James Lileks explores in a National Review Online column food nannies’ ridiculous interest in redesigning supermarkets.

I went to a supermarket that had a big sale on cheap potato chips and offered candy bars in the checkout lane that were the size of piano legs. I didn’t buy any of those, either.

How is this possible? You’re probably thinking, “You were focused on your task, and were not suffering from the type of decision fatigue that makes you unable to resist bricks of chocolate whose dimensions are similar to a toddler’s forearm.” If so, you will enjoy this article about the need to RETHINK THE SUPERMARKET.

Pull quote: “Most people do not recognize the risks they face from marketing strategies that promote decision fatigue and impulse buying.”

Today, an estimated 30 percent of all supermarket sales can be attributed to end-of-aisle displays. Retailers have placed more foods that increase the risk of chronic diseases in these locations, and we should not be surprised that more people are acquiring chronic diseases.

Endcaps are killing people. Grappling hooks shoot out and embed in the soft bellies of customers, yanking them toward the displays of potato chips. Fearing for their lives, people buy the bags, knowing they must go to their car and jam the desiccated spud slices into their mouths or hordes of hovering drones will descend and Taser them.

Or, people like potato chips on sale.

This, and the later block quotes, are from a recent Web article titled “Supermarkets Are the Problem”:

Even people who want to resist grabbing these low-nutrient items sometimes fail to do so because they suffer from decision fatigue, most prominent at the end of a shopping trip. After making so many decisions about what to buy and what not to, people’s cognitive capacity becomes overwhelmed, and subsequent decisions are often made impulsively and emotionally without consideration of the long-term consequences.

I know where everything is. I have never felt overwhelmed by the quantity of decisions I am required to make, because I have in my head a set of standards: price, quality, how the excesses in this item will be offset by the virtues in this other one, and so on. If anything I exult in the quantity of decisions. To live in a land with 17 types of canned corn! I have never been so frazzled by my corn options that I’ve said, “Okay, I’ll get this liter of high-fructose corn syrup to take the edge off.”