Impulse is your enemy

Basket Squad
February 6, 2024

Impulse Buying

We’ve all been there: it's 3 a.m., you can’t sleep, or you have a 2-year-old so you never sleep, but your phone is sat there, full of oversized alpaca-blend scarves and floral midi skirts. So, let’s just browse a bit, and that’ll make me all sleepy and get me back to the land of nod.

But let’s face it, it’s never just a browse, is it? It becomes a full-on shopping expedition. What is it about shopping late at night that almost guarantees a sale for whatever lucky retailer I’ve landed on? Perhaps it’s the feeling of some sort of time limit that drives us to the checkout more readily than at other times of day.

It’s a feeling of completion that you rarely receive when scrolling through Instagram, which as we all know is an endless exercise in futility but can’t do anything about to stop it. But it’s not the same for online shopping. No, we can get that lovely dopamine hit from that new kettle or baby monitor and then that satisfies us enough to put the phone down and get back to sleep.

However, other than the lost hours of scrolling through social media, there is no intrinsic financial impact to the endless scroll. Not so with late-night shopping. With late-night shopping, the phrase ‘Ah, here they are, the consequences of my actions’, springs to mind. Yep, it might be just 12 hours later, it could be a week, but at some point, there’ll be a knock at the door, and you’ll have to face up to all that impulsive tat you bought online just because you couldn’t sleep, or you were up late, or you’d had a few drinks, or it was a Tuesday.

Because the elephant in the room here is that it’s rarely a new kettle or a baby monitor you’re buying at 3 a.m. Instead, it’s mostly nonsense… like an elephant in your room…

The Nonsense

Back in 2016, Forbes remarked on the late-night shopping phenomenon, citing alcohol as a huge influence on purchasing behaviour, particularly from ‘weekend warriors’ who drink far more at weekends and have ample time and enough disposable income to make some crazy late-night purchases. They included a goat skull, megalodon shark tooth, handerpants (fingerless gloves that look like underwear), a breathalyser (ah, the irony), a life-sized gremlin, and 1000 holy communion wafers (presumably they had the munchies big time).

The Consequences

I’m not trying to bring anyone down here but there is even more bad news. The impulse buy is fraught with other pitfalls like not spotting the cripplingly large shipping fee because you didn’t realise your new goat skull was coming all the way from Eritrea. Or you didn’t update your delivery details and it’s defaulted to your old flat in Wimbledon (Yes I’ve done this once or six times). But by far the worst outcome is that your item arrives at the right address, without paying a fortune, only for you to discover it isn’t what you, in your semi-conscious state, imagined it to be. Just look at some of these classic impulse buys where people didn’t read the reviews, the small print, or just bought off of some really dodgy parts of the web.

One ring to rule nothing at all.
Standing ovation for this unusable chair.
That’s a proper catty review.
Very small preview of my only pan.
To be fair, she cleaned up with this XL dustpan.

The Solution

There’s a plethora of things you can do to avoid buyer’s remorse like the unfortunate shoppers above. Budgeting apps to help you stop overspending, banning your phone from the bedroom, or using filters similar to those used to limit adult content, could all help. And then of course, there’s Basket. Rather than making a poor decision, if you find yourself late night shopping add the things you find to Basket so that you can revisit them in the cold light of day with possibly sharper judgement and hopefully results in a more considered purchase. Put that browsing to good use and get your shopping needs organised rather than be led down a rabbit hole you might regret later.

Basket saves all your items from any retailer and sends you price drop notifications when the price goes down. It’s a great way to research, review, compare and contrast the things you find online and helps you make the right purchase at the right time. Eliminate impulse, reduce the remorse, shop with Basket.

Download the Basket app free today

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