Costco store landscapes often prove to be confusing treks for unassuming shoppers.
On one trip, the light bulbs are in their usual spot. The next, they're gone. What gives? Why do products always seem to be moving around? Why isn't everything easier to find?
In one thread, a Redditor asked why, while taking their "normal route" through the warehouse, the laundry detergent had been swapped out with baby formula.
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"Are these changes made purely to force people like me to walk by stuff I wouldn't normally walk by?" the shopper asked. "I bet it works, but it sure does rustle my jimmies."
As it turns out, that's exactly right. Seemingly nomadic essential products are designed to keep you scanning the shelves and buying more, according to Reader's Digest.
"They purposely move products around to different locations and are constantly rotating a certain percentage of their inventory to new products," Tony Jacobson, who worked at Costco for 13 years, wrote on Quora. "This creates a 'treasure hunt' experience as you shop and helps you discover new products that you may not normally see on your shopping visits."
And moving stuff around isn't the only strategy Costco has up its sleeve. CBS reported that the lack of signage within the warehouse is also meant to encourage people to explore.
In an article for Fast Company, Costco warehouse designer Stan Laegreid compared the layouts of the stores to an elaborate "racetrack" that exposes shoppers to "a greater number of products."
Laegreid wrote that this layout allows customers to cruise past "home, seasonal, and lifestyle selections on low-profile racks that allow for open sight lines across any point of the store."
"The very outside of the track is home to practical staples, including toilet paper, whose location requires consumers to pass many impulse buys," Laegreid wrote.
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In general, the retail chain tends to keep fresh food and essentials in the back of the store to draw you in. Meanwhile, many Costco employees place the store's biggest bargains in the "center court" of the store, according to Business Insider's Kate Taylor. The most expensive temporary displays tend pop up near the store's entrance.
So if you're desperate to avoid the siren song of items you don't really need, make a beeline for the middle or back of your local Costco.