Men vs. Women: #Christmas Shopping

Category: Men vs. Women Series, Weekly Columns


Our fifth in this ongoing series could really be a one-sentence column: Women like to shop; Men don’t. Okay, I’ll elaborate a bit more, though that really sums it up. Add Christmas into the mix and we can simply say, men would rather be drinking eggnog or anything but shopping during the madness of the Holiday Season.

Like every column in this series, I will make generalities and stereotypical judgments and statements. As I qualify with each in this series of columns, there are exceptions to every generality and stereotype, but they are few and the majority of generalities and stereotypes that I express I sincerely believe apply to most men and women. This particular column really is about shopping in general, but since it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” I chose to put it in the Christmas context.

Also, I love women. Let’s be clear about that. But, unlike Women’s Studies professors, I love and celebrate our gender differences. I so hate the word “gender,” and really simply prefer “sex.” But, I digress. My wife makes me a better man. And, though she may be reluctant to admit it, I make her a better woman. In this sense substitute “man” and “woman” with human. We are more human because of our respective male and female inclinations.

That is the way we were made. That is the way it is, no matter how much post-graduate work you do. The irony is that most parents – moms and dads – that have boys and girls will quickly let go of any notion that it’s nurture over nature in children’s inherent interests and traits. Again, there are exceptions but they are just that, exceptions.

Back to the topic on hand, there is little doubt in my mind that men and women shop differently. In a nutshell, men want to get it over with and go do something else. In the other nutshell, women could linger all day and not buy a thing and still be quite content. Not a man. If he sets out to shop for something and comes back empty-handed, he will deem that effort an abject failure.

Other differences between men and women and shopping include:

~~ Men look at price tags

Yeah, we guys care about price, while women (see #2) care about labels. More succinctly, we check the price way before we try it on. Some of us will only buy when things are on sale.

~~ Women look at labels

This one mystifies me. Not only do I not care about labels, I won’t wear anything that has a label prominently displayed. Why should I pay to advertise someone’s product? Pay me and I’ll wear your hat with your name on it.

Okay, I know I’m an exception as kids – boys and girls – do care about the current “IN” fashion icon name and like it to be obvious and displayed.

For me, not only do I not care about the label, I’m happy with a similar design that is a fraction of the label’s cost but, to me, just as good.

~~ Men are happy buying generic – anything

I love everything generic, especially Kirkland products at CostCo. Most generic or chain generic brands are exactly the same as the brand product but at a significant cost savings.

~~ Women in Europe, will go without many for just a few (re: designer clothes)

Many women in France not only live in small apartments, but their closets hold a truly modest amount of clothing. They’d rather have that $999 designer handbag than 10 different ones of no brand distinction. Consequently, many women business executives in Europe will choose to have a smaller label “high quality” wardrobe versus shopping at Target (said in French…Tar-Jay).

~~ Men prefer to shop online

I’m probably wrong on this one – I don’t know – but I bet more men shop online than women. Why; because we men want to be DoneWithIt. Ladies, please enlighten me on this one?

~~ Women do like to shop online for deals but prefer the tactile experience e.g. my wife loves GroupOn

Women do like deals so shopping online has its place in their range of shopping choices. But, the tactile experience of touching material, trying clothes and shoes on, plus the camaraderie of sharing it all with their friends trumps the comfort and ease of doing it from home.

~~ Men will take care in shopping for the BIG toys

When it comes to the big items, the important stuff, like a new television or a car, men will deliberate quite thoroughly.

~~ Women will take care in shopping for accessories

And, the same holds true for women but, ironically, with the small items like fashion/hair accessories and Christmas decorations. Men care about one accessory – a belt.

With that, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and lots of fun shopping before Christmas and after, when the sales begin!

Please read and/or comment on any of the other columns in the Men vs. Women series.

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