There's a scientific reason why you spend so much at Target

If you're like the rest of us, you can't leave Target without emptying your wallet.

We’ve all been there: You walk into Target with a very clear, defined list of what you need to buy. Then it’s suddenly a few hours later, and you’re carrying at least a dozen new items that you don’t need (but just couldn’t resist!) out the door. What gives?

We’ve all been there: You walk into Target with a very clear, defined list of what you need to buy. Then it’s suddenly a few hours later, and you’re carrying at least a dozen new items that you don’t need (but just couldn’t resist!) out the door. What gives?

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Best products for fall 2018 from Target
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Turns out, science can explain why you can’t help but spend too much time—and money—at your local Target store. And the reason is as simple as it is deceptive!

Unlike other outlets, Target doesn’t play music in the background while its customers shop. But because studies suggest that listening to music increases your productivity, as well as your mood, shopping in silence, could have the opposite effect. A lack of background music could lead you to wander aimlessly around the store, become distracted by something cute, and ultimately find more things that you need (read: want). Long story short? Your local Target’s silence could be the culprit for your endless (and expensive!) shopping woes.

But that could all be changing soon. According to The Minneapolis Business JournalTarget has begun to slowly integrate music into about 65 of its stores, with plans to triple that number by the end of the year. The retail giant will showcase a playlist that’s “upbeat, positive and has a playful personality,” according to a Target spokesperson.

Still, unless one of your local stores is scheduled for a tune-up, try plugging in some headphones for a speedy—and wallet-friendly—shopping trip. And don’t forget these amazing tricks to save money at Target.

More info for all Target lovers below!

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8 insider facts about shopping at Target
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8 insider facts about shopping at Target

Target has a state-of-the-art forensics program to catch shoplifters, among other things

Apparently CSI: Target is a thing.

The retail chain runs two forensic labs, one in Minneapolis and the other in Las Vegas. On its website, Target said its investigators solve cases through "video and image analysis, latent fingerprint and computer forensics."

In a 2008 article profiling the Target Forensic Services team, Forbes reported that 70% of the lab's time is spent looking into fraud, theft, and personal cases.

But Target investigators have also assisted law enforcement agencies on a number of armed robbery, kidnapping, and homicide cases, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

People who said they've worked at Target before took to Reddit to note that the stores tend to have state-of-the-art camera surveillance.

"The resolution on those things was insane," one Reddit poster wrote.

"I worked at Target in the early nineties and it was insane then," another Reddit user added. "Twenty years later and I wouldn't be surprised if they weigh me as I enter and as I leave to determine if I'm shoplifting."

Be nice to employees — it might pay off.

Sometimes, it pays to be nice.

Business Insider's Kate Taylor previously reported on a viral blog started by Target employee Tom Grennell.

He wrote about working during a special sale when his Target store was giving out a 10% discount on all purchases. The only catch? Shoppers had to ask for the discount.

"I have a coupon to scan if anyone asks for it. I scan it if people don't ask for it if they're nice to me," Grennell wrote. "I don't scan it if they're rude. Power is a new sensation. Power is a good sensation."

You can't necessarily spot a clearance item by its price tag.

The website Truth or Fiction threw cold water on the idea that prices ending in certain numbers indicate clearance items at Target.

"The ending digit of a clearance price is determined by several factors including the original retail price and the applied percentage discount," former Target PR rep Evan Lapiska told Truth or Fiction. "It is not possible to determine the final markdown or timing of the price change from the item's current price."

The website also debunked the idea that Target's mark downs run on a weekly schedule.

Target cashiers are motivated to do a speedy checkout.

Target cashiers are reportedly under pressure to check you out as quickly as possible.

Former Target cashier and Quora user Ashley Zurita wrote that, "Target has a system where they time you on how fast you get a customer through check out."

She said that employees go through weekly evaluations, during which they're given either a red, yellow, or green designation.

"If you get the color red, it means you are moving way too slow and not meeting the standards for checking people out through the line fast enough," Zurita wrote. "You can also be yellow, which means you are still not getting the customer checked out fast enough and you need to improve your time. Then there is green. If you get the green color you are doing a good job and keeping a fast pace checking out customers."

She said that failing to achieve green more than twice in a row can cause a Target cashier to be moved to a stocking role.

You can use Target to get rid of gift cards.

Got gift cards that you'd just like to get rid of?

At participating Target stores, you can swap out unwanted gift cards from brands like Bed, Bath, and Beyond; Costco; Sam's Club; Nordstrom; and more. Just head over to the store's mobile phone counter.

Buzzfeed reported that you "won't get 100% of the card's value — you might even get less than online offers," however.

Employees see some pretty strange stuff on the job.

One Target employee told Cosmopolitan about a shopper who angrily knocked over a soap display after employees complied with local laws by refusing to sell her alcohol after 9 p.m.

Another employee described watching a group of teenagers drag some bean bag chairs into the middle of an aisle and proceed to eat snow, according to Cosmopolitan.

And a third Target employee recalled a customer who returned three full bags of groceries because "her kids didn't like" her purchases, Cosmopolitan reported.

Target employees say the rules around uniforms are pretty lax.

Target employees aren't given uniforms. Instead, according to the blog Tough Nickel, they must wear khaki pants or skirts and completely red shirts. 

Former Target employee and Quora user Brian Walsh wrote that the chain doesn't "... care about the shade of red. Some of my coworkers had shirts that were closer to maroon."

To be sure the person you're approaching for help is an employee and not a shopper, look for a name tag first.

Employees get 20% off on fruits and vegetables.

Target employees get a 10% discount on store and online purchases.

But they get a significantly larger discount on other items.

Target employee and Quora user Nelson Brown wrote, "Your team member discount card gives an additional 20% off on fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, and any 'Simply Balanced' store brand products. Makes the prices for those products a lot more competitive."

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