Sneaky And Genius Ways Stores Trick You Into Buying More Stuff.

You might think that when you shop, you generally just buy things that you need or that are good deals. I hate to break it to you, but you've been duped.

Retailers have been sneakily coercing us to buy their stuff, and it's scary how they've been able to get into our heads. From tracking your spending to controlling your happiness, here's how they do it.

If you use a loyalty card, know that you're being tracked.

Stores record your buying habits, and use them against you to tempt your spending "sweet spot". So if you regularly buy Pepsi and your local store suddenly has them on sale, there might be a reason why!

You would think that supermarkets spray veggies with water to keep them fresh, but it's actually to entice you to buy it. The water makes them spoil faster, but at least they look tasty!

These prices make you think that they're good deals. We internally round the prices down, to make us think that they're cheaper. For example, if something costs $5.99, we'll think of it as $5.

It was invented in 1938 to make people buy bigger items. If you carry around a shopping basket, you're less likely to buy huge, expensive things.

Meat and dairy are essentials for most people, but most supermarkets place these food groups at the back of the store. This forces you to walk through aisles full of tempting food in order to get to what you need.

In retail, you'll often see sales or cheap items at the front of the store. These are called "wallet openers", and are designed to break a psychological anti-spending barrier when you enter a store. 

Things like flowers and fresh-baked bread are often at the front of the store. This is because you'll have an empty shopping basket when you come upon them, and your spending spirits will be high.

When you go into a grocery store, you'll often smell rotisserie chicken cooking, or fresh bread baking near the front. This makes you hungry, and eager to buy more food.

People tend to form opinions of stores based on the prices of their staples, like bread, milk, and eggs. Stores like to keep these prices competitive, but hike up the prices of other items.

Most people won't realize they're paying a fortune for ice cream if the milk they're buying is super cheap.

Even health-conscious people can be tempted by a free treat. 

Studies have shown that a free chocolate will greatly increase a customer's chances of buying dressy shirts, expensive watches, and Apple laptops!

Stores typically try to play music with a rhythm slower than the average human heartbeat.

This encourages you to slow down, spending more time browsing in the store. 

Customers who were allowed to physically touch products like mugs, computers, and snacks were willing to pay 40%-60% more than those who weren't. 

Other research also shows that the more time you spend handling a product, the more likely you are to buy it.

Colorful fruits and vegetables like strawberries, bananas, and peppers will put you in a good mood just by looking at them. And everyone knows that happy shoppers are more likely to buy stuff than unhappy shoppers.

When a supermarket offers a "10 for $10" deal, volume takes off even if the promotion raises prices. 

For example, stores may take an $0.89 can of tuna and mark it "10 for $10", and instead of buying 6 cans for $5.34, they'll fall for the marketing scheme and buy 10 for $10.00 - clearly spending more than they should have to.

When you make an online purchase, stores will delay emailing you the receipt. This gives you less time to remember the money that you spent on it, and promises that you're more likely to come back to buy more. 

Credit cards are dangerous for this very purpose.

Supermarkets place expensive brand-name items on the ends of the aisles, to make the products down the aisles look much more enticing. These end cap items are rarely on sale.

Companies will also pay supermarkets to put their items on the ends.


According to studies, having dollar signs on menus discourages people from spending money. So next time you go out to eat, pay attention to whether your menu uses dollar signs or simple numbers to give the costs.

Mini packages of items are great for buying snacks, but studies show that they actually cause you to consume more than you would normally.

This means that you'll be back at the grocery store a lot quicker to stock back up, than if you had just bought a single regular-sized pack.

flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Baskets encourage you to buy more, and carts make people want to fill them. In one study, researchers doubled the size of their grocery carts... and found that people bought 19% more.

Always hand-carry purchases if you can, to save money.

When a discount is easy to calculate, we psychologically think it's a better bargain. 

"Originally $20, now $15" is more enticing than "Originally $20, now $13.98" even though the latter will save you more.

Beware of holiday shopping!

Color psychologists say that bright red stimulates and energizes the brain, encouraging you to spend more than usual.

Stores know that many parents take their kids grocery shopping with them. And they also know that many kids have the power to convince their parents to buy them things that they want!

This explains why things like sugary cereals are kept on the second shelf of isles, right at eye level to children.

Many stores hide generic brands on the bottom shelves. This keeps them out of the line of site, so that people are more likely to buy the expensive brand-name versions of products instead. 

Have you ever noticed that some checkout lanes are so narrow, you can barely fit through?

Stores do this on purpose, to make it more difficult to put things back that you decide you don't want. They also put things like candy and gum right in front of you, so they're easy to reach when you're ready to pay.

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