How to Spend Smart in a Supermarket

The incessant beeping of scanners cuts through the commotion of trolleys squeaking and the apparent relaxing music is betrayed by the groans of people pulled down by the weight of their baskets. Scent of freshly baked bread makes your stomach grumble and tempts you to delve deeper into the shop and the aisles beyond. Nevertheless, ‘DO NOT’ be tempted. It’s a war out there and the supermarkets are not on your side. More often than not, we buy things we do not need (often at arbitrary prices) and for ridiculous reasons. When stores play soothing music, shoppers are more likely to linger for longer. Shoppers are more susceptible to persuasion if they are in a good mood. Retailers have spent billions in research just to get inside our heads. They strategically place sweetened cereals at your seven year Old’s eye-level. They will even use attractive scents to encourage spending and block the aisles with traffic jams in front of the things they want to sell. Studies indicate that the amount of time a shopper spends in a store determines how much they will buy.

Yet this conniving phenomenon is not entirely new. Ernest Dichter (psychologist and marketing expert) used this insight and turned it into a million dollar craft. In his book (The Strategy of Desire), he saw what irrational buying offered for smart selling. Sigmund Freud also held the view that marketplace decisions are governed by irrational and unconscious urges. Dichter increased typewriter sales by suggesting the mechanics be modeled on the female body. Previously, baking only required the cook to add only water. He believed that women equate baking to femininity. If a woman pulls a cake out of the oven, it is as if she has given birth. Therefore mixing that requires only water is marginalizing their role as productive beings. Thanks to him, nearly all mixes involves adding eggs as a core ingredient. This symbolizes fertility. Dichter believed that every product had a ‘soul’. Everything we possess are an extension of our personalities, be it a car, clothes or the laptop you are currently using to read this article. Here are some tips that will ultimately save you the elusive cash in the long run.

-Spend less time in stores.

-Shun baskets. They induce you to buy more. Only use them when necessary.

-Avoid free samples. This is because they are likely to make you want the product.

-Avoid employee (store attendants) contact. The more employee-shopper contact, the greater the average sale.

-Formulate a list and stick to it.

There is nothing random about how a supermarket is organized. Everything is carefully arranged to appeal to you. Shop with a purpose. They have a plan and so should you. Be smart about it