What Men Can Teach Us About Shopping

Posted by Jill Chivers

Yes, you read the title correctly: what men can teach us about shopping. The commonly accepted school of thought is that women are the shoppers and men are the collectors.

So this recent study conducted by a British firm and reported in TIME caught my attention. It says some interesting stuff about impulse buys (women’s weekly impulse buys are less than mens. Apparently). But the bit that jumped out at me was this:

“While [men] end up spending more, it’s a safe bet that they aren’t shopping more than women. That’s because women are much more likely to search incessantly for the best deals, while men are happy to pay more just to be done with the task of shopping”.

Men have a “get in – get the thing — get out” approach when it comes to shopping. It’s like tactical warfare, where they spend as little time in the ‘combat zone’ as possible. In this way, men approach shopping the way Rambo approached his missions.

They have a “target” and they are utterly focused on the attainment of that goal.

They know they have to defend themselves against armed and motivated mercenaries, trained in stealth skirmish tactics.

They know that time is a tool to be harnessed, not frittered away mindlessly. They know the dangers inherent in not being tuned into their surroundings.

So we can learn something here, ladies. Let’s take the good bits out of this study, and leave the rest.

And here’s the lesson: Don’t treat shopping as a default activity, as a hobby, a mindless pastime. Of the three kinds of shoppers, be a Tasker, not a Day Tripper.

Before you go shopping, be clear on what the expedition is about – do not go ‘in’ without Good Intel.  This is why shopping with a lists is so important (and is my #1 tip in my Top Ten Shopping Tips).

Then when you are in a shopping situation, stay focused. Do not become distracted or allow your attention to drift – no auto-pilot (or emotion-fuelled) shopping!

Engage the Power Pause. Remember that your time is precious — your life is far too important to spend it – your life should be lived! So, get in – get the thing – and get out.

Or at least, give it a try – bring some variety into the way you shop! It’ll be an interesting experiment, if nothing else. What have you got to lose?

 

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7 Responses to “What Men Can Teach Us About Shopping”

  1. Julia says:

    Lists, including *sizes*, certainly help for shopping for kids’ clothing, especially if someone else will watch the kid(s) at home, making it easier to get in and out quickly! Before school starts, I inventory each child’s wardrobe, figure out how many shirts of whatever type will be needed, how many pairs of jeans, etc. and then stick with that list. If something is on clearance that will appeal to a particular child and I can get it one size bigger than they need now, I’ve just taken care of a shirt for next year or the year after. I don’t go more than one size up on anything but cotton pajamas.

    If I’m buying used from a friend, or used at a resale event I’m participating in, I relax the size restriction. (My older son is set for polo shirts when he gets to be my height or a little taller….) I don’t like drowning in things to grow into, but having a few things a size or two up, or if it’s the perfect color for the kid’s coloring maybe another size beyond that, isn’t so bad. And we get the outgrown stuff out of the house as soon as we reasonably can!

    (I think at this point, all I have any sort of need for is 3 pairs of footwear, and I will likely ask my husband along for trying to obtain 2 of them. The 3rd, I will probably take a friend who doesn’t drive and wants to get to a shoe store outside easy bus range, and we’ll take care of both our needs and then relax with dinner together. Dinner is more important than shoes!)

  2. ije says:

    very interesting! i guess i shop like a man then! i’ve always been more of a go in there, get what you came for, then leave type of shopper. when i was younger i didn’t enjoy shopping with my mother and sister because they would wander and visit several stores looking for the best deal, then double back to the first store we went to and make a purchase. i used to think i was too impatient or not girly enough to shop with them. now i see i just had a different shopping style that actually has some merit to it. thanks jill!

    • Jill says:

      That’s one of the great myths about women and shopping – that all women love to shop! I’ve discovered many women who don’t (for a variety of reasons). It’s great to understand your shopping style, means you can make smarter choices about the kinds of shopping you do and who you do it with! Thanks for your comment here, Ije!

  3. Stacey says:

    Hi Jill!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post! I chuckled as I realized that I’m more like Rambo than I ever imagined possible!

    I’m definitely a “get in – get the thing – get out” kind of gal.

    My brother’s wedding is this weekend and choosing the “perfect” outfit gave me more angst than I’ve felt in a long time. I just couldn’t buy a dress that would be “perfect” for the wedding but unusable any other time.

    I considered going to many more stores to find something more of a balance between wedding frills and my usual style, but I just couldn’t justify the time and energy.

    So I bought a charcoal gray jersey dress. Hopefully I won’t shock too many people with the “dark” color because I love it and I know I will wear it many more times. I know you approve! :-)

    Thanks again for this fascinating and enjoyable post!

    • Jill says:

      hi there Stacey – yes, who knew that some women could have so much in common with Rambo!??! I like your approach to dressing for your brother’s wedding. So often we buy an outfit for a special occasion, then it sits in our wardrobe, unworn, for ever after. That’s what I call a very poor cost-per-wear ratio! Actually in Month 2 of the program, we cover ways in which you can dress for special occasions without buying new (or anything at all) – it’s much easier than most people imagine! Check back in and let me know how else you wear the charcoal jersey dress! And thanks for your comment here todayxx

  4. emelie rota says:

    I came a bit late to the Rambo party, but I must have found my kindreds amongst Stacey and Ije… Even though I’ve had some issues surrounding shopping, as such I’ve been more of a hunter than a gatherer. I hunt for the item(s) I seek. When I find it, I’m outta there. I actually dislike the act of shopping… it’s the BUYING that gets me in trouble! =) I’ve never been a deal shopper or a coupon clipper. My take is that less (higher quality) items bring me more value over time.

    • Jill says:

      hi Emelie – better late than never, so it’s good to see your comment here! I think there may be more hunters out there amongst the ladies than sociologists (and the creators of these studies) give credit to! What I’ve learned is that whether you hunt or gather, you can still end up with loads of gear you didn’t want… the process that gets some of us into trouble may vary, but the results are often startlingly similar. And the other amazing thing I’m learning is how much Rambo can actually teach us about shopping.

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