We've all had it. A surprise madcap moment that takes you on a journey of spotting an object to adding it to your bag, to bringing it to the checkout, to paying an unforeseen amount of money, with or without a guilty pleasure in what feels like an eternity that lasted seconds. No commitment, no time to reflect, zero anticipation about the future.

Later on, it really depends on the purchase whether we regret it or not. On some occasions, the impulse buy turns out to be the best thing that happened to you that day, or even that week. Just take a look at this thread from Twitter user Rachel Syme. “Ok, it's May, everyone is burnt out, everyone needs one thing in their life they can spend less than $30 and feel a fleeting but heart-quickening thrill,” she wrote and added that: “It is time for a surprise madcap on a budget thread. Tell me the best thing you bought to enhance your life for under thirty.”

And oh boy, this has hit all too close to home. From Sicilian lemon marmalade and a disco ball planter to a remote-controlled helium-filled flying shark and a snail-shaped boy dispenser, you are about to realize your impulse lava lamp is not that weird, if weird at all.

Image credits: rachsyme

Image credits: rachsyme

To find out more about the complex psychology behind impulse buying, we spoke with Hans Schumann, the international Executive Career & Life Coach, with a background in law and financial services going back 20 years. Schumann confirmed that some people are more prone to impulse buying than others, depending on their personality type, people prioritize either doing, feeling or thinking. “The ‘DOers’ are most likely to act impulsively. The ‘Feelers’ are most likely to base buying decisions on feelings. Thinkers are more likely to take time, consider Pros and Cons and alternative options,” he explained.

#3

Weird Impulse Buys

VintageJoyFinds Report

IlovemydogShilo
Community Member
6 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You Look AMAZING!!! There is a poem called Warning by Jenny Joseph that I think could refer to you. When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit. You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes. But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers. But maybe I ought to practise a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

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Sometimes impulse shopping can become a problem. Schumann said that it happens when we catch ourselves frequently regretting our buying decisions. “Maybe you end up with a lot of purchases you don’t really need or that disappoint you. You could waste a lot of money. The impulse could also turn into a compulsion that you struggle to stop and that gets you into significant debt.”

Part of an urge to buy impulsively had to do with the fact that it makes us feel better. "Any purchase can make us feel better. That’s why people invented the term 'retail therapy.'  In fact, I would say that most people shop to make them feel better, to compensate for emotional issues in their life. Yet, the positive feeling is often short-lived and needs to be constantly refreshed with new purchases," Schumann said and added that it can turn into an addiction.

#9

Weird Impulse Buys

blueskybody Report

Samantha Power
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I always have flowers in my apartment, they brighten up my life :)

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Consumerism is designed to make us buy things we never planned, Schumann argues. “We see adverts or goods displayed we did not even know existed. Marketing experts are skilled at making us believe that we need the product and that we will feel better buying it. If we only bought essentials, capitalist economies would suffer,” the life coach concluded.

#12

Weird Impulse Buys

TintedEdges Report

Braineating Spleen
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Where in Kenilworth? I feel a Saturday road trip on the horizon.

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In fact, Slickdeals, the platform for shopping, commissioned a year-over-year survey on impulse spending and found that respondents spend an average of $276 every month, a 51% increase from the average $183 per month reported in April 2020. That adds up to $3,312 annually, or a whopping $198,720 over the course of their lifetime. Moreover, one year of pandemic later, Americans are still impulsively buying the all-time favorite main essentials: food/groceries (48%), household items (42%), clothing (40%) and coffee (33%).

#13

Weird Impulse Buys

virtualanimegf Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I read "I got the cat one" as you bought one for your cat. It's early.

The Other Guest
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well, if the strawberries don't grow, she could plant it with catnip or cat grass & then it would be for the cat :-)

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Maartje
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Had one! My pandas tongue turned black.. :(

Who Panda 420
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think there are a lot of ways online to make these kinds of things yourself they're awesome.

Nicole Holt
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Found on amazon and ordered. So happy.

Vicko Fidelis
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Do you still have to pour water in that bowl?

Anthony Nizza
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wonder what the tongues are made of that the water soaks up into them.

Sassafrass
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwiqlN3V5-_3AhXoIa0GHWHnD5UYABAJGgJwdg&ae=2&sig=AOD64_0ypdiwJbyTdL9LWv7nMCV_EPdpBw&ctype=5&q=&ved=2ahUKEwjpktHV5-_3AhWKjokEHX9UAVYQwg8oAHoECAEQEA&dct=1&adurl=

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Another 2016 study by researchers at Princeton University named "Dark Patterns At Scale" found that people are much more likely to spend money when they are stressed out. It’s because stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that helps us respond quickly and effectively to threats in our environment. In the modern and developed world, the stressors we face often are not physical but psychological. Businesses seem to have nailed the ways of capitalizing on that.

“Behavioral responses to stress in our modern environment — replete with conveniences such as big box stores and restaurants — do not necessarily affect one’s ability to stay alive versus face death,” the 2016 study noted. “However, performing strategic behaviors in response to stress may help an individual function in day-to-day life.”

#16

Weird Impulse Buys

KarenAKeely Report

DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My parents would use unused christmas wrapping paper in our drawers, it was always so festive.

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Meanwhile, a great body of research on consumer behavior also shows that a deeper problem is at work when impulse buying, and that’s instant gratification. When we are feeling stressed, tired, or anxious, it is more difficult to make thoughtful decisions using the rational part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex. Often, emotions take over via the limbic system.

As if that wasn’t enough, the act of shopping offers a hit of dopamine — thus making us feel immediately gratified — when we are stressed out. With online shopping, however, the researchers noticed an interesting thing. They suggest it offers not just one point of gratification, as we usually see in in-store shopping, but two points of it: one when you press “buy” and another delayed point of gratification when the item is delivered to you.

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#23

Weird Impulse Buys

AmandaChanguris Report

Madeleine Flowers
Community Member
6 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can still see the word b***h through the blurry panel.

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#27

Weird Impulse Buys

jolenestarshine Report

Alan Green
Community Member
6 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's a joke there somewhere about leaving a snail trail on the bed but I wont go there. . . whoops.

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#30

Weird-Impulse-Buys

AnnaB58004861 Report

chad johnson
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We had one like that (had a hard time finding a harness for chucky Chihuahua) called her our "Tactical Chihuahua" if you have been around the breed then you understand :)

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#34

Weird Impulse Buys

glamcookie1 Report

Leona
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

even with the evil face it's beyond cute..love it

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#35

Weird-Impulse-Buys

bungalowgirlpdx Report

MAL
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have these and only send them to people I really like.

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#37

Weird-Impulse-Buys

peekabooveach Report

LH25
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have a crimper much like that I bought for paper crafting. I'll have to see if that works

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#38

Weird-Impulse-Buys

linagato Report

HarperTheCentaur (they/them)
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Haha, the exact ramen I eat! I have this for lunch at least once a week. Maybe I should get these...

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#39

Weird Impulse Buys

jjdebenedictis Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Awesome! I've needed this my whole life. I hate the soapy mess the bar leaves on the side of the sink.

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#40

Weird Impulse Buys

ovenandbun Report

Note: this post originally had 120 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.