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How shopping malls can fool you!

Shopping malls

Why blame anyone for fooling you? Nobody can fool you. We are the ones who fall prey to marketing tactics, if we succumb to our emotional biases and impulses. Our inability to control emotionally driven instinctive decisions makes us fall into traps. Let us understand how to avoid traps when we shop in a mall.

As highlighted in my previous columns, in spite of people earning enough, a lot of people are not able to save enough! Where does the money go? There are two strong reasons behind the inability to save money; these are “chasing the best” & “buying things beyond your budget”. Let’s understand how these tendencies get a boost due to shopping malls. We’ll compare how we shop from a supermarket versus a local kirana store.

Scenario 1: Shopping from a Supermarket

How much did you spend on your last visit to a supermarket? Perhaps Rs. 4000/- to 5000/-.

Let’s see how you buy from a supermarket. You come across a salesman, who gives you a trolley the moment you enter. (tip: Never take a trolley in a supermarket. It’s easy to fill it up with products you did not intend on buying. Take a basket instead which you have to carry around.) You keep filling up that trolley with products you did not plan on buying. For example, you buy food items thinking that guests keep dropping in. There are shelves filled with a variety of beautifully packaged products that fuel impulsive buying, proving the point that “jo dikhta he vo bikta he”, “whatever is seen can be sold.”

Why do you buy the way you buy?

Visiting a mall is an event in itself. You plan in advance and are ready to travel 10-15 kilometres from your house. How can you then come out empty handed? You get a feeling that “Khaya piya kuch nahi glass toda dabaraana”, as a result of which you feel obligated to buy things you do not actually need.

Scenario 2: Shopping from a small kirana store

Do you often buy things beyond your specific requirements from a local kirana store and indulge in impulsive buying? No, your main focus here remains on buying what is required and getting out of the shop as quickly as possible, right? There is always a struggle to get space in a small shop and you just manage to get your hand out amongst the crowd and usually say “Bhaiyya, jara jaldi karna”. You are mostly engrossed in your cell phone and in all likelihood you leave your vehicle running, if you are with a friend or spouse.


The intention here is not to discourage you from shopping in malls or shopping online but to explain how we buy and fall prey to various tactics rather than taking advantage of the same. In fact, online shopping also induces people to make a lot of unnecessary purchases similar to malls, but if you can prepare a list, optimise the available offers, and religiously stick to your requirements, then shopping from a mall or online could prove to be more advantageous.