Calling all male shoppers

By Bill Mann, CBS Marketwatch

Oct. 21, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO -- What do YOU dislike about shopping? Besides shopping itself, that is.

Britt Beemer, author of the new book "Predatory Marketing," is a marketing strategist who polled male and female shoppers about what they disliked about shopping. Think of it as a different kind of "Market Watch."

He found that the top five women's turn-offs and the men's were surprisingly different.

Men, says Beemer (good name for a car, that) hate: Long lines at cash registers; price scans that vary from the price marked on the item; rude salespeople; pushy salespeople; and no prices marked on items.

Women, he says, listed long lines as their first peeve. However, their second most common complaint was dirty washrooms, followed by rude, and then pushy salespeople.

I can't pretend to speak for my whole sex, but it is true that I've probably never made a shopping decision based on whether the men's room was clean or not, and I suspect most guys feel the same. Working plumbing is all we ask for. And even that's not essential.

Beemer says that while both sexes hate long lines, men can't tolerate anything that wastes their time while shopping.

We have far more important stuff to do. Like watching football. Or eating. Men, he adds, are also more likely to go shopping for a single item -- and especially hate having to wait in line for one item.

I think he has us pegged, guys; we are still basically hunter-gatherers. It's safe to say that in many areas of life besides shopping, many males just want to get in and out quickly.

Laugh It Off commissioned its own, more extensive, poll and found these other dislikes of male shoppers:

  • Price checks, especially on junk food
  • A paucity of fried pork rinds in the snack section
  • Little old ladies who spend more time counting out exact change than most guys spend talking with their wives in an average day
  • The dimbulb who's going to pay with a check, but doesn't bother:
    • locating their checkbook
    • starting to fill out the check -- until after the final total is rung up
  • The guy in front of you who spends as much time solving the mystery of an ATM machine as the Brits did cracking the Nazis' codebook
  • Not enough magazines at checkstands with hot-looking women on them
  • Not enough magazines at checkstands with articles that tell women what men REALLY want in bed
  • A logical place to find tomato sauce
  • The guy with three days' worth of stubble who's parked next to you in his junker '64 Econoline van who watches carefully as you get out of your late-model car so you won't do any body damage to his rustbucket
  • People, most of them women (sorry, ladies), who park their shopping carts in the middle of an aisle, blithely unaware that anyone else is even in the store
  • Women who wear revealing clothing that makes you forget to pick up staples like milk and bread (hey, we get distracted easily). · Romance paperbacks at the check-out with Fabio clones on their covers ("He was a dashing Confederate general -- she was a gorgeous Soviet cosmonaut'')
  • Corporate-enforced solicitousness. "My checker asked me if I wanted help out to my car. I'm a 25-year-old Marine, for God's sake," said one respondent
  • Too many designer beers and not enough cheap ones · No bathrooms when you really need one, dirty or not
  • Bouquets for sale near the front of the store that make you feel guilty
  • Normal supermarkets, which are boring after having been in a Costco
  • "Where else but Costco," said one guy, "could you see someone with a shopping cart that holds a palm tree, a table saw, and two semi-truck tires?"

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