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6 Ways Stores Go Out of Their Way to Annoy You (And Why)

#3. The Grocery Shuffle

Once or twice a year, a supermarket will close its doors for the night, whereupon an army of people I can't not imagine as elves appear from the shadows and move every single product around to different shelves. The next day, regular customers are left baffled and lost, straggling through the aisles searching for their wandering groceries. For able-bodied customers, this is a serious annoyance; for the elderly, it seems almost cruel, extending their shopping trips to lengths of up to seven hours.

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An almost 50 percent increase.

So why would they seek to confuse and baffle us like that? Aside from their obvious and understandable desire to screw with the elderly.

The Reason:

Confused and baffled shoppers are slower shoppers, and slower shoppers buy more things. If you don't know where to look, you'll have to look everywhere, and that means you'll spend more time looking at things you don't need, but suddenly realize you want.

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"Beef jerky and condoms, that's all I need ... oh hey, neat, ranch dressing."

#2. "Can I Get Your Phone Number?"

So there you are, buying something utterly innocuous and undeserving of government monitoring. Not, like, 4 tons of fertilizer or a tank -- socks or something. And then, for some reason, this utterly normal transaction takes an abrupt turn toward the personal when the cashier asks you for your phone number.

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"Also, do you mind if I measure your inseam real quick?"

What the hell's going on here? What do they need your phone number for? Are you being asked on a date? Because the cashier is so attracted to the sock money you're throwing around?

The Reason:

Your phone number is valuable information.

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Look how serious this guy is. Serious Phone Business is at work here.

At the most basic level, a company will use your phone number as a key to build up a profile of you, which they can use to target their marketing materials. "Ahh," you say, "but they don't have my address." Well, if you gave them your address and phone number some other time, to schedule an installation or something, they do. Or they could simply buy it off someone. All these companies freely buy and sell your personal information among themselves. Your phone number becomes the key that pins together a variety of different databases, which means Safeway now knows about the sex toys you buy, and Mistress Kayla's House of Fists knows about your preference for store-brand peanut butter. When you give your phone number away, the whole planet knows everything about you.

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"Hey, check out this guy's inseam. Hahahahhahhahahah."

#1. Christmas Is Too Damned Early

Despite what the lame-stream media will tell you, Christmas really is under threat. From itself. The best parts of Christmas -- the loot, the abundance of chocolates, the gravy-based meals -- are in grave danger of being overwhelmed by all the worst parts of Christmas, like the music, or the shopping.

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Also all the time spent with our awful families.

It's the Christmas shopping that really grates, though, casting its foul musk over all the other retail activities we do in the later part of the year -- a part of the year that is rapidly expanding. According to some book called "Bible," the Christmas season officially begins on Advent on November 27, but that custom hasn't been followed for decades, and every few years, retailers seem to push up the start of the Christmas season a little more. First to Thanksgiving, and then to Halloween, and now it's well into October, which is still basically the previous year's Christmas shopping season. There's not a person on the planet who looks forward to Christmas shopping in the early fall -- this is easily one of the most hated trends in retail, and the butt of thousands of jokes. So why do retailers keep doing it?

The Reason:

They hate us. Retailers hate us.

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"You pesky kids!"

Oh, I'm sure they have all sorts of justifications about the importance of the holiday season, and the slack autumn selling season, and the overall thin margins that all retailers suffer through. Indeed, I bet if you sat some retail executives down and asked them to explain all of this, they'd sound very convincing.

Don't believe them, though: It's because they hate you. Tear the mask off their heads, revealing the lizard men underneath. Shout, "I DENOUNCE YOU, LIZARD RULERS! I DENOUNCE YOU AND YOUR SCALY AGENDA OF HATE!"

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Then run away before they can clutch you in the razor-sharp talons all retail executives have.


Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and has a very poor record when attempting to rip the mask off a Lizard Ruler. But that just means he's due. Join him on Facebook or Twitter to listen to more of his ideas.

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