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Read the text below and then asnwer the questions which follow it. Use your scroll bars to move up and down the page.


Where's the beef?

1. If you have ever wandered around your local supermarket trying to find where they have put the butter or the instant mashed potatoes, you might be forgiven for thinking that the shelves are stacked almost at random. In reality, you couldn't be more wrong. Arranging supermarkets is an art, even if the object of this art is simply to extract more money from your wallet.

2. When supermarkets began, their owners really didn't know how to arrange the material. One famous British supermarket simply decided to organise the shelves so that people found the products in the same way that they would do if they were eating a meal. So the soups came before the fish, and they came before the meat and vegetables, and finally there were the desserts.

3. But supermarkets soon found that it was a good idea to put fresh fruit and vegetables near the entrance, since it gave people passing by the impression that the goods in the shop were fresh. Later they developed the idea and changed the colour of the lights near the fruit and vegetables, so that the oranges had an orange light, and green vegetables a green light, which made their colours look more natural and attractive.

4. For the same reason, the bakery area might have the smell of fresh bread blown through the ventilators to interest customers in buying bread, even if the bread itself is inside a plastic bag which smells of nothing at all.

5. Some supermarkets have experimented with the idea of of encouraging impulse buying. In one famous example they put beer next to children's nappies, because they had discovered that husbands were often asked by their wives to buy nappies on their way home from work. All supermarkets put luxury products at eye level to encourage impulse buying. Products which the customer will buy anyway, such as flour or sugar, are to be found on the upper or lower shelves.

6. It has also been discovered that customers will go one or two meters up an aisle before they stop to look for what they want. Therefore the shelves occupying by the first meter are sometimes called "dead space". Another good place to put all the things that customers are prepared to go back and buy.

7. But not everything in a supermarket layout is designed to maximise sales. Designers have to make sure that customers can move around the store easily, so they leave more space in front of areas where people will stand for a long time. They must be sure that the store can be evacuated quickly if there is an emergency, and that security cameras have a clear view of everything inside the store. Finally, the store has to be designed so that a person who wants to buy a packet of cigarettes, or a magazine, does not have to wait in the same queue as ten people who are doing the family shopping for a week.

8. And why is the butter sometimes in a different place? This is because people who shop regularly at a particular store go straight to the things they want without looking at the other products on offer. The supermarkets move the butter so that while you are looking for it, you may see and buy something you that you would not have come across otherwise.


You must answer the questions which follow in your own words. (Use about 12 -20 words unless you are told to do differently in an individual question.).

1. Why are the words "in reality" used in the first paragraph?

2. Explain the use of the word "forgiven" in the first paragraph.

3. What does the phrase "you couldn't be more wrong" in para. 1 suggest.

4. Explain why the supermarket in para 2 put the soups before the fish .

5. In para 3, how did changing the lights make the vegetables look better?

6. What is the meaning of the phrase "developed the idea" in para 3?

7. Why does the writer use the words "might have" in para 4?

8. Explain the meaning of "impulse buying" in para 5?

9. How does putting products at eye level encourage impulse buying? (para 5)

10. Explain the concept of "dead space" in para 6.

11. Why should designers "leave more space in front of areas where people will stand for a long time?" (para 7)

12. What aspects of safety and security are mentioned?

13. What is significant about "family shopping" mentioned in para 7?

14. Explain the meaning of the words "come across2 in para 8.

15. In 60 -80 words summarize some of the techniques by which supermarket layouts can increase sales.

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