There’s no doubt in my mind that people make bad decisions when shopping in crowds. I’m sure there are studies out there that will back me up on this, but it’s the truth. When you go to a store and see people grabbing items off the shelves like it’s free, the competitive spirit kicks in and makes you want to do the same.

Crowd frenzy causes people to make impulsive decisions. With less time to think about whether you actually want a product or not, you tend to buy things for the sake of buying. When exclusivity comes into play, things get even worse. Absolute chaos… self-control seems to be thrown out the window!

Consider these examples…

Designer collaborations have been known to cause major crowd frenzy, especially amongst those who like fashion. Philip Lim for Target anyone?  The latest partnership with the retail chain (which launched last month) had fashion fiends lined up for hours before Target stores even opened. Don’t worry – I wasn’t one of them.

And what about the Versace collaboration with H&M a few years ago? I had a few friends who actually went to that one and camped out in the rain so that they could snag some designer swag! While I’m sure the event was exciting for fans of the brand, I heard it was a disappointment for many since the merchandise sold out within an hour.

And don’t even get me started on Black Friday sales. Yes, you can get some great deals during this time, but I’d rather get a few extra hours of sleep in my warm bed instead. Besides, I’m not up for fighting with aggressive shoppers in the wee hours of the night…but to each his own.

Anyway, my point is that shopping in crowds has the ability to muddle rationale. Clearly, it’s hard to think straight when everyone around you is shopping like mad. It’s hard to justify that you’re making the right decision and at the same time, not missing out.

A non-crowded store tells us that there aren’t any fantastic deals inside, and that whatever we might want will probably still be there tomorrow. We can take our time to decide whether we want to go through with a purchase. On the other hand, a crowded store tells us that there are many great deals to be had. If we wait, all the good stuff might get snatched up. It’s safer to just get it now or we might regret not buying it later.

The holidays are coming, and of course, that means people will be doing a lot of shopping. My advice – don’t let the crowd mentality sway you into making poor decisions with your spending. Would you still buy it if no other shoppers were “competing” for it?

Don’t get caught up in the hype! Plan ahead, research prices, and buy only the things that you originally intended to buy. That way, you won’t go over budget, accumulate debt, and make purchases that you’ll later regret!