Though you may not have known there's an Urban Dictionary phrase for your spending habits, I'm here to tell you there is, and it's called the Target Effect. While it's an ongoing joke among Twitter users and meme makers, experts told Refinery 29 it's indisputably a real thing.
If you've ever stepped foot inside a Target (for all that Hearth & Hand with Magnolia stuff or its absolutely adorable Halloween decorations), you know the struggle of attempting to leave with just what's on your list. Don't fret, you're clearly not alone:
According to Urban Dictionary, the Target Effect is simply: "The result of going into a, intending to buy a few things, and leaving with much more. Frequently happens while at ." In other words? Repeatedly falling wallet-first into Target's brilliant marketing trap.
In each of R29's interviews with experts, they all seem to emphasize just how important store design is — physical placement of objects, "psychological pricing," lighting, colors, etc. While some people buy more because they found related items next to each other or they were all "under $10," AKA $9.99, others get excited by the bright lights and colors, which make them feel happy and well, happier to spend.
Target's VP of Store Design, Joe Perdew, says it himself: "We’ve added features like dynamic product vignettes throughout the store that help guests envision how things will fit into their lives. ... Our revamped Beauty department looks like a specialty shop and is designed to invite guests to try out products, and in Home, products are cross-merchandised and displayed in lifestyle settings, so guests can imagine what they’ll look like in their own homes."
To make a long story short, Perdew says, "That whole 'I came in for shampoo and left with two carts full of other things' phenomenon is real!" Plus, by 2020 more than 1,000 Target stores will be getting a makeover making them extra appealing. Wish me luck.
(h/t Apartment Therapy)
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