Skip Nav
Budget Tips
101 Costumes to DIY on the Cheap
5 Lifesaving Habits of a Real-Life Professional Organizer
Removing These 31 Things From Your Life Will Make You Happier and More Successful 

Does Using a Cart Make You Buy More Groceries?

Do You Buy More Groceries When You Use a Cart?

Believe it or not, there was a time when shopping carts weren't so popular. When they were first introduced into grocery stores in the late 1930s they made everyone self-conscious: men thought carts would make them seem weak, women thought the carts were too ugly, and older people didn't want to seem helpless. Sylvan Goldman, a grocery store owner and inventor of the shopping cart, hired models of both sexes and of various ages to push carts around the store and pretend they were shopping. His marketing technique obviously worked, because soon after stores were redesigned with the cart in mind.

Psychology surrounding shopping carts hasn't changed since their invention. Goldman created them because he wanted an easier shopping experience for customers and a cart would prompt them to buy more. Now, shopping carts are strategically placed to greet you on your way into stores and we're likely to buy more when we use a cart just because there's room.


Join The Conversation
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 9 years
I love grocery shopping for some unknown reason. I don't know, I just love to buy them and go through every aisle. I always get a cart, because we always buy a lot. Though also, I always bag the stuff myself (I was a cashier) because they always put my eggs on the bottom!
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
I think all the carts have wonky wheels.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
This past year I have really focused on what I really need to buy. I started going to the store with cash that way I am more aware of what I am actually spending. I used to buy way too much produce but I have learned to be more realistic about what I can eat in a week and now I am not wasting as much money.
CoconutPie CoconutPie 9 years
I don't make lists and I grocery shop a few times a week. I simply buy what we feel like having in the next two or three days. Cart or no cart, doesn't change anything.
demeter demeter 9 years
Yes. It's kind of hard not to.
fashionista119 fashionista119 9 years
I almost always use a cart, since I usually have my 1yo Son with me and he needs somewhere to sit. I'm not tempted to fill it just 'cause the space is there though, I stick to my lists.
emalove emalove 9 years
I always use a cart. But my husband and I are pretty good about sticking to mainly the things on our list.
tee0206 tee0206 9 years
I try to shop with a basket JUST so I won't be tempted to buy more!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Nope. I can only eat very little per day because of my GBS surgery. So food rots and I hate wasting money so only necessities and staples in normal amounts go in my empty cart. I often feel stupid from grabbing a cart or basket for a few items but I hate doing things because I lose dexterity in my hands occasionally.
Marci Marci 9 years
I always shop from a list and rarely buy anything not on it. Living in Manhattan, we don't often shop with a cart, but we'll do a big stock up shopping on Long Island every 2 months or so and we definitely fill those carts up. :)
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
I only buy what is needed but yet it always seems to add up so quickly. I hate grocery shopping!
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
Sometimes, but not always. Most of the time when I go the cart ends up only being 1/3 full.
Daisie Daisie 9 years
I don't *think* I buy more just because I have a basket. I hate to grocery shop...well I hate unloading the car and putting things I only go every 10-14 days. I need the cart. If I am just running in I take what I think I need: nothing if I want one thing (yes, usually end up with an armful), a basket if I want unwieldy things or a cart if it's a water or litter run.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Yes, but why do I always end up with the cart with the wonky wheel? I usually just get a basket, because I hate having to maneuver the cart around the store and other people and their kids.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
I only get a cart when I know I have a lot of stuff to buy, or when there are heavy items such as juice and milk cartons, or bottled water, on my grocery list. But seriously, I always end up buying more than I need. One thing I do now is avoid the center aisles, that's where most of the unhealthy food is located anyways!!
inertia inertia 9 years
If I had a car, I'd probably use a cart and buy more, and might even be tempted to buy soda. But since I have to carry all my groceries home on foot, I always use a basket to make sure I never get more than I can comfortably carry. If the basket starts to get heavy just while I'm in the store, I know it's time to head for the checkout. And I can't afford to waste the weight allowance on bottled drinks, so I just drink tap water, which is cheaper and probably healthier.
stina829 stina829 9 years
Yeah... I go in wanting to buy a carton of milk and when I leave I wonder how in the world I spent $50 and have 5 bags full of crap. LOL
Angelica Angelica 9 years
I totally overstock when I have a big cart. I start piling in the jumbo packs I could never use.
erratic-assassin erratic-assassin 9 years
We get groceries once every week so we mosdef use a cart....but if during the week we run low on milk, I walk into the store and buy JUST THAT.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I use a cart and I always stick to my list. Sometimes I borrow my mom's cart which is long and narrow and you can navigate through the aisles much easier.
heineken67 heineken67 9 years
I never use a cart. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure where the carts are in my supermarket. They must be there somewhere, because I've almost been run over a couple times.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
Not at all. I make a list and stick to it.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
No, I only buy what's on the list. If its a sale on a particular item, I think about the store value vs my fridge value.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
When I shop at Trader Joe's I always grab a basket because I know that if I grabbed a cart I would totally fill it up.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I usually use a basket which I usually pack full and decide I can't hold any more and thats enough.
Apple Store Employee Secrets Revealed
Target App Helps Customers Find Items in Store
Goodwill Employee Secrets
Amazon Employee Secrets
From Our Partners
Latest Afforable DIY & Organization
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds