Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Can Read Your Mind!

Ok. I have a serious Halloween style confession to make. I am a people watcher. I’m also a horrible snoop. Nothing in this world is more entertaining than just standing or sitting in a place where I can watch people’s behaviors and just see what they do. I also learned at a young age that going through people’s stuff really tells you a lot about them.

This brings me to yesterday, when in the checkstand isle at the grocery store I totally freaked out the woman in front of me. She was unloading her cart, and I noticed that she had a bottle of Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot. A good bottle of wine for the price, and also a huge help to our local economic growth.

As I watched her unpack her cart I quietly watched each of the items on the conveyor belt. My mind started checking through her shopping list of all the things she was purchasing, and I started to get worried. Where were the onions? Where were the darned onions? She forgot the onions!

Finally I spied a baggie of fresh green onions lying behind a box of fettucine, right next to the beautiful flank steak. “Whew…oh good” I exclaimed, before I knew I was speaking, “you purchased onions”.

She looked at me like I was some crazed psycho. Now I was compelled to go on and explain myself. “You are 90% more likely to purchase red wine if you purchase onions. I just saw the wine and did not see the onions until now.” She still looked at me like I was a lunatic, paid the cashier quickly, and ran out of the store. Probably dialing 911, or her gun toting husband as she escaped.

What I told her is true. There has been a huge amount of consumer research done in the past few years by the wine industry. One of the things that the industry has found is that people who cook with onions and garlic are truly 90% more likely to drink red wine. The reason is that onions and garlic associate with a “fancy” meal that almost requires a glass of wine to go with it.

Other grocery purchases that have been found to almost guarantee a wine purchase are steaks and roasts, rotisserie chicken, and flowers. You have probably seen wine displays near the meat counter, deli, and floral sections of the grocery stores. If you haven’t, just look around the next time you go shopping.

Something else about wine purchases in grocery stores. The most successful wine shops are located to the right of the main entrance of the store. Normal shopping patterns of the average consumer are in a counter-clockwise progression. By placing the wine shelf to the right of the entrance the customer is more likely to make a purchase of wine before their basket is full of toilet paper and potato chips.

I’m telling you all this so you can become a people watcher too. If you already are, then I suggest you join me in looking for onions and wine in other people’s carts. If they forget one or the other I suggest you step out and give them a hand by mentioning their mistake.


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