Manipulation In Malcolm Gladwell's Signs Of Life

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Walking into a grocery store is like entering the gates of a labyrinth--there is no escape. In most stores, they never place essential groceries near the entry ways. Products in the deli, dairy, and produce section are each scattered around the store to intentionally make the shopper make a complete loop around the store before proceeding to checkout. In a store like Ralphs, this is especially true. No matter where a customer enters the building, they are forced to walk through numerous aisles of items that they did not initially intend to purchase; however, they often leave with these items due to the recurring temptations. Due to the semiotic analysis of this store, Ralphs is a scheming establishment that exploits the oblivious state of the human mind that is incapable of identifying signs of manipulation, thus causing them to voluntarily subject themselves to the pitfalls of consumerism. Manipulation begins the very moment the shopper gets out of…show more content…
To begin, people have a natural tendency to veer to the right while shopping. This is according to Paco Underhill in Malcolm Gladwell’s passage in Signs of Life, which states that anything placed to the right increases “...customer interaction with any product or promotional display” (94-95). Ralphs further goes on to ensure that this is the only possible scenario for customers by blocking off the left side. For instance, when entering the store, the entire left side of the store is barricaded off by winding check-out lines and Starbucks. This requires them to go to the right and find their way around until they can hopefully make it to the other side- which has a majority of everyday items a consumer would purchase. By doing this, everything on the right side is naturally more desirable and with the restriction, the shopper has no choice but to stick to the side that makes the temptation all more
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