Why Do Men Get So Miserable When Shopping?

Why Do Men Get So Miserable When Shopping?

It's like going to the mall is worse than a colonsocopy. 

By Marianne Garvey

Did you know that men grow really unhappy while shopping after about 26 minutes?

It’s almost not worth it to take them along — but that would be letting them off the hook too easily.

Women can last about two hours shopping before becoming annoyed, but dragging along a male partner makes them meltdown much faster, since almost half of all spousal shopping trips ends in an argument, reports Psychology Today.

So what’s making men so pissed?

Well, they usually find and buy what they need fast, while their partners browsed and took too long to make decisions.

Author and lecturer Steve Taylor says that the roles we fall into while shopping go back to early time.

“For hundreds of thousands of years, until around 8000 BCE, all human beings lived as hunter-gatherers — that is, they survived by hunting wild animals (the man’s job) and foraging for wild plants, nuts, fruit, and vegetables (the woman’s job),” Steve says. “When anthropologists began to look systematically at how modern-day hunter-gatherers use their time, they discovered that, far from exhausting themselves in their search for food, they actually spent only 12 to 20 hours per week at it.”

Women, meanwhile, ended up providing around 80-90 percent of groups' food of fruits, vegetables, roots and nuts, which meant they were out looking for food, for a longer period of time.

“It’s no surprise that hunting and gathering are still instinctive to us. And this brings us back to shopping — because these instincts may show themselves in our shopping habits,” Steve says. “When most women shop, they are in more of a 'gathering' mode - browsing from tree to tree (or shop to shop) looking for ripe and nutritious fruit. They spend a lot of time examining the food, checking its freshness and edibility, and they discard quite a lot of it. At the end of the trip, they return home laden with a wide variety of food stuffs (or shopping bags).”

Try explaining that theory to your husband.

#mayweather 📸 @timelinewood

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Men have more prehistoric minds, Psychology Today says. “They have one thing in mind: kill an animal and go home. They don’t want to waste time browsing, and it’s not so necessary for them to examine their food acquisitions. They just look for animals, kill them, pick them up, and go straight home. Perhaps this rush to get home was based on the knowledge that if a hunter left an animal lying for too long, other animals or insects would start to eat it. Some dead animals would also have been heavy, and so difficult to carry around for long. Also, in hot and humid conditions, it wouldn't be long before meat would start to go bad.”

Dreaming about the days of Netflix and Chill.

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There are millions of men and women to whom these characteristics don't apply, but still, there “is a tendency for men and women to shop in these different ways, then they could be explained in terms of our hunter-gatherer past.”

Research shows that once you become aware of the reasons why you shop, it becomes easier to “control and overcome it.” “Perhaps we should shop more sensibly, and bring our buying more in line with our needs than our desires.

“This might also help us to overcome the impulse to buy unnecessary material goods — items that we may not be able to afford, which often don’t bring us any happiness, and which are often produced by low-paid, exploited workers in poorer parts of the world — and which, on the massive collective scale that we consume them, contribute to environmental degradation.”

There's even an Instagram dedicated to men who find the idea of shopping exhausting, called Miserable Men. We've all seen them. 


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A shopping mall in China has even introduced "husband pods," where significant others can rest while their wives spend money. 

The Global Harbour mall in Shanghai has installed the glass pods where bored spouses can play video games or lounge on leather chairs.

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