Monday, November 04, 2002

Why women take ages to shop - the hunting and gathering theory.

This is something that has kept me amused me for a long long time. When I was a kid my mom would take me along with her shopping and I would hate it. Especially when she shopped for sarees or jewellery. It would take up the whole afternoon and the only thing I could do was watch the traffic on the streets outside the shop.

Of course experience enlightened me and in due course I learnt to avoid going shopping for clothes with her. Nowadays I just drop her off at shops and ask her to call me 'after' she has paid the bills if she wants me to pick her up - coz even after bills are paid women chat with the shop keeper for ten minutes or so. So this got me really wondering why they take ages to shop for anything.

The best explanation for this behaviour is called the 'hunting and gathering' theory. Thousands of years ago when life was clean and unpolluted there were only two occupations on this planet. One was hunting and the other was gathering. Hunting was dominated by men and gathering was dominated by women. When men hunt they don't have time to dilly dally. They point their arrow and shoot the first prey that comes along the way. For them all deer, rabbits, birds etc are the same. The aim is to hunt swiftly. And the same goes for them today. When they shop for shirts, pants etc... they usually pick up the first few that look nice.

Gathering on the other hand was dominated by women. They had to pick the right type of roots and fruits - those that were ripe and clean. They had to make sure that they were not spoilt, rotten or infested. This takes time and its a habit and skill that got imprinted on their genetic behavior. A behavior that is exhibited in their day to day shopping. Send a man and a woman inside a room and if you ask them to describe the room afterwards, the woman will be the one who is more likely to tell you the colour, contrast, the soft edges etc. So if your mother, sister of girl friend takes ages to shop for a nail polish... remember its in their genes ;-)


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