The honey trap is a form of psychological manipulation that is employed by the retail industry to subliminally influence the shopper. Just as a monthly car loan payment can make you think an expensive car is affordable, a honey trap can get you into buying things you don’t really need. This methods are frequently employed at the supermarket.
This manipulation has, in the past, come under close scrutiny by advertising and retail watchdogs, the most common being the placement of enticingly designed goods like sweets, toys and corn flakes within the eye-line and reach of children.
To avoid this manipulation we need to begin before we enter the store. Good shopping practice begins at home when we are deciding what it is we need for our weekly or monthly groceries. In fact, it is best to begin with a decision that you only need to shop once a week or month. Daily shopping means that you are more likely to be indecisive and therefore more likely to be swayed by clever placement and attractive deals.
Firstly, make a list and only buy what is on your list. One of the traps in supermarkets is to provide an offer for one product if only you buy the other. The most typical offer of this kind is the 3 for 2 offers. It is often the case that you only need one of the product and will then buy 2 to get the third free. However, these offers are only good for you if you would ordinarily have bought those items in the course of your grocery shop for the month. Otherwise you are still spending more than you planned for.
The stickers placed on the individual products for this type of deal are normally in red, yellow or orange so that it can get your attention. The products are then placed in highly visible locations: the corners of the aisles or the front of the shelves and usually between 60 and 75 inches off the floor level, as this is the average shoppers’ eye level.
Furthermore, there will be little signs, again at eye-level, that will let you know that these products exist but without giving you the exact location of the product. The aim of this is to increase search time. Other methods of increasing search times are confusing floor layouts and separating essential products such as milk and bread or eggs. The trick with increased search times is that you are more exposed to the other deals that are on offer and will therefore be more likely to spend.
Avoiding supermarket honey traps is an art form on its own. The trick is to decide what you want to buy before you go into the store, know where the goods are that you want and only take advantage of offers that make sense for you.