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☺Supermarket scavenger hunts: "Why'd they put it THERE?"☺

I have had my eye out for candied cherries for about a month. In two different supermarkets, I scoured the baking aisle, candy, and ice cream topping sections, to no avail. Nor did the teenagers stocking the aisles know the product - although I carefully explained the diff between maraschino, canned, and candied. Finally, last week at one store I noticed a display table between the deli and meat counters, with a picked-over display of citron and other fruitcake supplies. The only candied cherries were the green ones. Late last night, in another market, I asked the befuddled teen cashier, who sent me to the holiday and regular candy aisles...nada. Then the manager appeared and asked if I was the shopper looking for candied cherries. He told me there was a rack in the produce section with all the candied baking fruits. Finally, got the red ones! But as I said to the manager, not in a million years would I have thought to look for them in produce. He said it's something they only order in November. I suggested that it be put in the baking aisle, or on its end cap, or a table near that section, or at the very least, that there be a sign on the cake decorations shelf pointing shoppers to produce for fruitcake ingredients. I don't think he got it. I departed with a reminder that "it's used in BAKING, nothing else..." BTW, wish me luck on the multi-type cherry amaretto fruitcake experiment.

What supermarket placement strategies leave YOU scratching your head?

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  1. i found bisquick next to the breakfast cereals instead of baking goods like flour and baking soda. at this time of year the frenches onions can be almost anywhere. with fresh produce, with the stuffing mixes/breads, one time I found them with the nuts and snack food - which of course absolutely justified me buying two cans intend of one - after all, it was in the snack aisle.

    6 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      I expected to find molasses in the baking aisle with the other forms of sugar but it was with the syrups in the breakfast aisle.

      1. re: Kelli2006

        I kind of understood the molasses being there, but was kinda surprised that is where they kept the Karo syrup as well. sometimes I'm absolutely convinced that whoever arranges the supermarket has never once cooked a meal. I'm sure that isn't true . . . right??? LOL

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          in my local store, it's *all* the syrups -- maple syrup (real and sugar), corn syrup (light and dark), molasses, blueberry syrup, etc., etc., etc.

          It at least makes some semblance of logic.

      2. re: KaimukiMan

        Bisquick is always in the breakfast goods aisle in the supermarkets around here, because most people use it to make pancakes and biscuits, which are breakfast foods. This one actually makes sense to me, as opposed to a lot of the more whimsical placements.

        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          "Bisquick is always in the breakfast goods aisle in the supermarkets around here, because most people use it to make pancakes and biscuits, which are breakfast foods. This one actually makes sense to me, as opposed to a lot of the more whimsical placements."

          I agree.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            I still think Bisquik should be in the aisle next to the baking items such as flour and sugar.

      3. In the spirit of the greygarious search and post a link response, I hunted to find this old thread which had a ton of odd places to find grocery items http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/895630. It's handy. I meant to bookmark it then to refer to when I need things that were mentioned. It seems that many of these items are stocked not only in odd places but different odd places in different stores.

          1. re: KrumTx

            Where was it? I'd expect it to be with pie fillings, next to puddings in the baking aisle.

            1. re: WNYamateur

              One of my local grocery stores keeps it in baking, the other with the canned fruits (next to canned pineapple, applesauce, etc.).

              1. re: nothingswrong

                I have found it stacked in the aisle next to the pumpkins in the produce section - which is also where they put the condensed milk that week. Perhaps I should be surprised the condensed milk isn't ever in the dairy area. At least most of the year it is reliably located in the baking section.

          2. I know there at lots of examples, but of course I'm blanking. But, it does make me think of another confusing aspect of grocery stores: why aren't the locations of items consistent within stores of the same company?

            3 Replies
            1. re: CanadaGirl

              I can only assume be ause they are different stores but I did learn yesterday the produce codes are the same.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Well, yeah, but I'd think that within the same company, there'd be some semblance of consistency. I'm often wrong on that idea!

                1. re: CanadaGirl

                  The local safeway reorganized the entire store! I rarely go there anymore. Too frustrating to reacquaint myself after 8 years of shopping there

            2. Placing the cinnamon raisin bagels in the same tray as the everything. And placing the plain with the asiago or other strong flavored bagel. No one wants a garlic and onion flavored cinnamon raisin bagel or a asiago flavored plain. I always feel like rearranging them.

              It seems to me that peanut butter and jam are never where I expect them to be.

              8 Replies
              1. re: viperlush

                My store has the PB and J in the bread aisle now. Un-frickin' real.

                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  Ok, im confused. where else would they be? you wouldn't put pb with nuts would you? and jams and jellies have been near or on the same aisle as bread as long as i can remember.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    I'm use to the bread being its own aisle. In the one grocery store I go to the pbj and jams are next to the bread against the back wall. Another the bread is with the produce and the pbj and jams are aisles away ( I can't remember what they are with).

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      The PB and J was in the COOKIE aisle before the move to the bread aisle. KaimukiMan, where can I find wooden toothpicks ?? If you can help, plmk. I ask this because they sent me to the "toothpaste" aisle for them.

                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                        My stores all have wooden toothpicks next to the paper plates, plastic utensils, etc.

