It’s one of America’s favorite pastimes. Even when we’re in a recession, people still buy stuff – sometimes out of needing, sometimes out of wanting. Sometimes, if you’re a shopaholic, out of wanting and wanting and wanting. (I have to say that I watched Confessions of a Shopaholic with my husband and he kept looking at me, saying, “That is SO you.” I couldn’t believe it. “What?!” I said, “I don’t even have red hair!” But I digress.)
Infinitely fascinated by human behavior, I’m always curious about the various shopping habits of people. There are several kinds.
The marathon shopper
I remember growing up doing the whole day-after-Thanksgiving shopping trip at the crack of dawn, battling hoards of people and endless sales. General madness. I do not do that anymore. I have absolutely zero interest. I know some people who live for this stuff, though. Say the word “sale” and watch their eyes light up like shiny silver dollars and the corners of their mouths accumulate with small puddles of drool. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sale. I’d just rather get some sleep at night than risk my life fighting with some nasty woman for the last pair of clearance open-toe pumps in my size. And that’s saying a lot, as I LOVE shoes almost as much as my children — some days even more. I kid.
The once-in-a-while shopper
If you don’t go on major shopping sprees, maybe you still like to shop randomly. Go to the mall and look around. I’ll do this once in a while, but hardly ever. I used to love going to the mall when I got paid and just buy a bunch of new clothes and whatever else I found. Now, malls pretty much just induce anxiety in me and don’t do much else. I feel overwhelmed upon entering, bombarded by too much stuff in too many places. I’d rather stay home. It might have something to do with carting two small children around.
The if-I-have-to shopper.
There are also those people, often times men, including my husband, who aren’t necessarily opposed to shopping, but they’d rather run in and buy the one thing they’re looking for than spend all afternoon at a mall. Andy would probably just as well never buy any new clothes at all if he didn’t have to. He knows he has to when suddenly a majority of his falling apart wardrobe has become my new dust rags. I’ve tried to explain to him that jeans with holes in the crotches are not acceptable in public, but we’ve never agreed on fashion.
The hermit shopper
These days, if I buy anything, it’s online. I think a lot more people are doing practically everything this way now. If I know my size in something, I’d much rather buy it from the comfort of my laptop in bed with a nice glass of wine than push and shove my way through lines full of disgruntled customers waiting for exhausted sales associates at a store. With the economy, I can’t afford to be a shopaholic anymore – and I really don’t want to be – but even if I’m buying one thing, I’d rather do it from home. Come to think of it, I might not leave the house ever if I didn’t have to. I wonder if I can start getting my groceries delivered ...
So maybe you can identify with one or several of these consumer types. And now I have to go – the UPS guy is here!
Sara Berelsman lives in Delphos with her husband and their two daughters. She teaches college English and psychology courses and now has way too many dust rags.