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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shopping

I've never really enjoyed shopping, and as a kid, I really didn't have much trouble avoiding it. That all changed of course when I met the woman who would one day be my wife. She liked shopping very much, even when we had no money... She just liked to look. Still does... I disliked that even more than having money in my pocket and an objective. ...And still do.

I don't think it's any real secret that shopping is historically more interesting to women than men. I believe it goes back to the caveman days when the men went out in small hunting groups, and had to be quiet so as not to scare off their prey. They'd move in, kill it, drag it home, end of story. Meanwhile women would meander through the berry bushes and gather things, looking for only perfect berries, and chat with their friends. They'd have the kids with them because the likelihood of the kids getting killed by a berry bush was far less than whatever the men were killing.

Unfortunately (and fortunately) things have changed, and we men no longer have to (or get to) go kill dinner in groups where you can be quiet without your companions thinking you're mad at them. There are things we need that no longer be legally gotten except by going into the retail stores.

If it's possible, we'll head in alone, grab what we need, and hit the road. Even if that which we grab isn't exactly the perfect specimen of it's kind, it's good enough. I believe this to be something akin to choosing the second biggest mammoth, because bringing down the biggest would be more of a pain in the ass, and wouldn't feed the family any better than the one of lesser size. The cost outweighs the benefits, you see. My wife tends to disagree.

Getting back to the browsing through junk we don't need and can't afford, I would frequently find myself thinking "OK, good, I think we're done" only to find that there was another stop along the way that had to be made. I'd never really noticed just how insidious the retail store designers are...

We'd walk into any given store. let's say a place like sears, and there'd be a display set up with items that are historically impose-items for women. Pocket books, or shoes. Just after there is the women's clothing, which is no small area. It almost always completely dwarfs the men's section. Designing clothes for women should be an Olympic sport, I think. For me, there's Kids, Husky kids, and Mens. There's usually a big men's section, but the sizes go from in numerical order through kids, and then men's goes small, medium, large, extra large, and for anything bigger, you just add more Xs to the beginning. Women have Kids, Juniors, Regular, Missus, Petite, Plus size, Maternaty... too much to keep straight.

I was recently in the Disney store, and noticed that out of the twelve display stands, nine of them were covered in pink. Boxes, dresses, dolls, etc... All pink. The other three displays were of toys that may appeal to either a boy OR a girl.

Once out of the Womens clothes, is the baby clothes. Nine out of ten times, a women will browse through the baby clothes, even if they're not pregnant, don't have a baby, and don't know anyone with a baby. They'll stop and wonder if they know anyone for whom they could purchase these things. I've seen women consider buying baby clothes for people they haven't seen in a decade, but heard they were pregnant, even if they claim to hate that person, and everything that person stands for. While my rational side says this is crazy, I have to believe it has to do with the overwhelming urge to care for kids, regardless of whose they are.

Making it out of the baby clothes, you generally come to home goods. Plates, flatware (which until I was married I thought was just called "silverware".)  glasses, small appliances, etc. When in this section I find myself saying "Sure, it's got allot more buttons than ours, but... it makes coffee... Ours makes coffee, and we already own it." or "why would these forks get food to my mouth any more effectively than the forks we have at home?

Finally, after going through all of this, there comes things like tools, auto parts, ride-on mowers, etc.

Then we leave there, and have to brave the jewelery section.

However, as nice as I think it would be to have the men's section and the tools and such right by the door, I am willing to be the effect on our economy would be crippling.