                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                          pb and j in the cookie aisle. interesting. per canada girl with other condiments and spreads makes some sense. Part of it I'm sure depends on how much space they need. Bread is relatively unimportant in Hawaii, so it only takes half of one side of an aisle in the store I go to most often. The other half is jellies, peanut butter, and salad dressing. Strange? Well not that strange since the other "side" of that aisle is the produce department.

                          Like nothingswrong's store, toothpicks are most often near the paper goods/disposables, often next to the wooden chopsticks. In other stores I have found them in interesting places like with condiments (you need them for olives right?) and once or twice with baking goods (no doubt to test the doneness of a cake.)

                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                          Interesting. Though I understand that logic of having it on or near the same aisle, the main two stores where I shop regularly have the PB and J at least 3 aisles away from the bread. But Publix has it on the same aisle and I've always thought that was weird. Haha.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            I've never seen lb and j with the bread. I've always seen them with other spreads and condiments.

                      2. Rice vinegar with the "Asian foods" rather than in the oils and vinegars section. I never remember that that's where I have to look.

                        Jarred marinated artichokes - usually on a bottom shelf in the produce section, not with the olives or pickles.

                        Unsweetened cocoa powder with the hot chocolate mix, tea, etc., rather than the baking ingredients.

                        Marshmallows - I never know where to look.

                        Shredded coconut - sometimes with the baking ingredients, sometimes with the dried or canned fruits, sometimes with the nuts.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: cookie monster

                          Yes! marshmallows show up in the oddest spots.

                            1. re: jbsiegel

                              They're with baking products at mine. Poor marshmallows... no one wants to claim them.

                            2. re: CanadaGirl

                              At my local grocery store they have the big, puffy campfire brand marshmallows in the summer, but not the rest of the year. So not only do I have to hunt where they put them I can't find the brand I want.

                            3. re: cookie monster

                              Yes on the rice vinegar and sesame oil, etc. Don't get it.

                              The cocoa powder gets me every single time. I don't have to buy it often, so I always end up in the baking aisle for 20 minutes before I remember it's on the other side of the store with the coffee.

                            4. Barley! It is never with the other grains but placed in the "Soup" section because, according to a manager, "people use it to make soup". With that reasoning, onions & carrots ought to be there too.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Sherri

                                That is pretty silly. Because if I'm *making* soup, I'm not in the aisle with the canned soups.

                                1. re: Sherri

                                  Some of my grocery stores have barley in the International aisle with the Jewish foods. They put tahini there too.
                                  So odd...

                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    Kasha. Nowhere near where I thought it would be. We have a sizable kosher population in our area, so found it in the Jewish foods aisle.

                                2. Well i've got a good one- specific to fairway supermarkets anyways.
                                  They have several different locations for the same thing!!
                                  For example, salt. They have salt in the organic aisle,different other salt over by herbs, a small selection by the gourmet mustards and jams and yet more by the butcher counter!!
                                  So i had to run all over the store just to find the stupid salt i needed!
                                  They do the same with nuts- at least four different locations, and a few other items.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                                    Yup - And nuts are way cheaper (and often fresher) in the bulk section than in the baking aisle.

                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                      Wegmans also scatters its salts, and puts the Kosher salt with the Kosher food.

                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                        Completely agree about Fairway. They do it with beans too. Cans in all different aisles.

                                        They just reorganized the store I usually go to, but it doesn't make much of a difference as I never knew where anything was anyway. I've never been able to make sense of it.

                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                          The supermarket closest to me has Diamond Crystal kosher salt in two places: near the spices/table salts, and also in the 'ethnic' section (near the other kosher products). What's funny, tho, is that the one near the kosher products is the smaller, cylindrical container, whereas the one in the spice aisle is the big rectangular box.

                                        2. I had a devil of a time finding Velveeta (admittedly not something I look for often). Finally found it near the popcorn and crackers. I still don't understand why.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: Jeri L

                                            Just out of curiosity, where would you expect to find it? Around here, the equivalent cheesefood lives near the peanut butter. Which to me makes as little sense as putting it with popcorn.

                                            1. re: Daisy.G

                                              Having not bought any Velveeta for years I was surprised to find it in the refrigerated dairy section. By the real cheese. I always thought that "cheese food" was only refrigerated *after* opening? Or for that matter, could probably survive most anywhere for a good while.
                                              I kinda thought it would be over by the shelf-stable mac & cheese?

                                              1. re: jettthecat

                                                See, it makes sense to put it with the real cheese. After all, it is nominally cheese. But at the same time, it makes no sense at all. Why use expensive refrigerated space to stock a product that doesn't need it?

                                                I think maybe it's one of those things for which there is no *right* spot. Maybe they need a "miscellaneous" aisle.

                                                1. re: Daisy.G

                                                  Velveetaphiles *think* it's actually cheese, so they'd expect it to be chilled. One of the markets I frequent places it on the non-cooled shelving above one of the free-standing cooler units in the dairy aisle rather than in the cooler that occupies the whole wall on one side of the store. There are other items next to the Velveeta but for the life of me, I can't recall what sort of stuff.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    Near the cheese but unrefrigerated, that makes a lot of sense. Certainly more sense than filing it under peanut butter.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      That was where I looked for it first, the non-cooled shelving near the dairy.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        Same here: Filling up a spare bit of wall next to a door to the stockroom in the middle of the dairy section, there's a shelf of Velveeta, Cheez Whiz, those little Kraft cheese food jars and the cans of Kraft parmesan.

