Shopping has been our family sport since generations. We sweat over it like a bunch of honeybees. Working relentlessly without taking a vacation. And yet none of us qualifies to come even close to being a seasoned, respectable shopper.
In fact if I were to dissect a tiny cross-section of my family, weeding out all the crazy cousins and uncles, there would still appear about five eccentric classes of shoppers.
And these shoppers are not just typical to my family. They are ubiquitous. You are likely to see them swarming the malls this Christmas season too.
Photo Credit: Mona Singh
1) The Rabid Raccoon: My favourite aunt compares to one.
She is perhaps the most rambunctious shopper in our family. She goes into a shop with the intent of ransacking it. Like she owns everything. She demands to be seated. To be served. To be pleased like she is the only customer that ever walked into that store. And she openly expresses her displeasure at the staff and the stuff that they are so diligently trying to sell.
You hardly ever see her coming out with a shopping bag. And by golly if she does. She is back in the store next week threatening to return the item for its substandard quality.
2) The Bawling Baby: My dad compares to one.
He is perhaps the most gullible shopper in our family. He goes into a shop trying to please the sales staff. And he takes it upon himself as a moral obligation to buy anything that the staff recommend. He sides with them as if everything in life afterwards depends on that critical purchase.
Unless someone comes to his rescue, he is likely to come out with a dozen shopping bags filled with things that no one on the market is buying. And of course a maxed out credit card.
3) The Overrated Consultant: My mum compares to one.
She is the best co-shopper in our family. She gives sensible advise. She reminds you of your financials. She helps you design a shopping strategy, a clear roadmap. Basically, she knows how to shake you out of your delusional shopping spell. And she insists on negotiating even the marked-down prices. That's her forte.
But when left to her own devices or to her own shopping list, she commits such costly blunders that you wonder whether she should even be allowed anywhere close to a mall.
4) The Aimless Nomad: My partner compares to one.
He is perhaps the laziest shopper in our family. He enters a shop with the intent to procrastinate the activity of shopping with another activity. If he is in need of a new pair of jeans, he will probably be seen perusing through gadgets at an electronic store or munching popcorn at the food court. And let's say if he does accidentally hit upon that perfect pair of jeans, he is likely to chicken out thinking that he must run a background check: go online, find out about other options, gather data and then perhaps try something new.
These kinds of shoppers primarily depend on gifts and donations to fill their wardrobes. They are not to be trusted with shopping anything other than perishable goods.
5) The Impulsive Avocado: My sister compares to one.
She is my favourite kind of shopper. It's a delight to watch her in action. She enters a store. She has the product image in her head. She doesn't like to be interrupted. She has the skills to locate her buy with a dart-like precision. And once she has made up her mind, she will do anything to bring everyone on her side to see the beauty of her purchase.
Her negotiating skills might be zero, if not negative. For the joy on her face after a fresh purchase is close to having won a lottery. Shopkeepers love such kind of emotional tyrants.
Despite the nuisance, the legend of shopping continues in our family.