ATHENS, GA—Citing it as one of the leading factors influencing consumer behavior across the country, a report released Tuesday by researchers at the University of Georgia found that nine of every 10 purchases from small businesses are driven by a customer’s shame at exiting the store without buying anything. “According to our research, 90 percent of all transactions at independently owned shops throughout the nation—be they bakeries, used bookstores, or one of those places that just sells unusual gifts and knickknacks—are motivated solely by intense pangs of guilt experienced after making eye contact with the owner and realizing you’ll have to walk past her at the register before you leave,” said the report’s lead author Emily Mosse, who confirmed that such purchases are typically initiated after the customer notices how every shelf is fully stocked and then realizes that he or she is the only other person in the establishment. “We found that most individuals who walked into a family-owned store with no intention of buying anything were quick to feel an incredible sense of sadness and pity upon seeing the clerk’s smiling face or the handwritten price tags on nearly every item, prompting the majority of them to pick out a minimally priced item such as a candle or at least a tin of mints at the cash register solely to mitigate their remorse.” Mosse added that nearly all individuals documented in the report admitted to then experiencing feelings of annoyance at having wasted money on some bullshit thing they could have gotten at a far better price anywhere else.