                                                2. re: Jeri L

                                                  The late columnist (SF Chronicle) Herb Caen was famous for saying that you would find Velveeta in the gourmet food section of supermarkets in Chico, CA.

                                                  1. re: Jeri L

                                                    Velveeta is the first thing that I thought of as well. I don't use it often, but occasionally you have to make the white trash cheese dip.

                                                    One store around here keeps it in the refrigerated cheese section, one keeps it on a shelf that is unrefrigerated next to the refrigerated cheese, and another keeps it in the dry good aisles with the 'Mexican' foods.

                                                  2. My local supermarket likes to scatter nuts throughout the store. Any given nut can be in one (or several!) of four locations:
                                                    1. near the fruit & veg section
                                                    2. the snack aisle
                                                    3. the quinoa-and-friends region
                                                    4. the baking area

                                                    I understand the distinction in some cases. A sweet chilli peanut is a snack (also the perfect accompaniment to iced coffee, as I was delighted to discover), and belongs with other snacks. A slivered almond is a baking thing, so it belongs there.

                                                    But an ordinary almond? A macadamia? Could be *anywhere*. No way of knowing what your options are, or if there even are any, without checking all four potential locations. Don't even think of going in with the idea of "ooh, I fancy some nuts. Wonder what they have?". You'll be there all day.

                                                    1. I'm sure my local supermarkets do it on purpose so I have to do laps and spot other things I "have" to have.

                                                      Beans and chickpeas - will be spread between canned vegetables, international foods and canned meals. Similar with olives and antipasti - plain sweet peppadews in the the same section as tinned tomatoes, stuffed with cream cheese are in the 'Mediteranean' area....

                                                      Pasta, rice and noodles - split up all over show.

                                                      Last week someone had moved all the corn chips out of the snack aisle and put them in the 'free from' section. When I asked about it I was told that corn chips are gluten free. Um, not always. And not half of the varieties that you have so proudly displayed.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: ultimatepotato

                                                        ALWAYS ... ALWAYS ... ALWAYS
                                                        check the International foods section. That's where a lot of the good stuff is.

                                                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                          I know, right? And often cheaper versions than they put in the 'regular' aisles. Coconut milk, beans, nuts, pulses, spices and random snacks - last week I got a litre of rose syrup for £1.

                                                          Now I 'have' to make a whole lot of cocktails.

                                                          1. re: ultimatepotato

                                                            The international products are sometimes cheaper, sometimes higher quality, and many times underappreciated. All that usually translates to deeper
                                                            discounts for us !!

                                                          2. re: Cheese Boy

                                                            Wrong wrong wrong!

                                                            I just went on a search for breadcrumbs. First I combed the bread zone (it's huge) of the market. Then, thinking about Panko, I went to the international foods section. Nothing. Finally, I went to the baking aisle where they had regular crumbs, seasoned crumbs, and multiple varieties of Panko.

                                                            The international foods section has grown significantly and now covers Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Indian, Pakistani, Israeli, and British.

                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                              My store keeps bread crumbs in the baking aisle, next to polenta, cornmeal, and above the flours. Kind of makes sense when I see it all together like that.

                                                        2. The local grocery store in my town puts toothpicks with toothpaste and tooth brushes. I know they are called TOOTHpicks but do most people really consider them part of their daily dental hygiene routine? Its just weird to me.

                                                          Missy

                                                          24 Replies
                                                          1. re: missybean

                                                            Ha I have a ongoing argument along those lines with my husband about the toothpick location in our house. He says they should be in the bathroom, beside toothbrushe, etc. I think they should be in the kitchen for cooking and baking, so we always move the toothpicks back and forth... Of course the easy solution would be to buy a second pack, but that would stop our little game of hiding the toothpicks ;)

                                                            1. re: sophie.brunet

                                                              Hmm. I keep them in the kitchen but I hate when my husband picks his teeth at the table after dinner. Maybe I should move them to the bathroom after all.

                                                                1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                                  It is at Acme. Are we neighbors, or are all Acmes that weird?

                                                                  1. re: missybean

                                                                    Yes, we are neighbors! Don't you love our town?

                                                                    I wish they would get their act together, because then I would shop there more often. But they never do, so I only go when i NEED to. My DH won't step foot in the place!

                                                                    1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                                      Howdy Neighbor! We only use Acme for emergencies and then are VERY careful to check the sell by/use by dates on everything we buy. There have been too many times I've picked up things, especially dairy products, that were past their expiration dates. I'm not a stickler for throwing things out if they've "expired" but I draw the line at buying them that way.

                                                                      It always annoyed me they didn't have cilantro. Now I go to the little bodega by Dominoes for my central/south American products. They have a great mole sauce and the cilantro is always fresh.

                                                                      Missy

                                                                      1. re: missybean

                                                                        I've never tried the little bodega, but I'm going to keep that in mind for future use!

                                                                        I've heard that they aren't doing anything to upgrade the Acme like refurshish it because it's too small, and the lease will be up soon. What they decided to do was a "fresh and clean" which didn't do anything for the product that just lingers and lingers! Emergencies, and the occasional Red Box item, which doesn't even require me to go into the store for!

