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So, if you’re just like us, you might often be making this one simple mistake: Returning home only to find you forgot to buy something on a shopping trip. Do you drag your feet in the grocery store thinking about the stuff you wanted to buy? (Because, who doesn’t?)
So, researchers suggest you become smarter and make a to-do-list on your phone or carry a list along to reduce the chances of returning home empty handed.
Researchers suggest you make a to-do-list on your phone or carry a list along to reduce the chances of returning home empty handed.
For this, the team observed more than 700 consumers in different scenarios. In first study, the investigators gave people a list of 10 to 20 fruits and vegetables.
Half of the participants received a list with familiar items such as apples, bananas and broccoli while the list for the other half included uncommon items like beetroots, coconuts and figs.
They discovered that when people were shopping for things they don’t buy regularly, they had better success remembering everything if they walked through all the aisles rather than relying on memory.
“For unusual purchases, this is a more effective approach because seeing the product will trigger the memory,” said Daniel Fernandes from Catholic University of Portugal.
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If people were buying familiar items, there was no need to cruise all the aisles. They could successfully rely on memory and go directly to the items.
“One of our key findings is that people don’t correctly anticipate when they are more likely to forget items and when we have something in our mind, it is hard to imagine that we will forget it,” Fernandes added in the paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
This failure to predict our forgetfulness suggests that people should always bring a shopping list.
These findings could also have broader implications for performance at work. “To maximise our effectiveness on the job, it’s important to pay special attention to less familiar tasks and put them on the agenda,” Fernandes noted.