It's what science is deeming "psychological pricing."

August 30, 2018
target store shopping
Credit: Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images

Most people who have ever set foot in a Target can understand the struggle of trying to go into the store and walk out with only one item.

This phenomenon has become known to some as the "Target Effect", with Urban Dictionary-a website which aggregates user-written definitions for slang words and phrases-describing it as "the result of going into a store, intending to buy a few things, and leaving with much more. Frequently happens while shopping at Target."

However, Refinery29 reports that this phenomenon isn't just a slang term or Instagram hashtag-experts confirm there's a scientific reason behind the impulse buying while in chain stores.

Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at New York University, told the website that because stores like Walmart and Target have such a large inventory, they can place products strategically to trick your brain into make cross-category associations.

"Stores have an idea about the path [shoppers take]," he said. "Walmart was once famous for doing things like putting like Band-Aids next to fishing hooks and things like that. Something you don't naturally associate, but once you see them there, it makes sense."

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