Ice Cream

It’s a conspiracy! A devious plot by those government bureaucrats meddling with my fundamental freedoms. There I am, all innocent, in a local supermarket looking for my favourite ice cream. A woman of my age is staring at the upright freezer compartment at the same time. She’s frustrated. “Can’t find what I’m looking for”. In a grumpy voice she further remarked: “Staff told me it’s a government directive not to put fatty foods at eye level. They’ve been told to move them.”

I said: “That’s a new one on me.” I opened the tall glass door and bent down to pick out the nearest selection they had to my favourite ice cream. As I put the box in my cart, “it may not be good for my physical health but it’s dam good for my mental health” I said. She smiled.

My first thought is that the staff member with the all-knowing knowledge was a number one idiot. This is how conspiracies get going. Supermarkets are always moving goods around the shelves. 

So, I looked it up. Yes, a British charity called the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)[1] has recommended that supermarkets move junk foods from eye-level shelves. It’s the sort of statement a public health charity would say. They are not the government.

On the basis that nothing is left to chance in the way supermarkets are designed, there’s no doubt that health advice would go into their deliberations about shelving. The shelving manufactures[2] have advice too: Keep Them Busy. That’s not just a way of making us move around the store, probability good for physical health, but it’s to get us to see more products. Buy, buy, buy.

In the winter to come, supermarket shelves could be left empty of some food and drink as companies go bust due to exceptional energy prices, but government officials aren’t going to help much with that problem. They certainly were not when that happened due to Brexit.

Back to my theme. Why is the first assumption made that there must be a government conspiracy? Not by everyone but by a significant number of people. I’d venture it’s the disconnection people believe that exists between media savvy politicians and real live everyday folk.

In this case, it’s also the abdication of responsibility on the part of the store worker. It’s a matter of not understanding, or not being bothered, or their own conspiratorial thinking.


[1] https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2019/07/grocers-urged-scrap-junk-foods-eye-level-shelves-obesity-crisis-bites/

[2] https://www.monarchshelving.co.uk/blog/shelving/effective-shelving-strategies-grocery-stores/

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