I know I have shared in the past that I don't use the shopping carts at Target. Nor the baskets, most the time. If I can't hold it in my hands I don't need it. (Unless it's a very specific trip for more items or something larger). I have sometimes looked ridiculous and been asked if I need a basket, but it was worth not being tempted to spend more money.
So I felt, "Exactly!" when I saw this article yesterday:
There's a reason you can't leave Target without spending more than you planned—blame the shopping cart.
One of the very first shopping carts, invented in 1937, was simply a metal frame that held two wire shopping baskets. Eventually the design evolved to one basket, and the nesting capability was added for easy storage. The first shopping cart baby seats were added in the 1950s. For the next several decades, the shopping cart design remained the same—except when it came to size. The average shopping cart has almost tripled in size since 1975. From a stack of two hand baskets to the gigantic carts we see today, why the change?
Bigger Carts Lead to More Spending
There are a couple of theories out there as to why shopping carts have gotten bigger and bigger: wider shopping aisles and larger shopping budgets are leading people to buy more goods and groceries. But there could be a more subliminal reason: to trick the consumer into spending more. Marketing consultant Martin Lindstrom told Today that when the shopping cart was doubled in size in an experiment, shoppers would buy 40% more merchandise.
I had figured out that a shopping cart makes it way too easy to buy crap that you don't need. I had never really thought about how they make the carts bigger so that you can add more. It's kind of fascinating how much that works psychologically.
Skip the shopping cart next time. It really works.