The Origins of Our Shopping Styles

There are a lot of stereotypes for men and women. Especially when it comes to finances. Men are often thought of as the ones who handle the finances, earn more, invest in stocks and hate shopping. Women are often thought of the ones who are not so great at handling finances, earn less, are intimidated by investing and love shopping.

Obviously this is a generalization and not every man and woman fits that description. I certainly don’t. I’m female, but I handle the finances, earn more, am a DIY investor and hate shopping. Let me repeat the last part again.

I HATE SHOPPING (notice the use of big bold capital letters)

Let me count the reasons why.

  • Unless you go during the week, which you may not have time to do so, the mall is almost always busy on the weekends. Hence, it’ll take forever to find a parking spot and consider yourself lucky if you managed to find one that wasn’t on the rooftop level.
  • If you go there to kill time, you end up spending way more than you should. If you go with someone else, you may end up spending more. Thus, I prefer to shop alone most of the time. I ask the salespeople advice. That’s what they’re there for.
  • I’m impatient. If I don’t find something I like right away in my size, I get frustrated. I wouldn’t want to wait in line at the border either for cross-border shopping. I would never take a road trip just to shop.
  • Sales don’t really seem like sales.
  • My size tends to be one of the first sizes the store runs out of
  • Not a big fan of crowds in general

I’ve made it loud and clear that I’m not a shopper. However, if you are female and you do enjoy shopping, it may be that you inherited certain prehistoric instincts.

In Dr. Steve Taylor’s article Why Men Don’t Like Shopping and (Most) Women Do, he talks about how our ancestors lived a “hunter-gatherer” lifestyle for hundreds of thousands of years. The man was the hunter. He was responsible for seeking out wild animals and killing them for food to bring home to the family. The woman was the one who foraged. Her responsibility was to look for food such as nuts and plants.

harvesting fruit

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

He also relates the typical shopping styles of men and women to the hunter or gatherer instincts. Men tend to be laser focused when it comes to shopping. They see what they want, get it and leave. This is similar to hunting: find the animal, kill it and bring it home. They only take as much time as the process needs.

With women it is a different story. Women tend to spend a lot of time browsing in stores. They check out the quality of the clothing/shoes/accessories in each store. The same goes for the gatherer. She would go from tree to tree, examining the fruit to determine what was edible. This also took a lot of time.

When you think about it, the connection between our prehistoric instincts and our shopping habits today does make a lot of sense.

I consider myself to be more of a hunter when I shop. I prefer to spend as little time as possible in the stores. However, I do have a bit of gatherer in me. I browse websites and flyers to make sure I get the best bang for my buck. And then I go on the hunt for my desired item(s).

Do you like shopping? Why or why not? Do you consider yourself more of a hunter or a gatherer?

5 thoughts on “The Origins of Our Shopping Styles

  1. I’m a gatherer in the grocery store. I like reading labels and comparing prices.

    Clothes, well I hate shopping for clothes and and try to be a hunter going in and getting out. Most days I come home without anything because stuff just doesn’t fit right. So, I guess exactly like the hunters I knew growing up?

  2. I hate shopping but when I do I am a shopping commando. I plan, attack and escape with my wallet intact except for what was targeted. I am lucky that my wife isn’t much of a shopper either. She will spend a lot of time once she has decided to buy something as a gift or clothes item looking at prices, trying on, comparing etc. I won’t go with her during those shopping campaigns.

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