The Real Reason Your Grocery Store Only Has A Few Windows

Grocery stores are a pretty vital part of everyday life. Every person needs to eat food, and grocery stores are the main place where people go to stock up on their fruits, veggies, and essential household items. However, although they sell important products that just about everybody needs, a grocery store's success still depends on turning a profit on the goods they sell. As a result, they are not immune to using subtle tactics to help drive up sales and increase their revenue. 

One of these tactics is to limit the number of windows that are inside the store. This creates a sense of "suspended time" that encourages customers to slow down and spend a longer amount of time inside the shop, according to Mental Floss. Reducing the amount of daylight that gets inside the stores causes customers to miss out on external cues, such as the sun setting or oncoming inclement weather, that lets them know how much time is passing. This psychological trick subtly pushes them to spend more time inside browsing, and therefore makes them more likely to purchase more items. While one might hope that grocery stores are above such tricks, it turns out that at the end of the day, they, like every other business, are driven by profits.

Stores use psychological tricks to get customers to spend more money

In fact, grocery stores employ quite a few of the same tricks that casinos use to lure their customers to spend more money. These include techniques like limiting natural light, increasing foot traffic by placing staples at far ends of the store so customers will have to walk farther to reach them, and using bright colors, enticing smells, and music to create a positive, multi-sensory experience that puts customers in the mood to shop (via

There are also other practical reasons for the decision. "The products are illuminated in all the stores equally by spotlights. In addition, there is always the danger that a customer will no longer buy a product whose packaging may already be somewhat faded by the sun" Aldi architect Michaela von Baumgarten told Business Insider.  Windows also take up a lot of space, which is often at a premium in supermarkets. By eliminating windows, stores can use that extra space to stock more goods. 

So while grocery stores' decision to cut down on windows certainly makes practical sense on their part, it's not always beneficial for the customer — especially if they are trying to keep to a tight budget. So if you are watching your wallet, it might be a good idea to stick to a list, and maybe keep an eye on your watch to ensure you aren't getting tricked into spending more time and money in the store than you planned.