Polish Supermarkets

The Supersam supermarket next to my apartment building

It’s widely known that grocery stores use various tactics to get people to spend more money. Narrow aisles slow things down, impulse buys are clustered near the checkout lines and the most commonly purchased goods, like milk and other dairy products, are stocked in the back of the store. All these things encourage more consumer spending and thus increase profit margins.

In Poland, with its developed stock market and high levels of incoming foreign investment, you would think that they would have absorbed most of the capitalist tricks by now. But they haven’t. Not only does their religiosity preclude them from keeping stuff open on Sundays (with the exception of florists), but many of their supermarkets, like the one next to where I live, stock their dairy products right in the front of the store. Perhaps it’s because the highly lucrative back shelves are stocked with beer and sausages, I don’t know.

I will give the Poles credit for having more business acumen than the Czechs though, who don’t even try to hide their disdain at having to deal with you in their shops – it’s like you’re inconveniencing them when you try to buy things from them. In the Czech Republic, it’s not their privilege to serve you; instead, it’s your privilege to be served by them.

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