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Shopping Personalities

In this column we are going to depart from our normal selection of new money saving tips for the frugal minded, to announce an important new shopping psyche discovery.

 Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman 

In this column we are going to depart from our normal selection of new money saving tips for the frugal minded, to announce an important new shopping psyche discovery.
After decades of studying the retail habits of Kiwis we can announce the discovery of two hitherto unknown shopping personality types. Previously we have reported on ‘hunters’ and ‘grazers’ but now we have unearthed two new types of shoppers: ‘Power shoppers’ and ‘shopping grumps’!
The power shopper is a shopper with a purpose. They usually shop alone, don’t shop often, know what they want, and usually know where to find it. If they do need assistance they don’t muck around with tedious greetings like “How are you?” before asking “Can you tell me where the tomato sauce is please?”, and when they do get directions they never hang about long enough to hear the shopping assistant ask “Is there anything else I can help you with?”.
Power shoppers have made their purchase decision before they enter the store. They have a shopping list, have figured out the most efficient way to work their way through a store and numbered their items accordingly. When blocked by grazers and trolley jams, power shoppers can be heard mumbling “come on, get out of the way” as they swerve their shopping trolley to avoid collision. They rarely stop for in-store tastings – unless they skipped lunch – and do not even bother looking at the bargain bins. They are usually happiest when shopping on-line with a high speed broadband connection, and are likely to live in the well-to-do suburbs of our largest cities.
The second new discovery is shopping grumps. Shopping grumps hate shopping. When forced into dens of iniquitous spending they drag their feet grumbling that everything is too expensive, not needed, too big or too small, too this or too that. They complain about the lack of parking, or if there are lots of spaces, none are close enough. They moan that the shop assistants are too young, have nose studs, are too trendy, too helpful or not helpful enough and they hate it when someone says “Have a nice day”. When they do buy something it is usually for small ticket items with a freebie attached or an ice cream – one scoop! Fortunately they are not seen all that often in shops because they are generally left at home in the garden or having a good laugh watching Grumpy Old Men on the tellie or Grumpy Old Women on their DVD.
Finally, we conclude with a warning from one recovering oily rag shopper.
“There I was, happily browsing through a rack of underwear when I saw them…  socks, just like the pair I bought the day before, but these were now on special! They were reduced from $2.95 to $0.95. I could not control my rage… I lost all sense of reason, the next thing I knew I was speeding down a narrow isle knocking over topless mannequins, heading directly towards the complaints desk like a kamikaze. Fortunately I snapped out of it before it was too late and after much consoling I had to accept that I was $2 out of pocket!”
So our final word on shopping personalities is a word of warning: be careful out there – there could be a shopping-rage shopper in the next isle.
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* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at The book is available from bookstores and online at