Five Ways Men Shop Like Pac-Man

19/12/2014 06:19 GMT | Updated 17/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Shopping for clothes is the opposite of convenient. I don't know about you but I only shop a couple of times a year, and if I ever decide to visit a clothing store or shopping mall - especially over the holidays - I'm on a mission with a carefully planned exit strategy.

Oh yes, I always know my exits.

To optimize for convenience, I get in and out of a store as fast as possible, preferably without ever covering the same area twice, and all the while avoiding interaction with anyone that works there in the process.

In reality, shopping feels kind of like a life-sized game of Pac-Man:

1. Get in and out as fast as possible

Us guys, we all know the feeling. When we go shopping for clothes we have a clear, thought-out purpose for every single visit to the store. That's why we try to avoid trips to the mall with the girlfriend at all costs - women don't seem to EVER have a plan for their shopping. Just browsing? Cringe. You'll find me on the 2nd floor crunched up like a ball in the only damn chair of the shoe section.

Really, you should think of the mall as hell on earth: When the sliding doors close behind you, the sharp lighting and dry air will immediately distort your vision. The first thing you do is locate the nearest exit. Always know your exits. All your exits. You scan the store, find the most likely department, calculate the best possible route to get there (without being bothered by the enemy or, in layman's terms, "shop assistants") and venture into the abyss, eyes fixed on the target.

2. Don't ever cover the same ground twice

It's time to get moving. The mall is a complex maze. At a steady pace you begin to cover this unknown territory behind enemy lines. Never stop to touch anything. Who are you kidding? You already know if you'll like that sweater over there, thanks to the Superman-like X-ray vision you've acquired after decades of excruciating shopping experiences.

You continue at the same pace and sure as hell don't allow the personnel to slow you down. Avoid at all costs (1) looking like someone who don't know his sh*t, and (2) losing precious time. If you don't find what you're looking for on your first route through a department, don't check again. Been there, done that.

3. Avoid interactions at all costs

Shopping is traumatic, and I don't want to interact with anyone as I go through it. That doesn't just include people that work in the store but also any friends and family I might be unfortunate enough to bump into. Small talk in the middle of a packed store - no thanks. I'd prefer shopping to only require interacting with one person: the guy at the cash register. To be honest - I'd prefer that this person wouldn't be there either.

In reality you spend more time avoiding shopping assistants than you do looking for clothes. If an assistant approaches you leave everything behind - even that perfect pair of chinos - and run. They're lost forever. And you're not coming back. If you experience any incoming assistants, change route immediately. You would rather take the long way around than risk being slowed down. Recalibrate and try again.

4. No - I don't need help. I know exactly what I'm doing

That familiar tap on the shoulder. Followed by the most dreaded four words known to mankind: "Can I help you?" Or even worse: "Looking for anything special?"

In general, men don't enjoy the pro-active shopping assistant. Why? Well, for one thing we always know exactly what we're doing, of course, and we don't need an escort.

Another reason men prefer to buy online and trying on clothes at home is because trying on stuff at the store means hearing a shop assistant pace back and forth right outside the dressing room. The absolute worst thing is when the assistant actually peeks in.

As a man, I know exactly when I like something, and assistants - hell, even girlfriends - should avoid peeking.

5. If you've completed normal difficulty - try shopping with a girlfriend

So you managed to browse through the most relevant areas of the store in record time. You avoided all the store assistants, didn't sign up to the loyalty program, and you still know you closest exit. Congratulations!

If you're a man that's up to the challenge, you can now continue to difficulty level 2:

Shopping with your girlfriend. Have her bring along a few of her friends to achieve the high score. Just, please, remember to carefully consider your exist strategy.

Always know your closest exit.