• Product Placement Disasters

    It’s the opening of a really quirky joke: Two bloggers walk into a drug store.

    Except the punchline was more gross than funny.

    This blog post is a mash-up of SmashedPicketFences and GettingTheWordsWrong meets product placement fails.

    We were looking for something that would prevent my kids from throwing up during a road trip.

    The store manager escorted us back to the anti-nausea section of the store. Logically, this was placed near the anti-diarrhea medicine. As the store manager pointed out other products, I looked around the rest of the aisle and had to suppress a smile. I signaled Tina to look behind me.

    Directly opposite the anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medicine was a bank of shelves containing condoms and lubricants. Which now looks a lot like the YA section of a bookstore with it’s black cover wrappings and vague close up photography of wisps of ribbon for color.

    The store manager was still there, so we did the whole eye communication thing-y and pretended to be mature.

    When the store manager left, I said, “Tina, look what’s behind us.”

    Tina looked at the condoms. Then looked at me. “Yeah, I saw.”

    After a moment of giggling like fifteen-year-old girls (maturity has never been our strong suit, especially when we’re together), we brainstormed how to better rearrange the store.

    “Condoms don’t belong next to anti-diarrhea medicine. I mean, what kind of story does that tell the clerk if you’re buying both anti-diarrhea and condoms?”

    “Do people commonly need both?” Tina added.

    When Tina worked in a grocery store, she learned about the psychology of trying to get people to buy other things by placing them next to something you need.

    Like ‘I came in for milk and at the end cap across from milk was a box of Oreos’ or ‘oh man, I ran out of laundry detergent, but while I’m here I should pick up some cleaning supplies. I should totally clean all the windows in my house.’

    I said, “Why would anyone ever need both condoms and anti-diarrheal?”

    We stared blankly at each other for a moment.

    Then we both shuddered.

    “Condoms should be over there,” I said, pointing to the wine aisle. “It should go wine, condoms, pregnancy tests.”

    “That’s too ideal,” Tina said. “Real life would go: pregnancy tests, wine, condoms. Because I’d like to believe people learn from their mistakes. And chocolate should be in there, too.”

    I shrugged. “An end cap?”

    We debated the order of operations for a few minutes before checking out, but we both agreed that condoms definitely did not belong next to anything related to the stomach flu or an unfortunate decision to try out that hole-in-the-wall restaurant where they call the cook “Buster” and he’s not wearing a shirt.

    How about you? Do you have any stories about strange product placement in stores?

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