You’ve probably fallen victim to one or more of these shifty tricks retailers use to make you fork over precious loot.

Figuring out how shoppers react to certain stimuli is big business. Results impact retailers’ efforts on everything from store layout to how they treat you. You’ve probably fallen victim to one or more of these shifty tricks retailers use to make you fork over precious loot.

  • The water supermarkets spray on vegetables does nothing except make them look fresher. In fact, water causes them to rot faster.

  • Big box stores such as Walmart will generally take a “loss” on popular household items like milk and sell it for less than its competitors — but then place it at the back of the store so someone has to walk past numerous other items to get to it.

  • In recent years, stores have started using larger bags and carts, which subconsciously guide the consumer to shop more to fill the void, unwittingly buying as much as 19 percent more than they intended to.

  • Certain department stores will place more expensive items next to a median-priced item to induce what’s called the compromise price effect — or where the customer believes they got a better deal because they bought the cheaper of the two, but still paid full price for.

  • The smell of flowers, baked goods and rotisserie chicken activate salivary glands, which is why they’re usually placed at the front. When active, it’s been proven the glands make shoppers more likely to make impulsive buys.

  • Research shows that feelings of nostalgia make people value money less and pay more.

  • Subtle physical contact by a woman, like touching of the shoulder, is strongly influential in a man’s financial risk taking. This doesn’t work, however, when a man touches a woman.

  • Luxury retailers have found that acting like an asshole to a customer creates a feeling of being left out, thereby raising a wealthy buyer’s desire to purchase more.


How to avoid the traps:

Wear headphones with your own music:
The soft music in stores is designed to slow heart rate, thereby making people wander around aimlessly at a slower pace like an idiot.

Make a list and stick to it:
You make better financial choices when you’re sitting at home thinking about what you need, rather than shopping for what you think you want.

Turn it into a game:
They want to screw you, why don’t you screw them instead? Challenge yourself to save more each week, while teaching yourself how to not fall victim to their filthy lies.


Sources:, Reader's Digest, TIME Magazine, Psychological Science and