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Shopping demographics change

It seems more men are in the mall as time draws short

December 22, 2012
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

As the "Shopping days till Christmas," changes into "Shopping hours until Christmas," the usual shoppers in the stores are being replaced by men in work jackets looking out of place and uncomfortable in shops that don't sell tools.

Jill Johnson, a book seller at Book World in the Crossroads Mall, was observing some of that first hand.

"The demographics change," she said. "It's usually mostly women, now it's mostly men."

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Matt Ubben, of Humboldt, studies the brochure for a Chevy truck on display at the Crossroads Mall while his wife Jessica shops in a nearby store. Their son Griffin appears to like the vehicle too. Ubben actually had a professional interest in the vehicle’s paint color because he’s a body repair technician.

She said she thinks it may because in most families, the women do the majority of the shopping.

That turned out to be the case for Matt Ubben, of Humboldt. He was reading the brochure for a Chevy pickup truck on display in the corridor while his wife Jessica shopped nearby. Their son Griffin observed the passing crowd from his stroller.

"She's in there getting some foo-foo stuff," he said.

Their shopping venture was to get a few last-minute things, he said. They were mostly done last week.

"That's close to the last minute," he said.

When his wife returned a few minutes later, she confirmed his aversion to the experience.

"He doesn't shop," she said.

Of course, checking out the truck came under the heading of professional reasons - Ubben is a body repair technician and he had not seen the truck's particular color of paint before.

Wyatt Lundberg, of Fort Dodge, was taking a trip to the mall for one last visit to let his children see Santa. His daughter Paige, 4, seemed to be enjoying it but her younger brother, Thomas, 3, was definitely not. He burrowed his head into his dad's coat as deeply as possible to get away from the bearded jolly one.

They were close to done with shopping.

"We just have little bits here and there," Wyatt Lundberg said.

He said he was planning on finishing Sunday - for his wife Sara.

"That's what I'm waiting on," he said. "If I get it too early she'll find it."

Bill Malooly, of Clarion, was taking care of his wife's present Saturday too. He was looking for something sparkly for Sandie.

"It's the first time I went this late," he said.

The couple has been married for five years he said and he seems to have a handle on her taste.

"So far I've done all right," he said. "I'd like to buy her the biggest thing in here, but I'm on a budget."

Of course, it's not just jewelry, books and gift certificates that last-minute shoppers are snapping up. Food stores and other retailers also had full parking lots but a few were quiet.

Shari Burke, owner of Studio Fusion, has been keeping busy but wasn't seeing a big last-minute rush.

"Not yet," she said. "It's early."

She's also a rare exception to the usual rule.

"I'm done," she said. "I'm wrapped and ready to go."

So what does that leave her to do for the next day or so?

"I"m just waiting to see what Santa brings me," she said. "I hope I'm on the good list."



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