Research from the Journal of Consumer Research found people are more likely to spend money on cleaning products—along with tools, painkillers, stationery and skim milk when experiencing a lack of control.
"Consumers who experience a loss of control are more likely to buy products that are more functional in nature, such as screwdrivers and dish detergent, because these are typically associated with problem solving, which may enhance people's sense of control," the study's author said.
The study’s participants were split into two groups. The first group was asked to recall and write about a time they felt like they had lost control of their surroundings, while the second group was asked to recall and write about a time they felt in control. Next, they all went shopping.
Those who recalled an out of control experience spent more money on functional products, such a cleaning items. It’s thought that buying useful items helped participants cope with their experiences.