired, preserved.
Frozen guys are more animationally, challenged, pending...

       the X and Z shelves might not exactly be bursting   

       Prime numbers might be better, especially is situated near a maths faculty...
not_morrison_rm, Jan 08 2012

Bags, bin
Bags, tea
Baking Powder
hippo, Jan 09 2012

       Butter: Apple
Butter: Dairy
Butter: Peanut
Butter: Tummy

Powder: 1995 Film
Powder: Baby
Powder: Baking
Powder: Black
Powder: Chili
Powder: Cocoa
Powder: Cosmetic
Powder: Itching
Powder: Protein
Powder: Washing
RayfordSteele, Jan 09 2012

       The problem here is not that the items are on the shelves in a manner that is convenient only to regular shoppers. No. The problem is this: shelves. We need to get rid of them. Instead, this:   

       In the supermarket vestibule you are asked for and hand over your shopping list, and tell the worker the tolerance of your list (0% if you are a husband, 150% if you are a wife). Then you head into the big box as per. But when you get there, you are bewildered: the supermarket floor is empty of aisles, of shelves, of products. Instead, it teems with shoppers, some solo, some sitting in shopping carts pushed by co-shoppers, each shopper carrying, either at shoulder or broken over elbow crook, a laser clay pigeon shooting "shotgun", and most are looking up at the high, translucent plastic roof. But when you look up, following the general trajectory of gaze, you see that the shoppers are not looking at the ceiling panels. They are looking instead at all of the groceries, being fired from high-mounted aircannons and trebuchets (<-- pandering) in comely ar^H^H parabolas across the length of the supermarket. Each grocery is tagged with a laser sensor. To acquire an item, you just have to shoot it with your shotgun, claiming it as yours, plucking it, as it were, from the sky-riding chaos of the customers' lists. At the end of each ar^H^H^H^H parabola, the items are caught by some mechanical means, and funnelled into your shopping bags.   

       Each summer solstice, the roof is removed and hardhats are issued. It's Live Ammo Shopping Night. Clay Pigeon Shopping.
calum, Jan 09 2012

       //in comely arcs// - comely parabolas, surely?
hippo, Jan 09 2012

       Yes, you are quite right.
calum, Jan 09 2012

       {warm glow of pedantry}
hippo, Jan 09 2012

       To aid in internationalization, we could alphabetize things biological under their Latin taxonomic names. That way, you can shop with confidence in any locale. The downside is that you have to learn the uninteresting terms that you never bothered with before, like, um cowus beefius (?) > sirloin, while the really cool terms, like ailuridae, yersinia pestis, and procyon lotor, go neglected, alas. And don't mention all the products that combine multiple biologicals, like soup. That just complicates things.
luxlucet, Jan 09 2012

       To internationalize - use properties, not nomenclature. Sort by density, phase change temperature, average molecular weight, flash point, burn rate, neutron capture cross section, calories per serving, or something. Pick 3 measurements, and position the item in 3 dimensions.
lurch, Jan 09 2012

       There is an alternate universe where your idea is available as an app called PropShop.
luxlucet, Jan 09 2012

       Howabout as ordered by most prominant ingredient in a room shaped like the periodic table?
RayfordSteele, Jan 09 2012

       OCD or CDO as it should be (alphabetical)
po, Jan 09 2012

       Organise by colour - always my favourite for bookshelves etc. (though I rarely implement it)
pocmloc, Jan 09 2012

       Organize by country of origin <link>
FlyingToaster, Jan 09 2012

       ////in comely arcs// - comely parabolas, surely?//   

       Arc is more accurate. Real world ballistic projectiles always follow arcs, but only approximately parabolas. In the absence of air resistance, the theoretical path is an ellipse (but approaches a parabola when the path length is small and gravity is close to parallel).   

       //mustard and nasturtium seeds should be in the same aisle and parsley should be nowhere near sage//   

       Even more confusingly, mustard seeds and Nasturtium seeds would be closer together than nasturtium seeds and Nasturtium seeds.
spidermother, Jan 12 2012

       I believe in Feng Shui not as a mystical energy-balancing thing but as a classification system. Applying Feng Shui to a supermarket would lead to items with similar functions being closer together. For instance, nappies, dummies and school textbooks would be in the same section, compost bins and toilet paper in a different section (hmm, nappies?), and wallets and account books in a third. I sometimes wonder if Feng Shui is very mundane indeed.   

       And, there's this, from the taxonomy of the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge:   

       Animals are divided into:   

       · those that belong to the Emperor;   

       · embalmed ones;   

       · those that are trained;   

       · suckling pigs;   

       · mermaids;   

       · fabulous ones;   

       · stray dogs;   

       · those that are included in this classification;   

       · those that tremble as if they were mad;   

       · innumerable ones;   

       · those drawn with a very fine camel's hair brush;   

       · others;   

       · those that have just broken a flower vase;   

       · those that resemble flies from a distance.
nineteenthly, Jan 12 2012

       //items with similar functions being closer together. For instance, nappies, dummies...//   

       Surely the function of a nappy is rather different from the function of a dummy?
pocmloc, Jan 12 2012

       //reposition stock frequently to keep return customers from following set patterns //

I actually rather like this system. I'm an extremely sluggardly shopper and quite enjoy browsing through loads of new stuff.

calum's 'Clay Pigeon Shopping' would suit this purpose well. However, I would go for a huge, open floorspace with all the products just piled up at random. Shoppers don't enter the building but, instead, take up one of the many operators' positions at the entrance (all lined up like telephone booths) where they pay in their coin ("Everything a pound!") to activate a claw crane with which to liberate items from the supermarket pile. This should involve even more fun and frustration than the fairground version as it has the possibility, nay probability, that two grabbers might well be trying to grab the same thing at the same time. Televise the whole thing and call it "DrBob's Grocery Grab!".
DrBob, Jan 12 2012

       //Surely the function of a nappy is rather different from the function of a dummy?//   

       I guess that depends on how good the ventriloquist is.
RayfordSteele, Jan 12 2012

       // rather different from the function of a dummy //   

       Actually, careful selection and subsequent non-standard deployment of an appropriately sized dummy can effectively result in removing any subsequent need for nappies, the odious necessity of changing same, reduced expenditure on both nappies and food, and - almost inevitably - criminal prosecution.
8th of 7, Jan 12 2012

       I was thinking of "children and projects". I know little about Feng Shui but am aware that one-ninth of a room can be devoted to such a category, i think the south side.
nineteenthly, Jan 12 2012

       "Where do I find Lee & Perrins?"
"Aisles 12 and 16."
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 12 2012

       //the function of a nappy is rather different from the function of a dummy//   

       Not necessarily. In some contexts, they're interchangeable. You'll agree that policeman's lot is not a dummy one?
mouseposture, Jan 13 2012


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