There is a magical phenomenon that happens in every Target store. You wander in with a small shopping list – something so light to the point that you barely need a basket. Suddenly, your three item shopping list becomes four and then five, and soon you’re trading in your basket for a cart.

And while you may have gone in thinking you weren’t going to spend more than $20, you end up coming out having spent $200. It’s incredible how that happens, but there is actually a science behind it.

While you may feel guilty overspending at Target, just know that you’re not alone. In fact, a Business Insider report has shown that Target is well-aware of what is happening to their shoppers every time they walk in their store. In fact, Target sometimes actively encourages its customers to go a little wild on their shopping trips by using some psychology tricks on them. The internet has come to call it the “Target Effect.” And yes, we’ve probably all been personally victimized by this clever use of psychology.

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As Mary Hanbury with Business Insider reports, Target has a personalized layout which makes it easy for shoppers to get lost in the commercial vortex of Target. And if you think about it, it’s actually pretty genius too. If you’re wheeling your cart along the store’s “main pathway,” you’re forced to confront all sections of the store. This means that you’re walking by home goods, food, cosmetics, toys, clothing, etc., – all the different possibilities to catch your eye.

Adding on to the store’s layout is also the fact that Target purposely makes their interiors feel warm, inviting, and well-organized, all factors that lead to their customers taking their time and staying longer in store. This, of course, means more temptations that we can’t resist.

And before you start thinking that it’s just someone’s opinion, there have actually been studies conducted on this phenomenon.

Several studies have shown that retail customers will almost always spend more time, and, therefore, more money when they’re in environments that make them feel welcomed and calm.

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Can we join this #TargetRun squad? Happy #GalentinesDay! 💕 #TargetBaeChallenge 📷: @sarahvanderfordphotography

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Well played, Target, well played. But that only scratches the surface of Target’s “Target Effect,” and Business Insider went into much more detail in the video below:

What do you think of the Target effect? Let us know!