Stocking The Bodega: Towards a New Writing Center Paradigm
Wilson, Nancy Effinger
You can probably imagine a large, chain supermarket right now—the cereal aisle, the pork chops and steaks packed in cellophane, the piped-in music, the large shopping cart. Less obvious are the maneuvers supermarkets employ to control how you shop. For example, products with higher profit margins are placed at the shopper’s eye level, and staples are stocked at the back of the store in order to encourage impulse shopping along the way. Even the piped-in music is chosen to create an ambiance conducive to mindless shopping, like the absence of clocks in a casino. In other words, whereas most of us assume that we use grocery stores, in many ways they use us, even define us, not only as individual shoppers but also as a community. Unfortunately, as Andrew Seth and Geoffrey Randall point out, supermarket groups such as Tesco and Wal-Mart “have undoubtedly driven thousands of small shops out of business, possibly increasing overall efficiency, but reducing choice. They do not always serve the poor and the old well” (179). And yet the consumer is only supposed to think about the freshness of the produce and the low price of a gallon of milk.