Inspired by our latest article on the psychology behind supermarket gimmicks, we discussed our personal experiences when it comes to this topic. Our collective answer to “Have store gimmicks ever fooled you?” may surprise you.


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Kat: So, what actually gets me a lot is when stores line up their samples and additional add-on type items to the waiting line at the register. We’re all just waiting for our turn to pay and we’re bored so we look around. But aha! They’ve planted what they want us to impulsively add on to our purchase, and boy does it work. Like, in Sephora they always get me with that.

Jerry: Yeah that’s true actually.

Theresa: Well, I’ve learned a lot about gimmicks in the process of writing the post. What I think is the most surprising is when supermarkets market advertise their products as having  “50% More!” but they’re really charging you for it. As customers, we think that’s a great value, but in reality, we’re paying more to get that extra quantity.

Kat: I didn’t know that!

Theresa: Yeah, exactly! How about you, Simon?

Simon: Well, mine is somewhat similar. Back in college I would see ads advertising 10 sodas for $10. It was a catchy marketing scheme, and I thought each time I had to buy ten sodas. But in reality, I didn’t. I realized much later that the deal still applies, even if you only buy a couple of sodas. They’re each only $1 but because of the phrasing, you think you have to buy ten.

Kat: Oh wow, I didn’t know that one either. How about you Gerry?

Jerry: One interesting way they get you is by advertising a buy two get one free deal, which is another great value. But in actuality, a similar offer you get more of a bargain for is the “50 cents off” type sale for as many as you want. They’ll adjust their prices so that when you’re “getting one free,” you’re not really getting it free. People tend to go for the first one though, because once again, it’s that mentality of getting value.

Theresa: Yeah, that’s one I read about too! It’s crazy how many tricks they have up their sleeves when it comes to getting us to spend.

So readers, there you have it! Even those on the MyBankTracker editorial team have fallen prey to clever marketing gimmicks. Has this every happened to you? Send us your comments on our Twitter, or on Facebook. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

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