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How we shop at Kirana stores vs. Supermarkets

In India, products become synonymous with brand names. You ask the shopkeeper in your local kirana store for a toothpaste, and he hands you a Colgate without missing a beat. Neither he, nor you think twice about it.

Now imagine, you walk into a supermarket. You marvel at the rows of toothpastes; some you’ve never heard of. Now you look at different flavours, sensitivity levels, sizes, and price points. Hand on hip, you’re scrutinizing tubes of toothpaste with scrunched eyebrows. Take the humble milk, for instance. In the supermarket, you mull over milk options like fine wine, carefully comparing brands.

This is the distinction bias – the tendency to overvalue the differences between two options when presented together. The variety at the supermarket vs. the kirana store changes the way we evaluate options. It’s what makes you walk out of the supermarket with a “berry-flavoured sensitive pro-expert” toothpaste, leaving behind your regular toothpaste on the shelf. When did you last experience this?

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