Men hunt and women shop

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The weather outside is frightful, but the shopping is so delightful! It is the dreaded shop til ya’ drop seasonal extravaganza! We are bombarded by loud commercials, children’s demands, jingle bells and a sense of duty to fulfill someone else’s wish.
This is the time to let your belt out because of too many Christmas pies and too many credit charges…no one seems focused on tightening any belts.
Am I buying into the frenzy this year? Not yet, but give me time. I am a late bloomer this season and hope I can pull a holiday miracle once again without disappointing too many loved ones.
Does anyone care what I want for Christmas? It’s peace…a withdrawal of troops from my space! Sure for the world, but mostly for me!
This is also the time when men either rely on their female counterparts to take the bull by the ring and get it all done like always, or he tags along like an obedient dog to do his part (keep the benches warm) or he is an active participant on a hunt, stalking his prey until he achieves his goal, bags his present, and goes home with a trophy.
You really never see a group of men hunting together in the woods. Why? Because only one man can shoot the game and so is the way of men shopping for gifts during the holidays. You never see a group of men shopping? You might see him in the family group with children in tow, but rarely with a bunch of buddies dotting from one store to the next in the mall.
Why is that? Men hunt alone. They try to know what they are hunting and then they pursue the one goal. It is not a social event, but a necessary task to be completed.
Women, however, are social beings. We hunt in packs, but also enjoy solo trips as a pleasurable time filler. Women are out lingering, pondering, examining, comparing, and strolling from store to store. Women are shoppers.
Women have their lists, but can easily get off course for the right price. A clearance item marked 75% off can draw our attention away from the goal; and before we know it, we have two pairs of shoes for ourself and one present off our list.
I am not saying it is right, I am just saying it is the way of men and women. We shop differently and we button our shirts differently. Why? I don’t know, I just observe.
Besides the differences in gender, shoppers come in different syles. I heard a report on ABC about categorizing shoppers into bees, bulls and turtles. I also read of other styles such as the Guerrilla, mall lingerer, and sales junkie shoppers.
Shoppers approach shopping in different ways. The guerrilla shopper is the one who waits until the last minute and then runs frantically from store to store trying to cram in all the shopping into one shot.
My brother-in-laws, Eric and Andy, were guerrilas until they acquired wives to nag them into the proper shopping etiquette. It was fun to see what they would come up with and the walmart bags made great wrapping! This should only be tried by bachelors, although it is perpetuated by husbands who procrastinate.
It is always fun to check out the men shoppers on Christmas Eve at the local mall. Their frantic face tells it all.
The mall lingerer is another kind of shopper. Unfortunately, studies show that the longer you stay in the mall, the more you spend. If you are on a budget, get in fast and get out!
Stores want you to stay longer. One way is by keeping it warm when its freezing outside. They make it complicated to find your way out. I get lost just trying to leave the mall through a retail store.
The third kind, the sales junkie are always in search of the next great bargain. They are challenged. They need to feel good about spending their hard earned money by getting the most bang for their bucks. One reality check for the bargain hunger is that just because cereal and batteries are cheaper at the Wal-Mart, don’t think the digital camera is too.
For sales junkie, they have created whole chains of stores to meet their need such as Tuesday Morning, Big Lots, Hudson’s, and Burke Outlet. The problem with these stores is that I go in for one item and come out with ten all because they were a good price. Such as the case with the dollar chains where everythings a dollar, but I always spend more than ten dollars everytime!
Did I need four ice cream scoops?
I am not alone when I moan and groan over the whole concept of buying a bunch of gifts for folks I rarely see or know. I wish we could change the perception that we must buy gifts for everyone we spoke to in the last year. I buy for people I only see on Christmas.
Just think how much more we could spend on the people we actually like if we cut out the spam on the Christmas lists? Delete!
I think our culture needs to drastically change how we view our holiday season and get back to simplifying it. Unfortunately, the big stores are bombarding us with the wrong message which is creating more materialistic children and guilt-ridden parents.
I am not a Scrooge, but my pocketbook is!
Can we celebrate without going into debt?
My gift to my children this year will be keeping the family home from foreclosure, a decent safe ride, and an occasional toy along with my sanity. Merry Christmas kids, mom’s not crazy!
Oh well, that is my dream.

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