Like snowflakes, no two people are alike and that’s no more apparent than in our shopping habits. For some shopping is a chore and for others it’s therapeutic. There are frugal shoppers, extreme shoppers and just about every other kind in between. From sale seekers to surgical strikers, we’ve compiled the most common shopping personalities and no matter which one you identify with this busy holiday season, don’t forget the most important thing: Keep Calm and Shop On.
[Illustrations By Sean Kelly]
The Power Shopper
With a strategy and itemized list in hand, Power Shoppers cannot be bothered with the menial task of searching for gifts. Nope, the Power Shopper is simply too busy with work, kids, sports or other pressing demands to devote more than a single day, mapped out to the minute, in order to Git ‘Er Done.
Methodically working their way through various big box stores, they nab the first thing that marginally meets their criteria before crossing it off the list and immediately moving on to the next item. Pajama pants for Kaye? Check. A leaf blower for Bob? Yep. Gift card for the coach? Done.
As the sun sets, the Power Shopper, sweaty from exertion, heads out to the car with bags in one hand and energy bar in the other, satisfied by another mission accomplished and with enough time leftover to hit the gym on the way home.
With little patience for the mall and even less for other people, the Onliner bypasses the whole leaving-the-house thing preferring to make purchases from the relative safety of their computer monitor.
Fortified with an Amazon Prime account and holed up at a corner desk, they suffer from acute red-eye fatigue and finger cramps after hours of intense clicking for just the right friendship necklace. They celebrate Cyber Monday like a national holiday and occasionally forsake getting dressed or brushing their teeth in lieu of locating a 50-inch flat screen for less than a hundred bucks.
With a fortress of boxes piled on their front step, they maintain a love-hate relationship with the UPS guy who doesn’t appreciate delivering 40-pound bags of cat litter or daily Zappos boxes procured with free shipping and returns, but who will retire independently wealthy from the Onliner’s purchases alone.
The Treasure Hunter
The most attentive and thoughtful of all shoppers, the Treasure Hunter spends weeks, sometimes months picking out just the right thing for you, guaranteeing that you’ll feel like a complete heel for the impersonal candle you threw into a gift bag before leaving the house.
It’s not uncommon for Treasure Hunters to keep a 3-ring binder on hand to store the perfect greeting card they bought for you last March. And they are always prepared with spare, just-in-case gifts from everyone’s favorite stores for any last minute holiday gathering or get together.
With coordinating paper and bows, their flawlessly wrapped presents often inspire recipients to exclaim, “Oh, this looks so nice that I don’t even want to open it!” — and subsequently make everyone else’s gifts appear as though they were fished straight out of a Dumpster.
When most of us receive a sweater or some other item we’re not crazy about, we typically return or exchange it. The Re-Gifter, however, stores unwanted gifts as inventory and keeps them on hand for the next time they’re required to produce one for any variety of occasions.
Regardless of whether or not their 15-year-old niece wants an electric deep fryer for her birthday, the Re-Gifter will carefully package it up with recycled paper saved from other gifts, and give it anyway.
It’s not the thought that counts, but rather the gift.
When stock runs low, it’s not uncommon for Re-Gifters to pillage their own personal items for presents and recipients shouldn’t be surprised to receive “heirloom” jewelry, a shirt that-I-only-wore-once, or a nice bottle of wine that someone else brought to the party.
Gifts from the socially-conscious Biodegrader never include animal by-products, GMOs or unrecycled plastic. Wrapped in paper made from sustainable forests, Biodegraders want to help make the world a better place through each and every purchase. And they never forget their reusable bags in the car.
Typical gifts from the Biodegrader include things you can’t actually use like a star named after your firstborn or lifelong financial support for a colony of Chilean alpacas. Rounding out the list are tie-dyed hoodies, multi-vitamin packs and anything made from hemp.
They are also not afraid to gift home-baked goods like gluten-free quinoa balls or cookies made from flax seed and agave. And if they are bringing a holiday dish to share, you can be sure it’ll come served with arrowroot gravy.
The Impulse Buyer
An economy-sized pack of Big Red? A set of Eiffel Tower drinking cups? You never know what the Impulse Buyer will purchase next, but you can be sure that it wasn’t planned or well thought out. This shopper is the sole reason that there are trial-size bottles of Febreze and corn nuts in the checkout lane.
Armed and dangerous with a MasterCard, Impulse Buyers will throw just about anything into their carts, and it’s not out of the question to receive lavender hand soaps one year and a protractor the next.
With their heads on a swivel, Impulse Buyers are easily identifiable in stores looking back and forth to ensure they haven’t missed anything they might want to buy and usually obstruct the checkout aisle debating whether or not to throw in Scotty dog-shaped shortbread cookies at the last minute.
The Laser Striker
The Laser Striker is most often male and much like the Death Star, the Laser Striker zeros in on the one thing they need and will not be deterred from going in after it as part of a dedicated military operation.
The force is strong with these shoppers and even a fresh rack of football jerseys or aviator sunglasses will not distract them from their laser-focused determination to get in, purchase athletic socks, and escape without detection.
Threatening the entire mission, however, is the unexpected tagalong wife or girlfriend, who will insist on stopping and looking at every single item from one corner of the store to the other (usually more than once) thus rendering the strike completely ineffective thus requiring a new, covert plan of attack be drawn up as soon as possible.
The Bargain Binger
It doesn’t matter if it’s a broken bike lock or a one-armed turtleneck; the Bargain Binger sees a red “Clearance” sticker and, like runway lights on an airfield, makes a final approach for a landing.
In order of importance, the relevance of a gift often comes in a distant third after sale price and availability. Receivers shouldn’t be surprised if they find a porcelain dolphin figurine or blinding neon sweater hidden beneath the tissue paper. The tag is carefully cut to suggest the Bargain Binger paid full price for your personal grooming kit, but everyone knows better, and no one should expect a gift receipt.
Upon checking out, the Bargain Binger rarely owes any money as they often have enough promotional coupons stuffed in their wallet to have earned cash back or at the very least some kind of store credit.