I thought this was interesting. In the book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, by Paco Underhill, he says women “become absorbed in the ritual of seeking and comparing, of imagining and envisioning merchandise in use. Then they coolly tally up the pros and cons of this purchase over that, and once they’ve found what they want at the proper price, they buy it.”
Okay, so maybe my shopping habits are ‘normal’ but I have two women friends who make up their minds very quickly and do not seem to do any comparison shopping. Their energy allocation seems to be in proportion to the activity. Perhaps I am just working with a different criteria (something like ‘inner simplicity’) and one of the questions I am subconsciously asking myself is, will this purchase make my life simpler?
Underhill goes on to say:
[women] illuminate how we human beings go through life searching, examining, questioning, and then acquiring and assuming and absorbing the best of what we see. At that exalted level, shopping is a transforming experience, a method of becoming a newer, perhaps even slightly improved person. The products you buy turn you into that other, idealized version of yourself.
I don’t know about ‘transforming experience’ though I suppose it could be (think ‘complete makeover’. I love those!) I can identify with the desire to find that ‘best self’ higher self idealized version of yourself. A few posts back I wrote about finding the perfect coat.
Why We Buy is an interesting read, though I find it to be more about how we shop rather than why. From reading it, I do appreciate though, why I buy most of my clothes in one particular store. It is merchandise itself of course, but also the layout of the store: the width of the aisles, the amount of room they’ve allotted for the fitting rooms, the fact that there are chairs for shoppers or their partners to plop down into and wait. There are even magazines available. There is more to this shopping business than we think; it is possible that experiences like mine have more to do with sensitivity to the environment. That makes sense.