Lifestyle

Why it’s impossible to buy one thing at Kmart, according to science

It’s not our fault, okay?!

By Erin Cook

Have you ever gone into Kmart for just one thing, only to emerge three hours later with five pairs of underwear, a cat toy, exercise tights, pots and pans and a novelty mug?

Honestly, same.

If fact, it's hard to remember a time that we've ever pulled off the "I just need one thing" Kmart shop without dropping $50 or so on shit we probably (read: definitely) don't need.

The Kmart effect is real. But we shouldn't feel guilty — according to Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business, department stores, including Kmart, are designed to make us buy more than we actually need.

"Stores have an idea about the path [shoppers take]," Meyvis told Refinery29. "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. So when people come in for something in one category, you can cross-sell, you can sell them something that compliments in the next product category by making sure they're right next to each other."

The cross-sell! They always get us with the cross-sell!

In theory, this knowledge should help us regain some sense of self-control during our next Kmart shop. But let's be real — at this stage, we're beyond help.

WATCH NEXT: 7 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL ONLINE SHOPPING