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3 Tips To Avoid Being Seduced By Retailers

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With the busiest shopping season of the year upon us, consumers should be on their guard – not against the holiday crush, but a soothing environment that can lull customers into overspending.

Those free cocktail evenings or complimentary coffee and snacks some stores offer may end up coming with a hefty price tag, experts say — and what you can’t see may be just as lethal to your bank balance. Mall developer Westfield Group is rolling out cushy seating areas with couches and free Wi-Fi hotspots in the public areas in some of its 55 U.S. properties, The Wall Street Journal reports Thursday.

As previously reported by Pay Dirt, relaxed customers can end up paying over 80% more for a spa treatment or bungee jumping, according to a study published in the fall issue of Journal of Marketing Research. Why? The researchers say you will spend more time thinking of how you might love a piece of jewelry rather than the financial ramifications of taking it home.

Here are Pay Dirt’s top 3 tips for staying on guard:

1. Don’t park yourself in comfortable chairs: This is tactic is used to great effect by furniture stores – obviously – but it’s also commonplace in clothing stores and cafés like Starbucks. As Johan Stenebo, author of The Truth About IKEA, told Pay Dirt, the quiet area lulls you into a false sense of security: “That’s the hot-hot-hot spot and that’s where retailers put their products they want to get rid of.”

2. Think twice before taking the escalator: You’re tired, you could go home, but then you spot that highway to retail heaven leading to the unknown. All you have to do is stand and catch your breath until you reach the top. Finding an escalator going toward an exit door is a different story. “This has not happened by accident,” according to SpaceHijackers, a group dedicated to reclaiming public space.

3. Stop looking at the man in the mirror. You may have heard about the “skinny mirrors” that are glazed to make you look slimmer, but all kinds of mirrors are a unique and unthreatening form of escapism, SpaceHijackers say: “Mirrors are regularly used on the front of shops in shopping centers and high streets to slow down the traffic and make people spend time in front of the shop.”

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    • The very best tip is to stay home.

    • HA Ron! Agree!

    • Are you serious? That’s it? You have wasted my time.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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