MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Are There No Windows Inside Grocery Stores?

Most grocery stores will usually have large windows across the front of the store. But, once you’re inside, that natural light all but disappears. Stores rarely, if ever, have windows along their inner walls. Why is that?

It’s actually a facet of retail shopping psychology. Store owners want to create an environment where you feel comfortable spending both your time & your money. It’s the same reason why a lot of stores have tile floors, since they cause carts to make a lot of noise & you’re forced to instinctively slow down & browse more. Or, in some cases, stores will play up-tempo music when they’re busy as a way to try & speed up your shopping.

But, when it comes to windows (or the lack thereof), stores want you to feel like time is suspended. Grocery stores don’t won’t you to notice if there’s bad weather or impending darkness outside, since the longer you shop, the more you spend. (It’s pretty much the same psychology used by casinos, which don’t have windows nor clocks to aid in that feeling of time suspension.)

There are some practical considerations, as well, though. Large windows that let in sunlight can cause packages to fade, which makes them look old & worn. Plus, switching out valuable wall space for windows would reduce the are available for displays & products that retailers hope to be able to sell you.

Who knows, though…this sort of retail theory could eventually go out of fashion. As a matter of fact, Aldi has experimented with letting in more natural light at its stores in Germany. But, their products had to get special UV coatings to prevent sunlight from affecting both fresh food quality & product label fading. So, whether that will become more common in the grocery industry, as a whole, still remains to be seen. But, if you’re ever stifled by the lack of natural light in your grocery store, you could always try out the farmer’s market!

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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