Hurray for Professor Michael Mainelli who has provided me with the best business case ever for shopping. At a Gresham College lecture I attended some while back, he described a eureka moment he’d recently had about the matter. Reflecting on his wife’s ‘bizarre bazaar’ behaviour, where she seemed to want to drift around looking at things for hours on end while he stood idly by, he realised that the key difference between the sexes is that, while women shop, men purchase.
So if a man needs a new tie, he’ll rush out in a panic in his lunch hour and come back with something that will do, but is probably not quite right, and is more expensive than it needed to be. Ask a woman about it, and she’ll go through her mental rolodex and suggest just the thing. Sexist? Perhaps the exceptions prove the rule, but his point is that women are better at purchasing than men, because for them shopping is really about learning. Their browsing means that over time they develop better data for optimising purchasing.
So next time your husband gives you a dark look as you trot out the door clutching your credit card, remind him that you’re not shopping, you’re learning, which is a positively virtuous thing to do with your time, and indeed should be afforded considerable budget.