Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

Weekdays 3:00PM-7:00PM

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The ‘I went to Target for one thingandspent $120’ thing is real. Almost all of us have overspent in the store. Target has so many things that once you’re in the store, you realize you need something. Just before I saw this story, I made a list of things to get there. To save myself from impulse buys, I’ll buy stuff on their app and pick it up so I’m not tempted to spend silly. There’s a psychological reason so many of us spend so much money at Target. 

According to Best Life, the ‘Target Effect’ is real. You don’t lack self-control; this effect is real and it’s called the Gruen Transfer. This is a retail strategy to overwhelm shoppers to get them to buy more. I’ve never thought about this before but when I shop at certain places, I do feel a bit overwhelmed. For a while I wondered if I had ADD. Now I know this happens to most people.

Target and other stores have strategies to distract us when we’re shopping, including tapping into our desire to treat ourselves. This leads to more time shopping in the store and overspending. Even if you’re like me and organized, the Gruen Transfer effect can still get you to overspend. I make a list before I go into any store and have a plan. However, I don’t always stick to the list.

Most of us will go into Target for lotion and paper towels and end up looking at shoes and clothes. LOL! I feel a bit better now knowing I’m not alone. According to this article, the best way to fight the ‘Target Effect’ is to make a list and stick to it. No matter how hard it is! Avoid the pretty colors and shiny things and keep looking at your list so you stay focused. Try to avoid shopping when you’re hungry or in a bad mood. Both cause us to make more impulse buys.

If you ever grocery shop when you’re hungry or cranky, you’ve ended up buying stuff that wasn’t on your list. If I’m hungry and walk into Publix and smell their freshly baked bread, I’m done! And if I’m cranky or in a bad mood, I’ll end up buying ice cream or some other sweet treat to make myself feel better.

If you’ve never tried Target’s app, it helps with this effect and keeps distracting things from your eyes. You get what’s on your list and pick up your stuff without going into the store. Drive into the parking lot and they’ll bring your stuff out to you. It definitely helps you with the impulse buying.

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