                                                                        1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                                          The bodega is very handy. We end up there at least once a week for cilantro, tostados, cheese, and what not. You can always get fresh ingredients for guacamole.

                                                                          You have to be careful about what you get at Acme. Stuff is just old and weird. I will say I know several people who love their chicken, Lancaster brand I believe, but will only buy it int eh summer when it turns-over quickly.

                                                                2. re: missybean

                                                                  The toothpicks belong in the paper goods aisle next to the wooden matches.

                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                    That's where I think they belong. Apparently Acme thinks otherwise.

                                                                    1. re: missybean

                                                                      I just picked up toothpicks at Shop-Rite. They were in the aisle with paper goods, foil, etc. That's where I expected them to be!

                                                                      1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                                        Seems like Chowhounds are inordinately fond of toothpicks. I think I am still working on the box I bought when living in the apartment I had before buying my house 35+ yrs ago! I don't usually feel the need to check the center of my baked goods and am not big on cocktail weenies. What else are you folks using them for? Around here (Boston area), one very rarely sees people using them for the purpose for which they are named. Dental floss supplanted them decades ago.

                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                          I use them most often for keeping the icing off plastic wrap when covering a cake. I've had the same box for at least 20 years...

                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            Same here. I keep them on a shelf next to the oven. I'd say I use at least 5 toothpicks a week to check baked goods. Can't even remember when I bought the tiny box I have, but it's like a bottomless pit!

                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                              I checked my ancient box--it has the tiny paper price tag on it. 1,000 toothpicks for 35 cents. Probably an antique by now!

                                                                          2. re: greygarious

                                                                            Every holiday, my Mom makes cheddar cheese and pineapple chunks, and uses toothpicks for them. The rest of the year they get poked into cakes, and my DH steals them occasionally after dinner to remove a corn kernal.

                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                              I use them to make molecular models with my students.

                                                                              But I'm probably atypical in that regard. ;)

                                                                          3. re: missybean

                                                                            I have two friends who work at Costco. They say that they deliberately move items around because it increases the likihood that people will buy more, because they see items they don't normally pick up when they come in. They say it's part of their whole in-store marketing strategy.

                                                                            1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                                              I've also read that grocery store set up is planned this way: milk/yogurt/eggs are at the far back, meaning you must walk past lots and lots of other products to tempt you to buy more. There's a whole psychology of market set-up.

                                                                              1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                                                I am in retail myself. We are constantly moving things around in what seems to be a totally random fashoin. I am sure someone somewhere is getting paid big bucks to decide that things should be moved from the right side of the shelf to the left side.

                                                                                Missy

                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                              I was trying desperately the other day to find wooden skewers. Looked first with the toothpicks (near the paper plates and plastic cups) to no avail. Then I was thinking that maybe they'd be with BBQ stuff. I realize this is the wrong season to find that, but I did look near the auto supplies which is where they normally put the charcoal and lighter fluid. No go there either. I finally just gave up and decided I'd make something else!

                                                                            3. re: missybean

                                                                              I've seen toothpicks stocked by mixers (bloody mary mix, etc,) in the beverage aisle.

                                                                            4. I don't care where they put it as long as they LEAVE it there. I just get so I can breeze along knowing where to expect things and then they get all trendy and cute and shift everything around and we shoppers are playing a game of hide-and-seek for months. This week will bread crumbs be with the bread, or with the grated Italian cheese, or next to the veal cutlets? Stay tuned.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                This is my pet peeve too. The supermarket where I regularly shop reorganizes everything about every 3 years, most recently about a month ago. Drives me nuts ( and, yes, the nuts are located in 3 different places -- produce, baking, and snacks).

                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                  That's so that you have to go up and down the aisles instead of going straight to the things you came in for. Sound marketing strategy. But annoying as all get out.

                                                                              2. Karo syrup next to the pancake syrup and not in the baking aisle. Do people use it on their pancakes? I hope not.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                  I have, but only in emergency situations as a kid at my grandmother's house. Grandma was a prolific baker, but never had maple or pancake syrup around.

                                                                                  1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                    I frequently used Karo syrup on pancakes as a child. There is not much difference between corn syrup and 'maple' syrup except the consistency and artificial maple flavoring.

                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                      except the consistency and flavor - which leaves us with sweet. so it should all be near sugar in the baking goods. now, will someone explain why pancake mix and bisquick are with breakfast cereals and not baking goods? Yes thats part of one of my other posts upstream.

                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                        My stores have pancake mix next to the cereal, along with maple syrup and honey.

                                                                                        But the Bisquick is in the baking aisle, next to the Karo.

                                                                                        They made the switch in the last year and it took me fifteen minutes to find the maple syrup.

                                                                                        There should just be one EXTRA LONG aisle for baking goods, breakfast goods, oils and vinegars.

                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                          I dread the day when they take a lesson from Ikea where you are virtually compelled to wander each and every aisle before reaching the checkout counter.

                                                                                  2. When visiting my mother she needed maraschino cherries. I looked down the canned fruit aisle, then the baking section. Finally asked for directions and they were located in the freezer section next to the ice cream cones & toppings. Which I suppose makes a little bit of sense but it was the last place in the store I would've thought to look at the time.

