15 tricks grocery stores use to get you to spend more (and terrible ideas for trying to resist).

15 tricks grocery stores use to get you to spend more (and terrible ideas for trying to resist).

1. Delicious smells will make you hungrier.


You know you knead it.

That's why grocery stores often route you past baked goods and rotisserie chickens near the entrances.

A terrible idea for resisting: bring your own tiny vial of medieval smelling salts every time you shop.

2. Grocery stores also shepherd you past flowers and fresh fruits and vegetables near the entrance to make you feel better about the Double Stuffed Oreos you'll be buying later.

Bright colors make you happier, and you're more likely to buy wholesome food right as you begin to shop, before your willpower is broken. And then, once your cart is loaded with kale that's going to wilt in your fridge, you'll reward yourself with those chocolate covered almonds that are practically a health food.


A terrible idea for resisting: self-induced color blindness.

3. Essentials like milk, bread, and eggs are kept in the back.

So you need to walk through the entire store to get there.

A terrible idea for resisting: purchase a pair of horse blinders to wear throughout the duration of your grocery store excursion.

4. Grocery stores know you're more likely to see - and more likely to reach out to grab – products at eye level.


Another victim of the old put-things-where-you-can-see-them trick.

That's why they'll stock items there with the highest profit margin.

A terrible idea for resisting: Do deep lunges as you shop. VERY deep lunges.

5. That eye-level trick is also exploited with brightly colored products for kids.


Outta my way, I've got important shopping to do.


These are shelved at a lower level, right where your offspring can see something and beg, beg, beg you to buy it for them. Pleaaaase?

A terrible idea for resisting: send all of your children to be raised in Victorian orphanages.

6. As we Americans walk down an aisle, we tend to veer right.

Grocery stores put more expensive items on that side.

A terrible idea for resisting: spend a decade of your life in the United Kingdom until the practice of driving on the left side of the street is deeply and irrevocably ingrained in your brain.

7. Most stores are organized to herd you counterclockwise to make it easier for right-handed people to grab things.

A terrible idea for resisting: starting now, become a lefty. It's a good thing. Lots of presidents and artists were left-handed.


8. Grocery stores build long aisles that make it hard for you to leave without walking down its entire length.

A terrible idea for resisting: as soon as you get what you need, make a U-turn. Knock things over, hit people with your cart, whatever it takes.

9. In fact, they make it hard to leave the grocery store at all without walking through the entire thing.


There is no beginning. There is no end. The supermarket is eternal.

The layout is built like a Disney ride—one way straight through all of the shelves, and exits behind the checkouts to make it THAT much harder to leave without buying something.

A terrible idea for resisting: walk in through the exit and leave through the entrance. Who makes the rules here, you or them? It's you.

10. Like a casino, the grocery store game is trying to get you to stay there as long as possible.

To that end, they'll forgo windows and clocks so you forget the outside world exists at all.


A terrible pretty good idea for resisting: bring a futuristic, electronic device with you as you shop that can remind you of the time, perhaps one that can also make phone calls or send text messages. Never look away from it.

11. Listen to the music: music with a beat just slower than your heartbeat is proven to make you slow down (all the more time to find an impulse buy).

Classical music makes people buy more expensive items.

A terrible idea for resisting: maybe that futuristic electronic device has the capacity to play music. Blast Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap on its built-in speakers. No headphones.

12. Smaller floor tiles instinctually make you slow down in response to the faster clicking of your cart.

A terrible idea for resisting: Turn Acid Rap up even louder.

13. Giant grocery carts subconsciously make you want to fill them.

A terrible idea for resisting: don't use a cart. Balance everything in your arms like the world's most boring circus act.


14. Narrow checkout aisles make it harder to ditch things last minute.

A terrible idea for resisting: decide that you don't want those fourteen pints of ice cream after all? Chuck them behind you. Just throw them as far as you can. They're somebody else's problem now.

15. Free samples are delicious and hard to turn down.


Note: not actually how free samples work.

Which is good (for them), because a tiny bite will increase your appetite as you continue to shop.

A terrible idea for resisting: eat a sandwich or something before you go to the grocery store. This one is actually pretty good advice.