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Shopping Role Reversal (Part 2) – The ConsumHERist

Posted on | December 17, 2008 | No Comments

This is a continuation of last week’s Men Buy, Women Shop blog, which appeared in the Readers Digest website following Black Friday.

When we left Mark and Maria, he had related his tale of triumph in finding a gaming system for son Matt. It was a fairly easy acquisition because he knew exactly what he wanted and therefore was able to quickly locate it from a reputable ecommerce site and complete the transaction.

“So, Mark, let’s hear about your other buy.”

“Well, by the time I finished with buying the game, it was getting close to noon, and…”

“Do you mean to tell me that it took you all morning to buy that thing? I thought it was easy.”

“It was easy, honeybunch. But I had to do my research first. You know – the morning shows, the product and website reviews and so on.”

“Not to mention reading the sports section. Unless you want to make a career out of this shopping thing you’re gonna have to be more productive. And more dedicated. We women are natural multi-taskers. If you want to watch Sportscenter, then do it while you read a product review. Listen to the morning shows while you load the dishwasher.”

“Yes, boss. So do you want to hear the rest or not?”

“I am breathless with anticipation.”

“Okay, so I made a sandwich, played a couple games of solitaire, single-tasking like a manly pro for a little while, getting psyched up to move on to my next purchase.”

“My hero. You are a brave one. Did you wear your helmet too?”

“Funny lady. No, I went in without even taping up. Here’s how it went.

”Of course, I started with a simple search for University of Miami golf shirt. Actually, I started by searching for Miami University golf shirt, which turned out to be a mistake. I was getting some pretty good looking shirts, stuff I liked, until I discovered that Miami University is a school in Ohio, unlike the University of Miami which is the one in Florida. I wondered how many unsuspecting high school seniors get pumped about going to MU before they realize that UM is the one in Florida. Hopefully not many, or they probably aren’t smart enough for college, eh?”

“How does that account for your confusion, Mark dear?”

“Uh, we’re getting off track, aren’t we? Let’s just say that search engines are kind of fussy about what you put in. Garbage in, garbage out, they say. You get what you ask for.”

“Anyway, once I got focused on UM shirts I wasn’t too keen on the selections they had. Polo style shirts come mostly in orange and green, the school colors, and I thought orange was a bit loud for your Dad and remembered that he doesn’t like green so I kept looking for other color choices with just the school emblem in orange and green.”

“Mark, my father has no problem wearing green. He has other green shirts.”

“I’m going to pretend that you didn’t say that. Maybe he has too many green shirts now. I was seeking to add some other colors to his look, like maroons, tans and blues. I kind of had my heart set on finding a tan shirt for him. Eventually I did. The next challenge was that there was a pretty wide variation in price which I interpreted to mean a variation in quality. So now I get into studying the descriptions and not just the colors and prices. And the clock just keeps on ticking. All of this just takes so much time.”

“Why do you think I spend so much time on the computer in the evenings, Mark? I’m not always looking for husband improvement programs, ya know.”

“Well, I find it pretty tedious. I decided that I wanted to get him a shirt like Tiger Woods wears. Those look pretty nice. So I search on Tiger Woods golf shirts and end up on a Nike site where I see that every shirt is called Dri-Fit, whatever that is. I’d seen it in some of the descriptions for the UM shirts I’d seen so I figure if it’s good enough for Tiger, it’s good enough for me, or Dad actually.”

“So back I go to look for the right UM shirt. Some sites do not make it terribly easy to find things. One got me so frustrated I thought it should be called sharpstickinthe Finally I find a tan Dri-Fit UM shirt for a reasonable price, including free shipping. It’s got horizontal stripes, which personally I don’t care for, but I think your Dad is okay with, so I go to order it.”

“Now I’m prepared for the interrogation like when I bought the game console earlier but no, this site doesn’t want to know me all that well but they do want to let me know that there are about 32 other things that I might like to also buy just because some other bozo that bought a blue horizontal striped Dri-Fit UM golf shirt also bought. It’s like those TV offers where they try to get you to buy everything else under the sun before you can get through the order for the one $19.95 gizmo you came for. I was going a little nuts wading through it all, but resisted everything they offered.”

“Sometimes, Mark, there is a shortcut link to the checkout somewhere on the first page of that stuff that you can take to avoid the hassle.”

