10 Times Companies Lied Straight to Our Faces
The ultimate aim of any company is to sell us a product we did not originally intend to buy. The tricks they use are so subtle that even the most careful of us fall victim to them.
Bright Side collected some lies and tricks we are exposed to in stores, cafés, and TV advertisements. Pay attention to them next time you do your shopping! Read the list to the end to find a bonus about bartending tricks.
1. Free snacks
You are certainly happy when you receive a free snack or bread when waiting for your meal in a restaurant. But, in fact, when you get free salted peanuts at the bar you are more likely to purchase another drink. And bread makes you hungry enough to order food. There is also scientific proof that people who get candy with their bill are likely to leave a larger tip.
2. Food color
The color of a food can also be used to manipulate us to buy a product. The colorful fruit loops we often eat for breakfast all have the same taste irrespective of the color. Manufacturers of orange juice enhance the color of the juice by adding up to 10% vividly colored mandarin juice as well as pigment from orange peel, and that’s not counting artificial flavors.
3. Size manipulation
Sometimes the choice between a large, medium, or small cup in McDonald’s means nothing at all because you get almost the same serving of cola. Another trick you probably haven’t noticed is that the products you are used to buying in supermarkets get smaller in size...but the price remains the same.
4. Left-digit effect
Have you noticed how often the prices in stores end in .99? Essentially, there is not much difference between $2.99 and $3.00, but the customer will most likely go for a product which costs one cent less. The left-most digit in the price tag affects our perception of price, and we feel that we are paying much less for a $2.99 product than for a $3.00 product.
5. Arbitrary expiration dates
It is much better to use your senses to determine whether a product has gone bad than to rely on an expiration date. In some countries, like the USA, there is no regulation on expiration dates. These dates are then left up to the food manufacturer’s discretion. As a result, a lot of food which is still good goes into the garbage...and we go to the store to buy more.
6. Hidden unhealthy substances
Nowadays, when a lot of people are concerned about a product being healthy, food industries found a way to hide potentially unhealthy substances in the description. Sugar can be hidden under different names: glucose, fructose, maltodextrin, sucrose, and syrup. If you found a low-sugar product, it might just mean that you haven’t spotted it on the label.
7. Menu price formats
Many restaurants eliminate money symbols from their menus altogether (15 instead of $15) to create the illusion that you are not paying real money for your food. There is scientific proof that this strategy works: customers in a study by Cornell University spent more money when they had a menu in a numerical format than when the numbers were preceded or followed by a dollar sign.
8. Misleading commercials
Did you know that they actually shoot car commercials without real cars, using battery-powered automotive rigs instead? A lot of what we see in a commercial is a lie: glue is used instead of milk in cereal advertisements, soap is used to create bubbles in drinks, and glycerin is used to make the products look fresh, cold, and wet.
9. Zero calories
Have you ever wondered how anything besides water can contain absolutely no calories? When you see "Zero Calories" on a package, it might just mean that the product contains less than 5 calories, which is officially allowed in the USA.
10. The principle of scarcity
The principle of scarcity is a known psychological phenomenon: when a product is perceived as being limited in availability, it becomes more attractive. Think about it next time you see a "Limited quantities available" sign — check whether the product is still there next time you go to the shop.
Unfortunately, the safest drink to order in a bar is bottled beer. Bartenders might be using tricks like pouring less than the full amount of beer into your glass or less liquor in your cocktail, watering down your drinks, or even offering you a cheaper brand instead of the more expensive one you’ve ordered. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference anyway.
Have you ever noticed any of those tricks or fallen victim to them? Share your opinion in the comments!
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