Is there a word for when you go into the supermarket to buy a single item, and you end up buying half a dozen or more things that you didn't realize you needed, or wanted?

  • 3
    "...things that you didn't realize you needed, or wanted" makes me believe that the moment you saw those goods, you realized you would need them. I wouldn't call it the result of an impulse. We often buy things we forget to add to our list.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 14:19
  • Answer given [in Dan Bron's answer] at What's it called when you buy something you don't really need? Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 16:42

3 Answers 3


Oxford Online defines impulse buying as:

The buying of goods without planning to do so in advance, as a result of a sudden whim or impulse.


I like jejorda's answer; I will add that you might call a single instance overbuying. From Merriam-Webster:


transitive verb
: to buy in excess of needs or demand
intransitive verb
: to make purchases beyond one's needs or in excess of one's ability to pay

So you could say something like

I ran into the store for a jug of milk, but I totally overbought and ended up with five bags of stuff.


Don't send your father to get the lemons—you know he always overbuys!


Good marketing. They got you to buy stuff you didn't even know you wanted. I don't understand the confusion. Good marketing gets you to purchase items you didn't think you wanted or needed. That is marketings job, to get you to buy and buy and buy. To convince you you must have what they are offering. There is no real word for it other than marketing. Which could also be shopping in some context.

  • This isn't really an answer--just an opinion. ELU likes a little more explanation and justification.
    – Xanne
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:56

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