Understanding the types of Christmas shoppers

Sherri Gardner HowellBlount, Farragut, Kitchen Table Talk, West Hills

There are 16 days until Christmas.


How’s the shopping going?

The answer to that question probably depends on what type of Christmas shopper you are. Basically, I believe there are five types of holiday shoppers.

* The Organized Shopper is the one we love to hate. OS has her list made by September, complete with notes in the margins of possible gift ideas. Mention a scarf or trinket you have had your eye on, and OS discreetly makes a note of it. Chances are good it will be under your tree, even if you have completely forgotten you ever liked it.

The Organized Shopper is a slow, steady shopper. He/she looks for bargains but isn’t driven by them. The gift needs to fit the person. Don’t bother telling the OS that you want gift cards or cash for Christmas. It’s not going to happen.

What does motivate the OS is getting it done. The OS is determined to have everything bought and wrapped by early December.

* The Instinctive Shopper trusts his/her knowledge of the receiver and keeps looking for that “perfect” gift. An IS doesn’t ask for a list, preferring to decide herself what the best gift for you is. Gifts are often accompanied by comments such as, “I saw this and immediately thought of you!” Many times the receiver is left trying to figure out how a fuzzy pink sweater screamed her name. Many other times, however, the IS hits the jackpot, finding the most unusual, creative gifts you can imagine.

The “wow” factor is what motivates the Instinctive Shopper, whose gifts are also, always beautifully wrapped, usually in paper that matches her tree.

* The Bargain Shopper has had a tough year. Tried and true traditions of door-buster prices and deep-discount come-ons (50 percent off this popular item, which, by the way, we have only three of in stock …) disappeared as more and more people took to ecommerce and avoiding Covid crowds.

Bargain Shoppers didn’t like the way retailers did Black Friday this year. The deals weren’t deep enough, and there was no reward for the truly committed BS, who will sleep outside an electronics store to save $100 on a gaming system. The BS is motivated by price but also loves a list because being laser-focused saves time and money.

* The Clueless Shopper does little to no planning for gift buying. If there’s a list, it’s just a list of names and maybe pajama sizes. The CS will wander malls, shopping centers, big-box stores, just waiting for inspiration to hit. Different from the Instinctive Shopper, this shopper really doesn’t know what to buy and seldom asks.

The Clueless Shopper is a great fan of all those ads that pop up on her Facebook page. You will get a lot of novelty items from the CS, or, if you are lucky, gift cards. What the CS really wants is a personal shopper to do it for him/her.

* The Procrastinating Shopper knows it’s December but isn’t worried about shopping yet. When he/she finally does hit the stores – very little online shopping for the PS – there will be lots of impulse buying and little regard for cost. The PS also tends to buy the same gift for several people. If Aunt Suzy would like a scented candle with a picture of a patron saint on it, chances are several others on the list will, too.

I have no scientific data to back up my categorizations of Christmas shoppers. What I do have is a history of having, at some point in my life, been all of these types!

Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons.

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