                                                                                    1. Canned (sweetened/condensed or evaporated) milk. I only buy a couple of times a year, but I've been through a full-fledged search + conversation with employee twice now before tracking it down. It's with the coffee.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                        "canned milk" has its own aisle here. It's actually listed on the sign up above.:-)

                                                                                        1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                          Ours is with the baking ingredients.

                                                                                          1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                            Ours is with the coffee, milo, teas.

                                                                                          2. I was shocked, shocked a couple of months ago to see that my main grocery store put canning jars, lids, and other preserving materials in the same location: they're normally scattered all over the store.

                                                                                            Wegman's in Western New York annoys me by putting different types of rice in different places, then acting huffed when I ask someone where to find the type I'm looking for. If I want to buy both brown rice and arborio I don't see why I should have to look in two different places.

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                              you can buy canning goods in the supermarket? wow

                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                Yep, and also at the hardware store and the feed store. 'Canning not a Hawaiian thing?

                                                                                                1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                                  feed store…hahaahhaahahahahahahahahhahahahah

                                                                                                  here you find that stuff at the crafts store.

                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                    Now, KM...there has to be at least one feed store on the Big Island, no?

                                                                                                    Wishing I was anywhere near the Islands.....

                                                                                                    1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                      yes, I'm sure you could find one somewhere on the big island, and I have to humbly admit that there was one on one of the main streets just outside downtown Honolulu until probably the 1990's. After it was replaced with a mid rise office building I don't remember seeing a feed store anywhere, although there may be one somewhere on the north shore of Oahu as well.

                                                                                                      One of the reason's given for there being no commercially raised chicken in the state is that it is too expensive to ship grain in for chicken feed. Some friends of mine on the big island did have some chickens for a while to lay eggs, but they figured it was ending up costing about $1-$2 per egg by the time all was said and done.

                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                        Hens do not have do be fed grain. They will survive quite nicely with the insects they catch and vegetable material they are fed, not including grain.

                                                                                                2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                  Yes. But they often are a seasonal item.

                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                    In my part of New England, supermarkets stock canning supplies from late summer to late fall. Perhaps there are some the rest of the year, but with less shelf space. I can recall seeing pectin for sale year-round, and lids, but not jars. Possibly they are in storage and available to people who
                                                                                                    ask. My impression is that they are always on hand at hardware and feed stores.

                                                                                                    Reminds me of the puzzed look I once got from a teenage girl stocking supermarket shelves when I asked where the Ball (a brand of canning supplies) jars were. I couldn't help adding: "Oh, you didn't know people can them?" as her expression turned from confusion to horror.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      G -- I've heard them all.

                                                                                                      Ball Corp grew up in my home town. They started off making canning jars during the Indiana gas boom, and developed into many industries. Nowadays, in addition to containers (but not canning jars), they are a major providor of satellite spacecraft and instruments.

                                                                                                      Deb from Indiana,
                                                                                                      home of Ball Corp (from jars to stars)
                                                                                                      and their legacy, Ball State University (aka Ball U).

                                                                                                  2. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                    Strange. Our Weg's has white, brown, Arborio, etc., plus all the trendy "ancient grains" together (even though the Arborio is labeled "Wegmans Italian Classics").

                                                                                                    But I'm sure there are rice product in the Indian and Latino sections, too.

                                                                                                  3. In our local Stop and Shop, food from the UK is at the end of the peanut butter/jelly aisle...not the aisle that holds foods from other nations (Indian/Chinese/Caribbean products/Kosher).

                                                                                                    1. After searching the cereal aisle fruitlessly for a particular product, I accidentally discovered it about 5 aisles over (and two weeks later) with the "organic" and "eco" foods.

                                                                                                      1. minute maid frozen lemon juice (great stuff; no preservatives) with the frozen fish (a certain logic, i suppose) rather than the obvious: frozen juices.

                                                                                                        1. An area market puts its clam juice with the other juices -
                                                                                                          apple, cranberry, etc. While it is called "juice, I usually find
                                                                                                          it with the canned fish and/or in or near the seafood dept.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                                                                            A chilled glass of clam juice would certainly wake me up in the morning, but not how I would want to start my day

                                                                                                          2. My favorite spice mix (a local garlic-pepper-spice-salt-type product called Shoup's) is never to be found with spices other mixed seasonings and salts, and indeed, never found on a shelf at all. It is only found sitting on the top of the butchers' case.

                                                                                                            Apparently this is because the spice buyer does not buy it -- the meat department does.

                                                                                                            1. I remember when Hostess was going out of business. I was on a quest to find some Twinkies before they (temporarily) disappeared. I simply could not find them. Turns out, they were in the bread aisle...huh?

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                yep, right next to the snowballs, ding dongs, and cupcakes. but the fried pies (lemon custard, apple, cherry) are on varying racks at the checkout - truly something people only buy on impulse.

                                                                                                              2. In high school I worked for Shopko (WI chain, very Target like) in the shoe department. The shoe laces were on the other side of the store next to the Dr Scholl's inserts instead of near the shoe department.

