Editor Note: This is a repost of an article posted last week. David did a live, nationally televised show regarding on ABC Money Matters titled Shop With Your Man: Why husbands should shop with their wives.
Although the men I know seem uniformly capable of going to a store, buying a product, and feeling confident in their purchases, most of the women I know are quite the opposite. As a result, the women I know seem to return almost as much merchandise as they purchase. Indeed, I am always amazed by the number of women I overhear in stores — especially clothing stores — who exclaim, “I’ll buy [this] but I’ll probably return it next week.”
What the …. ?
When I shop, I like to find what I need, get out of the store as quickly as possible. I think such concepts are alien to the female mind, but they do not have to be. For this reason, I am a firm believer that every husband should shop as much as possible with his wife. When a husband is present, he can dispel his wife’s doubts about almost any purchase because a husband is more than willing to assess each purchase to make sure he can live with it. Whether the purchase is too expensive or impractical or just “not right,” I believe husbands are much better equipped to make validating or invalidating comments to ensure that minimal time is spent in the store.
Usually, shopping with my wife is very easy and she appreciates the time I take to shop with her while we both appreciate our time together. Today, however, I was faced with the greatest horror a husband can face when shopping with his significant other. My wife and I were shopping for things we have never purchased before — pet supplies for the dog we bought. My wife had already spent 40 minutes grilling the floor assistant at PetCo while I wandered over to look at the fish. We had almost made it to the checkout counter when my wife stopped to by a floor mat on which we could put the dog’s food and water bowls. There were many mats from which we could choose. They varied in price from $3.99 to over $20. My wife agonized over various mats while I could only wonder why we were agonizing over a dog bowl mat. To end the discussion, I picked up a mat and said, “this one is perfect. Let’s go.”
I moved towards the checkout counter, holding my breath. One step, two steps, three steps … I was almost there. Then my wife stopped me and asked the worst question that a man can hear when shopping for anything that is appreciated subjectively. She said, “Why?” Why was the mat I had chosen the perfect mat? I needed an answer and I needed it fast. I very quickly looked at the mat that I had chosen and read aloud all of the positive features that were described on its packaging. My wife was still not convinced so I talked about the color scheme in the room in which the dog would eat and I observed that the texture on the mat would not allow food and drink to get caught in tiny nooks and crannies.
I recited every possible positive aspect of the dog bowl mat and finally my wife agreed with me that it was perfect. Do I think that the dog bowl mat was perfect? No. It is a mat. I won’t notice it ever again. I just realized that agonizing over every purchase does not make a lot of sense. Not every purchase needs to be perfect. Some just need to be practical, even if they are less than perfect. Indeed, I have no desire to put the effort into researching the perfect mat. I just don’t. That mat was perfect because it was the closest mat to me and the cheapest that I could see.
If you are a husband and your wife asks you to shop with her for anything at all, you should say yes. If you do, here are at least five benefits that you will enjoy:
Easier Returns: If a man has a return, he will bring it back to the store as soon as he realizes that he has a return. A woman is far more likely to leave returns to the very last day of the 90 day return window. By charging everything on his own credit card, the husband can take charge of returns and not give his wife’s favorite stores 90 days of float!
Husbands can offer Immediate Opinions: If a wife is going to go home and ask her spouse whether he likes something, the husband can avoid amazing trauma by offering the opinion at the store. At home, the husband is trapped. If he says he dislikes something, he risks spousal frustration. An indication of approval is almost always followed by the horrific follow on question of “Why? Why do you like it?” for which there is never an acceptable answer. In a store, a trained husband can usually scout an entire store or department and announce before further damage is done that “There is nothing here. Let’s move on.” He has thus immediately eliminated an entire store without questioning his wife’s taste. At the same time, if the store does have good selections, a trained husband can respond to queries with “I don’t think that is right for you, but you really should try this on.” Giving a new approved option will do wonders and it will help to cut down on returns.
Shopping with a Spouse is Good Training for Christmas and Birthdays: A husband should learn what his wife likes to buy in a clothing store and the best way to do that is to shop with the wife. It significantly increases the likelihood that holiday gifts will be appreciated and actually used!
Window Shopping is a Cheap form of Entertainment: I’ve read that most women would rather go for a long walk with a husband than go out for an expensive dinner. Walking through a quaint shopping district and admiring a wife while she tries on clothing, even if she would never buy it, can be a very romantic and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Combining Shopping Trips Saves Gas: I spend about thirty minutes buying clothes every year. When I see something on sale when I am shopping with my wife, I buy it. I wear it. I would never go to a clothing store if my wife did not want to shop. I still wear the same black t-shirts that I bought 20 years ago. Until they fall off my body, I will find a way to keep wearing them! Shopping with my wife allows me to add to my collection of black t-shirts without actually driving to the Mall for my own purposes.
Of course, the main reason that I shop with my wife is because I would rather spend my time with her doing anything than spend my time away from her doing anything else. I like to think that she enjoys my company when I shop with her as much as she enjoys mine, and I am confident that she likes being able to get my opinion on the spot (whether or not she agrees with it or acts on it). And sometimes, we even get to stop in stores that look interesting to me.
What do you think? Are you a wife who enjoys having her husband in attendance at the store? Or would you rather have your husband remain blissfully unaware of your shopping patterns? Are you a husband who can comment on hemlines and who knows which colors work best during each season? Do you like shopping with your wife or are you an unwilling participant in shopping excursions?