Saturday, November 04, 2006

Where the Boys Are

Who says men don't shop?

Today, I stood in line at Lush behind a man who bought $90 worth of soap. No, that is not a typo. How do you spend $90 on soap? He looked like an ordinary businessman dressed in Friday casual khakis and a sport coat, doing a quick shop after work. His very ordinariness made me ponder the question of how and why men buy.

I realized, then, that I have seen a lot of men shopping lately. The other day at H&M, I stood in line at the cash register closest to the men's department, surrounded by men, most of them young, all of them buying clothes. Some were still shopping while in line, trying on sunglasses from conveniently placed racks. The basement of Urban Outfitters is always swarming with twentysomethings, trying on trainers and buying t-shirts, jeans and novelty costers. Young men aren't the only ones who shop for their own clothes. Every time I'm at Macy's men's store, it's filled with men carrying shopping bags. Apple is another store that's always filled with men of all ages, reading email, playing with the iPods & buying stuff.

This anecdotal evidence seems to prove that men do, indeed, shop. Shopping is not the same as browsing, though. Shopping is an end result, while browsing is a process. If I had to make a gross generalization about the sexes, I'd say that women see shopping as an activity in itself, regardless of the end result, while men see the end result.

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