You’re just running into the drugstore to pick up some deodorant and posterboard for your U.S. history project. But when you emerge, you’ve got three bulging shopping bags, a receipt a mile long, and you’re out $40 of your birthday money. What just happened?
Blame the store, which was probably playing with your brain. Businesses have a ton of sneaky tricks they use to mess with your mind and get you to buy, buy, buy. In fact, companies have spent billions studying how to seduce you into opening your wallet! Crazy, right?
Whether you’re shopping online or in your favorite store, nothing is accidental, says psychologist Paco Underhill, a retail consultant who studies the science of shopping. That’s why we compiled some of the most common tactics stores may use to trick you, so you can recognize them—and keep your hard-earned cash for the stuff you really need.