The Real Reason Grocery Stores Blast Cold Air Before You Walk In

Grocery stores make hundreds of strategic decisions that us customers may never fully understand. Everything from the store's layout to the products they stock is carefully thought out, with no detail too small, per The Grocery Store Guy. For the most part, the vast majority of these choices aren't overtly obvious to customers, and that's kind of the point. If you're questioning why a store is laid out in a certain way, or why someone stocked ketchup next to icing, maybe the store hasn't been as successful as it would like. Stores want their strategic plans in your shopping experience to feel distant, so all you have to focus on is picking up the ingredients for that night's dinner.

Yet, there is one thing nearly all grocery stores do that quite literally hits you right in the face. Have you ever wondered why stores seem to blast cold air right when you walk through the doors? For the everyday customer, it can feel obnoxious and unnecessary. There's already air conditioning, right? Why would they need extra cold air right when the doors open?

Turns out, there's actually a very specific reason grocery stores do this. And it's not just to give you a little wake-up before you stock up.

This blast of cold air is called an air door or air curtain

According to an article in Taste of Home, this freezing blast of air is called an "air door" or "air curtain," and "it functions as a barrier to keep unwanted outside materials from getting inside the store."

Air doors — essentially large fans — are usually installed above the door frame and act like a second door. It's pretty nifty actually, positioned at just the right angle, these blasts of air not only keep out hot outside air, but they also keep the store free of bugs and other pests.

"The easiest way for [bugs and pests] to get into the store is through the same entrance that we use. But while we're able to easily walk through the wall of cold air, insects will be blown away," the article explains. Similarly, this keeps dust and dirt from blowing into the store, too.

Like a regular door, the air door works two ways. Besides keeping unwanted things from coming in, these devices also keep the cool air from inside the store escaping into the outside.

Next time you go grocery shopping, instead of feeling slight annoyance toward that blast of cool air, you can offer it a quiet thanks for keeping your shopping experience pleasant.