How Clearance Sales Trick Your Brain (And How To Fight Back)

How Clearance Sales Trick Your Brain (And How To Fight Back)

When we see the word “clearance” or “sale” in big bold letters, it’s irresistible. We have to at least get a glimpse of what’s on sale. Then, somehow, we end up walking out with junk we didn’t want or need. Sales trick our brain in a number of ways, and Psychology Today goes through them along with a variety of ways to fight back.

We’re all susceptible to falling for a good sale or irresistible bargain. Part of that comes from manipulative advertising, but it’s also our brain’s fault. Fortunately, it’s easy to fight back.

For example, one of the reasons we gravitate towards clearance sales is because we view shopping as a competition. When we find a great deal, we “win”, and we share those winnings with our friends and family. The best way to stop yourself from doing that is to just take a breather:

Time is the solution. Take time and few calm moments to level off the excitement of the moment. It’ll reduce the chance of making ultimately an unsatisfying purchase.

Another way sales trick us is with assumed values. Essentially, we don’t understand why one pair of shoes is $US400 and another is $US80. So when we see the $US400 shoes on sale, we automatically think they’re the best deal, even if they’re not the best shoes for us. The fix is super easy:

The cure is to imagine the sale price as the initial, unreduced price and ask yourself if you’d be as excited.

Your brain tricks you in all kinds of ways when you’re out shopping, and even numbers have an effect on your shopping. Your best defence is to remain aware of how your brain tricks you, how advertisers trick you, and just take a little time before making purchases.

Why Clearance Sales are Psychologically “Irresistible” [Psychology Today]

Picture: Daniel Oines/Flickr


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