NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It's that time of year again. On Thanksgiving Eve we party, on Thanksgiving Day we eat, and on Black Friday, we shop! While some are spending Thanksgiving afternoon preparing their festive dinners, others are preparing their lounge chairs, sleeping bags and packable snacks for their annual parking lot camp-out. The enticing Black Friday sales attract all different kinds of shopping extremists.
While one person may be looking for a good deal on a new TV, another person may be looking to cross off every single item on their shopping list. However, despite their differences in goals, shoppers can be easily grouped into categories based on similar characteristics and shopping tendencies. Are you a carefree spender?
Or, maybe you make it a point to only shop with a coupon? Keep reading to find out what kind of shopper you are!
1. The Sale Go-Getter. You are the epitome of a Black Friday extraordinaire. You can't resist a good sale, and when you find one, you don't hesitate to make the purchase, regardless of whether or not you actually need the item. You are also likely to buy more than one of the same item that's on sale in various colors, patterns and scents whichever. A few separate people on your holiday shopping list may get the same item from you, but they'll never know because they don't know each other. There's also a 99% chance that you purchased a matching item for yourself. I mean, the scarves were "buy 2 get one free." How could you possibly go wrong?
2. The Chronic Returner. AKA, the Impulse Buyer! Do you ever make a purchase, large or small, and get home to only experience a wave of unending guilt? If you answered yes, say a big hello to "buyer's remorse." Buyer's remorse comes in many different variations. It can be minimal, like making the choice to purchase yet another pair of heels for $80 because they were adorable instead of buying your mom a birthday present. The Chronic Returner will go home, feel guilty over the purchase and eventually return the shoes.
Others may handle it a different way, maybe by skipping their $10 lunch salads for a week in the attempt to scrounge up some extra cash to get your mom those leather gloves (and keeping the shoes, of course). Alternate forms of buyer's remorse that constantly rattle Chronic Returners come along when making a big, life-altering change, like purchasing a house, car, or even a wedding dress. You may have known in your head exactly what you were looking for when you were shopping for this big-ticket item, and you may have been thrilled when you decided to buy it. Even if the item meets all of the needs on your list, you can't help but wonder if you made the best choice, or, if having waited, you could have found something better. All in all, Chronic Returners (most of the time) suffer from buyer's remorse, which stems from doubt over purchases that were most likely impulse buys. If this is you, make a shopping list before you leave your house, and think twice before buying that $300 fur vest. You don't need it.
3. The Self-Soother. Ever heard of retail therapy? Yes, skeptics, it is a real thing. Whether compating a romantic issue or trouble at work, the Self-Soother is the type of person who feels comforted and entertained when browsing the mall or other various retail stores. It's the person's home away from home, and it puts a positive spin on a person's mood.
If you want to walk into a new job with a fresh suit and a new pair of shoes, it will most likely boost your confidence, make you happier and enable you to do a better job. However, if you're at the point where you have one or more maxed out credit cards and are hiding shopping bags in the trunk of your car, it's time to cut the cord. If your self-soothing has become the primary reason why your wallet (or maybe your spouse) hates you, try finding another hobby that you also find comforting to take the place of shopping. Running, reading and meditation are three popular (and free!) ways to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and clear the mind. If none of these options works for you, try befriending someone who falls into the next category...
4. The Couponista. Ever watch an episode of Extreme Couponing? There are actually people out there who somehow find ways to get their entire bill paid for with coupons. It's an art, really. This type of person has a lot of time and patience to gather, cut and organize his coupons (or, in today's world, has time to search coupons on his various smartphone apps and gather them all into one spot). I should make it a point to say that some Couponistas are not this extreme. Many retail stores, like Express, Macy's and New York & Company will send out coupons to customers taking either percentages or dollar amounts off of a purchase. These coupons are so enticing, because they make you feel like you're really getting a huge bang for your buck. Sometimes you are, and sometimes you aren't.
Stores like this send out their fantastic coupons on a fairly regular basis—so, while the pants you just got during the "buy 1 get one 50% off" sale, in two weeks the same pants may list at 40% off each, which turns out to be a slightly better deal. It's a gamble, but coupons are where it's at. As the economy worsens, coupon redemption increases. I try not to think too much about what this means for our economy now that there are tons of highly-frequented discount websites and smartphone apps, like Groupon, LivingSocial and CouponCabin. It probably means that the people in category #5 will probably be the last ones standing when disaster strikes (knock on wood!).
5. The Need-Based Shopper. If you are a Need-Based Shopper, I bow down to you. No matter how many times I tell myself that I need to go to a store for just one item, it NEVER happens. Sometimes I feel guilty, while other times I talk myself into needing all of the extra items I just purchased (and sometimes I actually do need them—key word: sometimes). Need-Based Shoppers are those who don't really have a love for shopping; they just see it as a task that needs to be completed. If you need to pick up a steak and a bunch of asparagus for dinner, you go to the supermarket for those two items and you don't leave toting steak, asparagus and the fabulous hummus that the sample girl was giving out on pita chips. If you're a Need-Based Shopper, I have two things to tell you: 1. I admire your sense of responsibility, and 2. I bet your bank account is much more impressive than mine.
--Written by Ciara Larkin for MainStreet