                                                                                                                My dad is convinced when ever he tries grocery shopping that the Vulcans are mind melding with him about what he wants and then moving it from where it should be.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: autumm

                                                                                                                  What I always thought was interesting about Shopko is that they never got their advertising department to correctly pronounce Rapala, as in Rapala fishing lures. Their radio advertisements always were pronounced wrong.

                                                                                                                2. I've had the scavenger hunt most recently with dried mushrooms. Depending upon the store, I found them in the produce dept., next to the spices, in the "ethnic" section and lastly hung from the shelf where the canned mushrooms live. What an exhausting hunt.

                                                                                                                  As much as I prefer keeping my money in my community this is the sort of thing which makes me want to just order the damn thing online.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. The other day I found Angostura bitters - in the baking section. And soda water, tonic water and ginger ale are always in the liquour section, not in the soft drinks section.

                                                                                                                    1. Breadcrumbs are found in the bread aisle. Took me a while for that one.

                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                        Well they are BREADcrumbs after all ;-) These days however I usually make my own with frozen bread, I never eat the bread loves fast enough so I freeze the bread and end up defrosting it in the toaster then using the food processor to crumb it.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                          In my store, breadcrumbs are in the baking aisle. Makes no sense to me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                            My challenges are always Corn Flake crumbs and graham cracker crumbs.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                              Why not just buy Corn Flakes and Graham Crackers? I am quite sure they would be more fresh than the crumbs.

                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                Completely true, but it's pretty easy to just pour the nice evenly-sized crumbs out of the box!

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  I've always found corn flake crumbs perfectly fresh. And, at least where I live, the crumbs are actually cheaper than the whole cereal on a $/g basis.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                    What's really funny is that my kids like me to take cereals and grind them up and serve them like that with milk in the morning. I should just buy the crumbs and pour them!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                      ugh. Cereal dust is anathema in our house.

                                                                                                                            2. Funny, over Thanksgiving I decided to pick up a can of whipped cream for those that prefer it to ice cream or chees with their pie.

                                                                                                                              I don't know why I expected to find it with the heavy cream light cream and half and half??? I started to wonder if it had been banned from kids doing whippets.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                Where was it? My stores all carry it next to the whipping cream/half and half.

                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                  I don't remember, it was up aisle somewhere in the dairy section far from the cream.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                    Mine has it with the refrigerated Jello and puddings.

                                                                                                                                2. Pet food next to the insecticides.
                                                                                                                                  Tomato products around the corner from the pasta.
                                                                                                                                  Oil across the store from the vinegar.
                                                                                                                                  Pancake mix next to the tea.
                                                                                                                                  Butter near the cold cuts.
                                                                                                                                  Promotional yummy popped popcorn in a bag across from the body lotion and deodorant. (and I wonder why they no longer carry it)
                                                                                                                                  Gluten free products by the seasonal goods.
                                                                                                                                  Health food by the magazines (it's near the medication aisles so I sort of get that one).

                                                                                                                                  I am glad they don't rearrange the grocery stores I frequent as it would end up being a days outing for me.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. Love this thread. I'm getting ready to move and am annoyed at the prospect of adjusting to a new grocery store. Glad to know I'm not alone!

                                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                      and most of these are at stores we think we know… smh (shake my head)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                        I moved 1 1/2 years ago, and I dreaded learning new stores too. At first Mr. Sueatmo and I would enter a store and look confusedly around. I had to eventually just go up and down all the aisles, looking for familiar stuff.

                                                                                                                                        I still have to rethink where some things are. I had a hard time finding fresh sauerkraut for some reason. It wasn't stocked in one store at all--only canned. I nearly lost my mind locating Tahini, and what I bought isn't nearly as good as what I could get in StL.

                                                                                                                                        But, on the other hand, there are many new things here that I am discovering. I think you will enjoy that part of it. Happy moving!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                          I always found fresh sauerkraut in the meat case - is that common?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                                                                            It is where I live. It is a product that needs refrigeration, so they put it near the hotdogs, sausages and other meat items one might serve sauerkraut with.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                                                                              We have the kind in plastic bags near the cheese and the kind in the cans in the veggie aisle. I always buy the canned kind.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                                                                                That is where it is in my area. Usually with the packaged sausage or w/ the Boston butts in the fresh meat section.

                                                                                                                                                @JBsiegal, Canned kraut tastes like the can because kraut is very acidic. Buy the kraut in glass jars or the fresh kraut in the bags.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sr44

                                                                                                                                                    That is obviously the very best I even if it does require a few hours of effort in the autumn.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                                                                    @Kelli2006, I guess I just like the canned best because that's what I was brought up with. My MIL serves the bagged or glass jar kind and it's just not the same!

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                                                                                    I located some in the dairy case at Whole Foods. Winco doesn't carry it. I didn't check Safeway.

                                                                                                                                                    Dierbergs in St. Louis, the market by which I measure all others, carries it in the cured meat case, near the smoked sausage.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                                                                                      At my grocery store I can find a limited selection of fresh sauerkraut in the meat case and a wider selection in the "vaguely ethnic" refrigerated produce case, along with the tofu, seitan, miso, fermented pickles, wonton wrappers, etc.

