By Vicki Santillano, DivineCaroline
I walked into the grocery store last night with the intention of grabbing a few things for dinner. Forty-five minutes later, I walked out with a lighter wallet, two full bags of groceries, and only the vaguest idea of what was in them. Why did my in-and-out shopping trip turn into an almost hour-long session of meandering through aisles? How did a couple of ingredients for dinner multiply into boxes of cereal, canned goods, and shaving gel? And more important, why does this happen to almost everyone I know?
Here’s a refreshing fact: we’re not entirely to blame for our lack of impulse control. Studies have shown that we make anywhere from 20 to 75 percent of buying decisions once we’ve already started shopping. That’s because there are forces at work in grocery stores compelling us to reach for things we didn’t even know we wanted. In fact, certain sections of the supermarket are specifically designed for that very purpose. We tend to think of grocery stores as humble purveyors of food, but like any retail business, their main purpose is to make a profit off your money — and if you wander by any of these areas of the market, chances are, you’ll help them succeed.