Would you agree with the comment – Men buy, women shop?

When I say “buy”, I refer to the precise act of paying money in exchange of a particular product or service. Shopping expands to the vast experience associated with the act of buying.

In a study titled, “Men Buy, Women Shop,” researchers at Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retail Initiative and the Verde Group, a Toronto consulting firm, found that women react more strongly than men to personal interaction with sales associates. Men are more likely to respond to more utilitarian aspects of the experience — such as the availability of parking, whether the item they came for is in stock, and the length of the checkout line.

This trend still applies to approximately 85% of men, who do buying or shopping in one form or another. What then happens to the remaining 15% of the male community?

With the plethora of choices that modern age marketing has thrown up, even our “Men” get confused if they should pick a brand-loyal product or try something new. Online shopping, seasonal offers have emerged as strong points of consideration, when a man is buying or shopping.

There is a retail joke, which is in context and worth sharing. So, it goes like this – 6% of women shoppers are estimated to get lost in a shop if there is no sales associate to help. Whereas, the reason for men folks to get lost in a shop is, only when the product is out of stock! We can clearly imagine a man pick up his car keys, drive to the nearby supermarket to pick up his after-shave. He reaches the exact shelf where all the after-shaves are neatly arranged. He spends 15-20 minutes rotating his eye-balls from one after-shave to another, wondering where his product is, till a sales associate approaches to help him out.

But are all men cast in the same mold? Well, not really !

Ladies, step back….the new league of men shoppers have arrived. These men, sometimes look for an excuse for shopping and not necessarily out of need. With this, I would like to introduce the two protagonists of today’s story – Ballu and Chari.

Balwinder Singh Dhillon aka Ballu was a Sardar. I wouldn’t be lying if I said he looked exactly like Ranbir Kapoor in the movie, Rocket Singh. Ballu was trying to uplift his colleagues’ mood.

“C’mon Charu, forget it! You know boss rants after every appraisal.”

“Look Ballu, don’t call me Charu. I am not some Charulata that you keep calling me Charu. My name is Charitra….atleast call me Chari!”

“See this.” And Ballu looked around to see if there was any curious onlooker.

He quietly rolled up his sleeve and flaunted a Rolex.

“Have you gone mad? With no bonus and a measly increment, you dared buy a Rolex?”

“Hey, buddy! Look ( pause)…life has to go on. I was very demotivated after boss’s speech and the salary that we received. I needed an outlet. As usual, after I reached home, I picked up the phone while simultaneously warming my dinner. It was a steal deal.”

“Hmm….you are lucky. You are a bachelor.”

“No, I am Ballu!” Sardarji winked trying to lighten his colleague up.” Ok, bro! Do you want one too?It’s Black Friday!”

“You are mad or what? I have a wife and daughter to take care of too.” an agitated Charitra responded.

When Charitra got angry or agitated, Ballu teased him by calling him “Rakht Charitra”.

At the end of working hours, Ballu and Chari said good-bye to each other and left for home.

As soon as Charitra entered home, his wife informed him about the online sale on a popular shopping portal.

He did not have the heart to tell his wife that there was no bonus this time.

And increments? Well, enough to buy a paper-cone of peanuts sold at traffic signals, he thought.

Well, if its peanuts that I am getting, I ought to become a monkey.

He leapt up on the sofa and asked his wife to get her phone.

His wife was pleasantly taken aback by his behavior.

The next half an hour was spent in some needed and some indulgent and over-indulgent shopping. Charitra breathed deeply after he checked out from the shopping portal. He looked happy and felt happy too. No wonder they call it retail therapy, he thought.

Next day, he shared his experience with Ballu and both of them had a good laugh.

“See, bro! It’s a human instinct. If a person has the money, he will like to spend. It’s a thrill. Why should only women enjoy that thrill?”Ballu whispered to Chari.

“Ssh….people may not perceive what we did as normal.”

“Everyone knows women gossip, so they can do it openly. We too love to gossip, but are scared to be labeled so we do it in a hush manner. Just like that, the world jokes about women and shopping, so they even unabashedly use that pretext to check out a product, even if they don’t have any immediate plans of buying it. But what happens to men, who love and want to shop. I am sure there would be many like us.”

“Phew….Ballu, that is a million-dollar point you made today.”

Mobile indicates a message notification.

“Oh wow, it seems my toolkit is on the way. The courier guy should reach any moment.”

“Toolkit?”

“Screwdriver, hammer, spanner,….”

Ballu cuts his friend short.

“Hey listen, don’t do that. You may get accused of attempt to murder.”

“What?”

“On boss right?” Said a worried Ballu.

“Good lord, no! Well, on seconds thought, not a bad idea! In you, I have a perfect alibi.” Charitra winked in the usual Ballu style.

The two men –  two friends now bonded yet again, this time through a journey of discovering happiness through retail.

 

 

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