Why do people lose their tempers
so often when they are out at the shops? Julia Kandinsky went
to find out.
As you wander round the store doing
your weekly shopping, you may not feel self-conscious, but there
is almost certainly somebody watching you, usually on closed circuit
television, and usually to catch thieves. Last week, the observer
might have been me, as I joined psychologist Dr Mike Edwards for
a day to watch customers over closed circuit television at a branch
of SuperCarry MegaStores. 1. F - I was
not there to surprise shoplifters, but to observe the behaviour
of men and women while they shop together.
Dr Edwards is employed by SuperCarry
MegaStores on a research project to find out why men and women
do not get on with each other when shopping. 2.
H - Shops are interested in making money, and that means giving
shoppers an enjoyable experience, where they spend their money
and want to return. Marital quarrels are one of the main
reasons why customers leave shops feeling unhappy, and one of
the circumstances which stores have least control over.
The biggest problem, according
to Mike Edwards, is to provide what he calls compatible shopping
for both the husband and the wife. Apparently as many as fifty
percent of Saturday morning shopping trips end up in quarrels
between husbands and their wives. 3. B
- These disagreements can be very public, and sometimes they get
quite physical. I watched, horrified, as men shouted at
women, women burst into tears, children were slapped, men walked
off in fury, and all this in a public place where people supposedly
come to have a good time.
Dr Edwards, "when men and women go shopping they are interested
in different things, and they have different objectives. Women
are more interested in clothes. 4.
I - They are more likely to spend time
comparing prices and looking for exactly what they want.
Men, on the other hand, like to hurry through the routine shopping,
and get to the machines and gadgets which interest them."
Where women see shopping as an outing, men see it more as a chore.
We spent an hour focused on the
women's clothing section of the store. "A typical quarrel
here is where the woman is trying on a piece of clothing, and
she says to her husband: "Doesn't this make me look fat?"
and he answers: "Yes, it does."
5. A - And she gets angry with him because she feels he is insulting
her. Many women hesitate a lot over what clothes to buy,
but if they go with their husbands, the chances are they won't