                                                                                                                                                1. Sugar free pancake syrup - sometimes with other syrups in baking aisle, sometimes with pancake mixes, and sometimes in health food section.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I was searching a store for some fabric dye. Looked all over the place. Finally asked and was directed to the pharmacy area. You'd think they would have them in aisle that has laundry products.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                      Ohh, I went through that one last year. Needed some Rit late at night for an "emergency." Went to the closest big brand grocery store. It took 3 employees searching--they "knew" they had Rit somewhere--but nobody could find it. They concluded it must be in a random aisle in one of those baskets hanging off the shelves.

                                                                                                                                                      Moved on to "fancy" grocery store #2. They also "knew" they had it in stock, usually with the lightbulbs, sewing needles, etc. (AKA the random stuff section next to the gift cards and candles), but alas no one could find it again.

                                                                                                                                                      Ended up at a 24-hour CVS. Where was the Rit dye? First I was sent to the pharmacy. After walking in circles for 20 minutes looking at every shelf, an employee tells me it's actually in the "seasonal" section (wtf). Nothing. Then they send me to the shoe polish area. Nothing. Then the laundry section. Nothing.

                                                                                                                                                      Just as I was walking out, I spot ONE bottle of dye on the very bottom of the clearance rack.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I really hope the folks in charge of the plan-o-grams at the grocery stores are reading this!

                                                                                                                                                      1. All kidding aside, can anyone here walk over to customer service, have them key in a product name (or UPC) and find out *exactly* where the product can be found ??? It just baffles me that this software doesn't already exist.

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                          I tried that tonight. I was looking for light bulbs. One person said aisle 8, two said aisle 9. I eventually found them on aisle 7!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                            Don't forget 40W and 60W are being phased out in January (supposedly) ... and LED bulbs are challenging the CFL's.

                                                                                                                                                            Philips SlimStyle LED --> http://www.treehugger.com/energy-effi...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                              Good reminder- thanks! I have an odd style "flame" bulb for my dining room light fixture which is always a scavenger hunt to locate. Otherwise I've made the switch!

                                                                                                                                                        2. Why are the won ton skins in the produce section?

                                                                                                                                                          It is Publix supermarket policy that they immediately stop what they are doing and lead you to what you are looking for. Imagine, a man who is comfortable asking for directions.

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                            The won ton skins are probably near the mung bean sprouts.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                              I thought it was because they were refrigerated but not frozen and produce is a closer match than dairy.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                                That's where they are here too. I never thought about it before, but, yep, that's a weird spot for them!

                                                                                                                                                              2. My local grocery store puts the tomato paste next to the pasta, but canned tomatoes are with the other canned vegetables three aisles away. I can never remember that the paste is not with the tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JDAWG

                                                                                                                                                                  I've seen that distinction in some supermarkets, but not in others. Also, the tomato paste cans being in a different section than the tomato paste tubes.

                                                                                                                                                                2. I've gone grocery shopping in six countries, four of which I lived in. I no longer know where to expect to find anything. The real challenge is figuring out what the packaging looks like so you know what you're looking for, especially when the packaging is not in a language you're literate in.

                                                                                                                                                                  In Sri Lanka and Singapore, eggs are not refrigerated. In Singapore, at my local Fairprice, I find them in the same section with bread, jam, and peanut butter. In Sri Lanka at my local Arpico, they wander around and I've found them by the produce, the refrigerator section, the alcohol, the shampoos & conditioners, the bread and cakes. Seriously wandering around.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. One local store keeps Better Than Bouillon (bouillon paste in jars) in the baking aisle, under the extracts. ??? All other bouillon/stocks/soups are in the soup aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: queueueuq

                                                                                                                                                                      I used to find the Better than Boullion with other refrigerated odds and ends. They no longer put it there, but haven't decided quite where to put it. Sometimes with soup mixes, sometimes with condiments (?) and once with asian foods next to the plum and hoisin sauce (???) Next I suppose it will end up in the spice aisle. Once again I am convinced that no one who works in a grocery store has ever cooked anything that isn't microwaved.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                        "Once again I am convinced that no one who works in a grocery store has ever cooked anything that isn't microwaved."

                                                                                                                                                                        Lordy, haven't you just hit it on the head, KM!

                                                                                                                                                                        Today, I found the three different types of canned tomato products I was seeking in three different places. Not esoteric or oddball selections - canned tomatoes.
                                                                                                                                                                        Muir Glen was in the 'organic' section
                                                                                                                                                                        Cento was in the 'international' section
                                                                                                                                                                        Contadina was with the Hunts and other 'regular' tomato brands.
                                                                                                                                                                        NB: these were all the same 'whole tomato' product.
                                                                                                                                                                        Go figger

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe I just haven't lived until I've put a teaspoon of chicken essence in my icing (even as I type this, I suspect this has, in fact, been done, somewhere...).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: queueueuq

                                                                                                                                                                            So, I clicked through to see this very post, alone, by itself, context-less.

                                                                                                                                                                            Somewhat startling until I read up a few to find the post on BtB.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                            " Once again I am convinced that no one who works in a grocery store has ever cooked anything that isn't microwaved."

