Shopping for Beginners

When I asked my university post-grad. business students what hobbies they had, I expected gaming, sport, going out with friends, social media etc. OK the survey sample was smallish- 40 students but no 1 leisure activity among both men and women was listed as shopping! I explored further…so you mean on-line shopping? Yes we do lots of that but no, we meet friends at the mall on Sundays, go shopping, try on clothes, take selfies, eat dumplings for lunch with friends, maybe see a movie and then head home in the evening to study. Yes sure!

I wonder if they really are shopping or just enjoying the offering of the mega shopping complexes that are being built. The  “destination” experience of cinemas, restaurants, fashion brands and department stores, beauty services and more.


Do you like shopping..not the rush to the supermarket for food type of shopping but spending hours wandering aimlessly without a shopping list looking at what is on offer? Do you like the experience of a shopping complex with its pounding music, intense lighting and glitz product? Is entering the frenzied environment of malls exciting and exhilarating or exhausting? Is shopping gender defined? Do men like a day of shopping? Do you like the local high street shops, markets or mega shopping malls? Is shopping a hobby  or excursion or a nightmare to be endured? which brands do you like because of the design of their stores and products/ service levels ?

With Christmas invading the stores from the beginning of October the race is on to find the gifts, sparkly baubles and overpriced offerings that will make this day special. Knowing that one day later, December 26th on sale, the items will be reduced to what should have been their normal price!

I have a love/ hate relationship with shopping. I hate the day to day supermarket experience. I love farmers markets and recycle stores. I really enjoy a mid week trek about once every 2-3 months to a mega shopping ” destination.” Its intense, exhausting and I usually I buy very little.

Visiting a mega mall is like engaging in a piece of bizarre theatre or being on a film set. In fashion stores pouting assistants, (must be ex-models) have intense conversations with other assistants about the placement of the new seasons leopard print shorts. There’s an earnest seriousness  about their work. They walk fast, point a lot and hold their heads very high. The importance of getting it right! What if the pink voile dress was placed with the yellow striped top? Oh No! Customers wander the store taking selfies and rummaging while assistants rush after them, tidying. There’s actually not much service or interaction going on. Customers do all the work……pick up the products, stand in a long queue for the dressing room, then pay at the cashier counter… Cashier? Card terminus?

But it’s fun.. sometimes… occasionally………I love the energy hit.

My favourite places are the home decorating stores. I love cushions and fabric, ceramics and linen, furniture and mirrors.  I’m transported to a land of possibility………..of what my home could be if indeed I spent $200 on a cushion. The pages of Vogue Living appear in front of my eyes and I fondle the luxury feather duvet loving wrapped  in its Belgium linen cover. Everything is massed for effect. Not one candle but 30 of them. Not one cushion but nine on a 2-seater sofa. It looks stunning. When I take home the one -on -sale cushion that I can afford it looks like a flower in the desert…… very pretty but desperately needing company! Buy More is the tag line!

I wonder if anyone has done research on store design and offerings and personality type? At my ” day at the mall” experience recently (Do you remember the film of the same name starring Bette Midler?) I felt initially excited and energised and then utterly overwhelmed and drained. An introvert on overload! I decide a quick google search is needed. Sure enough a marketing mecca emerges. help businesses sell to 10 different personality types of customers. ups the ante with advice about 13 customer personality types! keeps it simple. In their world there are just 4 personality types of customers.

The Analytical customer needs facts, prices, reasoned arguments for why they should buy. The Amiable customer wants to have engagement and rapport  with a salesperson before a world of self service they may be struggling! The Expressive customer has their own opinions and wants to share their stories and create a picture of how the product will enhance their life. Finally, The Driver sounds like the customer from hell. Self-centred and opinionated they just want the facts and get straight to the point. How can these products add to their image and achieve their goals.

With Christmas approaching  I think what is needed is a shopping strategy linked to personality type. Here’s my own take on it.


  • Leave shopping to the last minute- preferably a midnight shop on Christmas eve
  • Hit the big mega store shopping malls
  • No lists Agh!
  • Process- find a product you like and decide whose gift it will be when you’re ready to wrap it
  • Go shopping with friends
  • Chat to sales staff- ask questions..if you can find them
  • Check out gift wrap services and have a chat about the look you want for the gifts
  • Stop for a beer or a meal at least once


  • Start Christmas shopping now
  • Make a list and stick to it
  • Shop alone
  • Ebay is your friend
  • Research prices and products online
  • Shop in one hour bursts
  • If you feel anxiety start to creep as the Xmas hype around you increases…. shop on line and buy everyone a goat to support a charity in Africa.

With 9 weeks to Christmas it’s time to develop your shopping strategy now! Alternatively, you can re-gift last year’s recyclable cup in a Kris Kringle, pour yourself a G & T, sit back in your peacock chair and watch the world around you go Christmas crazy.



24 October 2019 | Life-Style

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