As we roll into the holiday season, one thing moves to the forefront of my mind (strike the following...our transition to a 5D world, the impending AI takeover, steam cleaning the carpets): FOOD.

For food lovers, the last two months of the year are like the playoffs and Super Bowl of eating. Between Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas, and New Year's, the odds of staying low carb, or maintaining that intermittent fasting program, hover somewhere around 0.01%. Whether your palate craves traditional fare or you prefer the culinary road less traveled, you will soon find yourself standing in the same place: the grocery store.

For most of us, grocery shopping is a semi-mindless task driven by habit and routine. If you close your eyes and imagine your favorite local store—whether it’s Market Basket, Piggly  Wiggly, Safeway or Whole Foods—you could probably tell me to within an aisle or two where I could find broccoli, cereal and trash bags. The more familiar we become with a store, the more we trust our autopilot to guide us through the aisles to the same products we buy week after week.

In fact, it almost seems like the store is organized for our convenience. Vegetables, cleaning supplies, and dairy all have their own area. But is it actually convenient, or are we just used to it?

Companies invest heavily in planograms—diagrams that dictate store layout—knowing organizational decisions may single-handedly drive product sales. When wandering down an aisle, male grocery zombies tend to look at the second shelf from the top, whereas females tend to look at the third row down. As a result, those shelves are packed with best-selling and high margin products. Learning your product is being moved to the bottom shelf is like hearing your partner say “I think it’s better if you sleep on the couch for a while.” It’s possible you’ll sleep in the bed again, but it’s unlikely.

But are the products on the shelf where they are because they’re best-sellers and people want them, or are they best-selling because they’re on a store’s premium real estate so more people see them? Hmm. Seems like a chicken (back wall, end of aisle 3) or egg (aisle 12) conundrum. Come to think of it, staples like eggs and milk are always placed at the back of the store. This is no accident, as placing essentials as far from the door as possible guarantees we walk past aisles of temptation products on our way there. Wait a minute—it seems like the store is really organized to be as convenient as possible for one thing: their sales! It’s OK Publix, I’m not mad. After all, I probably wouldn’t have discovered the joy of Dot’s pretzels or bourbon-roasted pecans had I not been forced to walk down the chips and snacks aisle to grab a half gallon of two percent.

But as we embark on our holiday shopping, it does make me wonder what life would be like if empaths ran the show. What if someone was actually thinking about our needs and feelings. And not simply hanging a string of ping pong balls next to the Solo cups (aisle 6)—beer pong has not been on my to-do list in decades—do you even know me, Kroger?? We don’t need an accountant comparing profit margins of Ken’s Ranch Dressing vs. Hidden Valley Ranch. We need someone who thinks about us, who lays out the store in a manner more amenable to real life and who anticipates our needs with products we hadn’t even thought of yet…

For example, instead of “Water, Juices, Soft Drinks” what if Aisle 1 simply started off the first day of the week and was labeled “Sunday”? In one 20-ft stretch, you could grab a bag of salad, pasta, sauce, grated Parmesan, bread, and single-pour mini bottles of merlot. If empaths were in charge, this means you could shop the rest of the store like the days of the week, or by special occasion:

  • “Taco Tuesday” (formerly Aisle 3) stocked with tortillas, cheese, beans, Gas-X and premium toilet paper.
  • “Freaky Friday” (Aisle 6) would present shoppers with flowers, cheese, crackers, wine, steak, cheesecake, candles, incense and birth control.
  • “Six Flags Saturday” (Aisle 7): sunscreen, hand sanitizer, dramamine and diapers.
  • Special occasion aisle, “In-Law Visit”: hard alcohol, cleaning supplies, houseplants and Xanax.
  • And of course, “Thanksgiving”: turkey, stuffing, Alka-Seltzer and neck pillows.

What would your Thanksgiving aisle look like? Any other aisles you’d like to see in the empath grocery store? Share your thoughts with us on Instagram @newearthalmanac or below.

When not working on rebuilding K12 education, Alan Marnett can be found aimlessly browsing the second shelf from the top at his local grocery store and contributing humor to the New Earth Almanac.

Read Alan's article in the November issue of our complete digital magazine here:

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