                                                                                                                                                                            That's really an offensive, general statement to make. I live in an area where the workers in the grocery stores around here are not the most friendly people, but there have been many times when I hear them giving customers recipe ideas, cooking instructions, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                            Also, do a lot of you not realize that vendors of many of the products you find in supermarkets dictate where they want their products to be found? They buy shelf space in certain areas and some even come in and merchandise the product themselves. It is not always up to the individual supermarkets to decide where things go. There just seems to be so much vitriol in this thread that it is not even a helpful thread.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, that's pretty harsh. I seriously doubt the kids who stock the shelves get a vote in where items go. Heck, I doubt the manager even has all that much leeway in a chain store.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                "Heck, I doubt the manager even has all that much leeway in a chain store."

                                                                                                                                                                                Very true.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I have found a shelf of organic pumpkin puree in the dog food aisle... Made no sense to me!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: molomo

                                                                                                                                                                            While that seems odd initially it actually is quite clever if the store has a strong dog owner demographic.

                                                                                                                                                                            Canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is very useful for treating constipation and diarrhea for dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                              It was at Trader Joe's!
                                                                                                                                                                              Makes sense the way you put it.. Just wouldn't have expected it to be there

                                                                                                                                                                          2. All the other "ethnic foods" get a section together, but Mexican and Chinese/Thai get a separate aisle and location.

                                                                                                                                                                            Armour chipped beef could be almost anywhere--with canned meats, with dehydrated fruits, by the butcher section, etc. I love the way teenagers will dedicatedly search for it. They work hard.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. You know, specific placement of items is a science. Manufactures actually "buy" specific shelf space from supermarkets. The highest profit margin items are placed around the periphery of the market then at eye level within specific aisles. That's all "general" - then there are the crazy placements that bug me as much as everyone else.

                                                                                                                                                                              My favorite: roasted red peppers are in several places in my local markets. They're in ethnic aisles. They're with canned vegetables. They're with sauces. The prices run the gamut so I have to travel around the store to find the right brand at the right price.

                                                                                                                                                                              When a new supermarket opened up in town, it threw me for a loop. The section with medical supplies, dental hygiene, shampoo, etc was placed in a corner of the market, taking up half of three different aisles. It totally screwed up my shopping. I'd be walking down an aisle picking up pasta and sauce (maybe some roasted red peppers) then, bam! I'm with mouthwash and feminine hygiene products! Next aisle would be shampoo, antacids, then re-fried beans and salsa. Drove me nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Today I found marshmallows! They were by the coffee and tea. I would have looked in the flour/sugar area.

                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mrsfury

                                                                                                                                                                                  Where do you live? Is it cold? Is the hot chocolate mix in the same aisle? If so, this sort of makes sense.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Marshmallows are also usually found in the candy aisle where I live. Not the baking aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                    yes, but the marshmallow creme sauce is never near the marshmallows for some reason. Do people really put that stuff on ice cream? (thats the last place i saw it, with all the other toppings.)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                      "the marshmallow creme sauce is never near the marshmallows for some reason. Do people really put that stuff on ice cream? (thats the last place i saw it, with all the other toppings.)"

                                                                                                                                                                                      Here in NJ it is popular sundae topping at the old-fashioned type drive up ice cream places, along with wet nuts, butterscotch, pineapples, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                        and in the south, it's sometimes found near the peanut butter, to make fluffernutter sandwiches. (Ugh. Bleck. Pleh.)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                          Do you mean marshmallow fluff? Marshmallow creme and marshmallow fluff are 2 different things (to me, at least). Marshmallow creme is pourable whereas marshmallow fluff is thick and spreadable; it doesn't pour.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                          " .....along with wet nuts... "

                                                                                                                                                                                          Please tell, what are 'wet nuts'? I've never heard this expression.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                                                            From Wikipedia:

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wet walnuts or just walnut topping is a dessert topping made from walnuts and maple syrup. Sometimes simple syrup or corn syrup is substituted for (or used in combination with) the maple syrup. Wet walnut topping is similar in some respects to pralines, except that the walnuts are always served in syrup, rather than as individual pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wet walnuts are most commonly served with ice cream. They are often available as an ice cream topping at ice cream parlors in the United States.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks ttoommyy. New info for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                                                              So glad my first thought - schweddy balls - was wrong…

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                              thanks ttoommyy, your answers are always fascintin

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I found a radish mixed in with the fresh apples, pickles with the soup, and frozen tv dinners with the peanut butter! All on the same day!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. So, for our NYE party, I wanted to buy some decorative paper plates and napkins for pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres. Our super market had them in 3 places -- NYE themed plates and napkins in the "seasonal" aisle, in the aisle where everyday paper products are, and in the area where greeting cards, wrapping paper, and other party supplies are stocked. I did not even look at the NYE variety. Surprisingly, the products stocked with the everyday paper supplies were twice as expensive as the products in the party supply aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Surprisingly, the products stocked with the everyday paper supplies were twice as expensive as the products in the part supply aisle."

                                                                                                                                                                                            Were the paper goods in the "everyday" aisle a name brand like Dixie or Hefty? If so, that can account for the difference in price. The paper goods in the part supply aisle may have been from a more generic vendor.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                              Not branded, but some were patterned, whereas the ones in the party aisle were in bright solid colors. Others in the party aisle, obviously, had specific party themes and designs for birthday, etc. celebrations.