Have you ever looked at the candy or the gum at the checkout aisle and felt like you were being targeted? Well, you were. Stores have a number of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to making sure you walk out with more than you wanted to buy when you came in. We’ve rounded up a few of the tricks they use so that you know what to watch out for.

The Gruen Effect

Do you ever walk into a store and find yourself confused about where things might be located? Turns out this isn’t an accident. As you wander, you’re more likely to pass items to buy.

It’s All About the Syllables

The brain may actually interpret 27 as more than 28 on a knee-jerk ‘feelings’ level, since it has more syllables in the words themselves.


Showing a price in several installments helps the buyer forget what the total overall cost will be. And that’s before you even get into interest rates, if they apply.

Odd Numbers

Oddly enough, you’re more likely to purchase something that’s $10.99 than $10.98. Stores will tend to price items ending in odd numbers.

No Dollar Signs

A fancy restaurant can get you to spend more on the steak by removing the dollar signs from the menu. This helps you forget that the number there is actually the money from your wallet.

Play Up Nostalgia

Have you ever walked into a store and seen something from your childhood painted all over shirts and accessories? Stores love to play up nostalgia and your love of yesteryear in order to convince you to buy more today.

Just You

Some stores will try to sell you on the idea that you’re getting in on an exclusive club by shopping there. And they’ll sell the idea to the next guy, too.


Buying one and getting one at a discount isn’t necessarily a bad deal…as long as you get use out of the second item, too.

$9.99 vs. $10

Your brain will often perceive something that’s just one cent less as significantly less, especially in a jump from something like $9.99 to $10.

Expensive-Sounding Ingredients

They’ll play up expensive-sounding ingredients, regardless of how much those ingredients actually contribute to the final cost. This is especially true in food and personal hygiene products.