“Yeah? I’ll be looking for that next time. Can you imagine if every store had a half dozen people interfering with you in the checkout line, trying to get you to buy just one more thing? Imagine going through the express line in the grocery store and someone walks up and says ‘I see you bought a quart of milk. Other people who bought a quart of milk also bought a box of Cheerios or a package of Oreos. Would you like to buy one of those?’ I’d clock ‘em.”

“No, you wouldn’t. You’re a teddy bear.”

“Well, probably not the first time it happened, but maybe the third.”

“So was that when you shouted at the printer?”

“Yeah, thereabouts. Do you think the cat will forgive me?”

“The cat’s already forgotten the whole thing. He’ll love you again when it’s time to eat.”

“That’s the way I feel about you sometimes too.”

“I know, honey. That’s why I poison your food. So what did you do with the rest of your day?”

“Research. I’ve been looking for ideas about what to get for everyone else but I wanted to get your opinion on some of them.”

“Research, eh? Did you get any good ideas from Oprah? What does ESPN have to say about gift ideas?”

“Oprah? Books. ESPN? Football jerseys.”

“I think it’s time you head to the mall.”

“Oh, goodie!”

Mark has gotten through some online shopping, successfully ordering a variety of gifts, but there are some things that are just better bought in person.

“So, Mark, is today the day you go to the mall?”

“I think so, Honey. Not much business for me to do, so why not go for the big game? I’ve got a few things on my list and I’m pretty much gonna do a quick hit and run, a shopping seek and destroy mission. I’ll be in and out in a jiffy and safely back on the couch by lunchtime.”

“You think so? Well, I’d like you to get a few things that I’ve got in mind as well, and they won’t be hit and run stuff. It’s going to take some womanly shopping skills. I want you to get something for my mother and sister.”

“Not fair. I was figuring I could park near my objective, dart in, buy exactly what I intended and slip away quickly – the perfect manly buying trip.”

“I always like a good parking spot myself but, it being the holidays, you’re not likely to find parking anywhere near the door. During the holidays, you’ll be lucky if you can see the door from where you park.”


“I want you to find a sweater for my mother and a couple of camisoles for my sister.”

“What, may I ask, dear sweet love of mine, is a camisole? Sounds like an exotic pet.”

“It’s a silky top that you wear under a sheer blouse, kind of like the top of a negligee.”

“You want me to buy underwear for your sister? You’re not serious.”

“Yes, actually I am. Every department store has them. Get a black one and a white one. Don’t pay more than $15 each. You could also find them in the Victoria’s Secret store. Maybe you’d like that. They have real big pictures of pretty women in underwear.”

“Honey, it’s one thing to ogle a big picture in the store window and another thing entirely to go in and handle the stuff. Very unmanly. I could have my machismo license revoked.”

“Wimp. Then ask someone to help you. Let them handle it. Get Jackie a medium. And nothing with a lot of adornments, just something simple.”

“What about the sweater? Adornments, no adornments, color, size, what?”

“I want to get her something in cashmere with a scoop neck collar, not a v-neck. With long sleeves. It should be teal, a pastel teal, if you can find it. Baby blue, if you can’t. Size large. Mom’s put on some weight. Don’t pay more than $75.”

“Oh, boy! Could you write all that down? I’m getting heart palpitations.”

“Oh, Mark. It’s nothing. You just might have to go to a couple of stores. Try the department stores on either end of the mall. Get some exercise. You need it. So, what else are you getting?”

“I thought I’d get a couple DVDs for Stefanie to add to her collection. Got any suggestions?”

“Go to the record store. They have the best selections. Please don’t get her any manly action movies. Don’t buy anything that has guns, cars or fireballs on the cover. Stick to chick flicks. I don’t think she has many older movies, from our era, and you could get her some recent releases too. What else? What are you getting your brother Marty?”

“He’s getting a football jersey. We have to preserve tradition. I’m going to look for a Brett Favre New York Jets jersey – the perfect gag gift for a Packers fan.”

“That’s nice, darling. Look, I’ve got to get to work and close a few deals so maybe I can help you sometime. Good luck.”

This story will be continued, and wrapped upp in next Thursday’s ConsumHERist blog.

attachment-1.jpegDelia Passi, Founder of WomenCertified® and author of Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women is a regular columnist on ReachingWomenDaily.


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