Why Don’t All Womens’ Boutiques Have Man-Lounges?

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man lounge in womes store

I mean, think about it…

I’m a guy, which means I shop for gear. I don’t shop to shop. I don’t browse. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just isn’t my thing. Okay, to be honest…recreational shopping kills me.

I go, I buy, I leave.

And, most men I know are the same way. Not all, but most. So, any time I am asked to come along for a day of shopping or, as my grandmother used to call it “schpotzeering,” it doesn’t take long before I want to tear my hair out. Which is pretty funny, because in most any other situation, I am usually a pretty patient person.

I try not to show it, I remain pleasant enough, but I think my wife might be onto me.

Dunno, maybe it’s the constant sighing, looking at my watch or walking up to the front of the store to see if day has turned to night yet.

My wife and I love being together, but I can tell the subtle-tension often leads her to either want to cut her shopping adventure short or secretly wish she could transport me back to our apartment, so I could play on twitter and she could recapture her browsing buzz.

Which led me to wonder…

Why doesn’t every womens’ boutique put a man-lounge in the back?

It doesn’t have to be fancy. We’re guys. Patio furniture, a flat screen, remote and wi-fi will keep us busy for hours…if not days. Then, we can chill out and be happy, while the women we love can take all the time in the world to shop.

No more mantrums!

I’ve got to imagine this would make women who are hooked up with men like me (a) more inclined to shop in the first place, and (b) more likely to spend a lot more time shopping and, therefore, a lot more money?

So, from a sales and marketing standpoint, wouldn’t the loss of a small bit of real estate in the part of the store where nothing would sell anyway be worth the gain in traffic and sales?

Why don’t stores do this?

I am especially curious to know:

  • Do you think a man-lounge would solve the problem?
  • Are you in a reverse-shopping quandary (ultimate shopping man)
  • Is this too simplified, are there plenty of women who’d like the same thing in men-oriented stores?
  • What other features would you want in your, um, multi-sex lounge?
  • From a marketing standpoint, do you think this could make a real difference in shopping frequency and duration and drive sales to new levels?

What do you guys think?

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26 responses

26 responses to “Why Don’t All Womens’ Boutiques Have Man-Lounges?”

  1. That’s what the Starbucks at the mall is for! Chris just settles in with his 2 pump rasperry white mocha and laptop for as long as it takes.

  2. Alex Jones says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    it does not work that way. Ok, close your eye and try to recapitulate your last shopping expirience with your wife. Try to remember the moment, when you entered that woman shop… the smell… the sound… everything. Walk few steps and … What did you do? You were acompaining your wife, she was looking at clothes and… what did she do? She asked all different questions, like “what do you think? Shall i pick red or green one?”, “do you like it?”, “do i look fat in this one”?, etc.

    We are doomed to join our wives to shopping tours. It is our destiny. It is not to punish us, but thats their way to show us that they care about us.

    So, no lounge is going to help us, it will do just opposite, it will lure us and tease us to go there, but we will have to stay near our wives and tell them how well they look in new clothes.

    Thats also main difference, when you go shopping, you buy stuff, you buy it for you, to look good in it for you, while girls buy stuff to look good for others: For them too, but thats is not as important as to look great for others…

    We are simply different…

    Alex.

  3. Man, I would ACTUALLY want to go shopping! What a great idea.

  4. Dan says:

    I don’t know that my wife would take me to the stores with the man-lounge. I get busted if I browse the web on my phone (when my actual job is smiling and nodding whenever she says, “isn’t this cuuuuuuute?”).

  5. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Hayden – Ahhh, now it’s all getting clearer!

    @ Alex – Hmmm, interesting point about the input thing. What if, when you walked in the store, each couple got a little mobile wifi camera that could beam an image of any item of clothing or modeling session to a picture in a picture on the flat screen in the man-lounge? Would that work?

    @ Glen – Count me in, too!

  6. A local Nordstrom’s has a cafe. I would frequent during shopping expeditions, but I haven’t been there in a while. Maybe serving cocktails would help?

  7. Ivy says:

    The idea could never work because it would implode under the weight of its own stereotyping.

    I don’t actually like shopping except for books and music, but I will say this… you, we hope, are a grownup — perfectly capable of having a rational discussion on this issue with your mate and coming to some mature compromise. And if not there’s always the diversity of the mall.

    Now what I want are stores with kids play corners/areas. Because unlike grown men, kids aren’t supposed to have adult level patience and usually can’t opt to stay home and play on twitter (or wander over to the Bose shop to check out surround sound while mom tries shit on). All hail Ikea.

  8. Tim Brownson says:

    I must be in touch with my feminine side, I actually like shopping, I encourage my wife to go shopping and have no qualms about wondering around aimlessly.

    I need help, don’t I?

  9. Alex Jones says:

    @ Jonathan
    It is question of closiness, or do you prefer cyber cudling as replacement for real one. Also, when there is a webcam or simmilar, do you really think you will look at that little (< 7″) screen, when you are doing something that needs your attention?

    How often did it happen to you while you were working on PC, or watching movie, that your wife said something and you just acknowledged it, to get you into trouble, few hours (days?) later?

    No! When you go shopping, you are going shopping, no matter how boring it may sound. This is question of showing attention to your wife 🙂

    Alex

  10. Shama Hyder says:

    Okay, I am really lucky because Fiancee loves to come shopping with me. Actually, he is better at picking out my clothes. So, no man lounge for him.

    But, I think it’s a GREAT idea for malls to just have wi-fi lounges, with Tv’s etc. Because sometimes I will go to the mall with friends who want to shop when all I want to do is twitter or blog or work on client projects. WiFi Lounge = Perfect idea.

  11. A man-lounge might work for some, but in a mall other options are already in place–Starbucks or other coffee shop with WiFi, for example.

    I learned long ago not to drag any unwilling person to go shopping with me–husband, girlfriend or children. Making good decisions while shopping or just having fun looking requires like minds, patience and an unhurried pace.

    Either leave the reluctant husband or whoever at home, or scatter to your preferred stores in the mall and set a time to meet for lunch or dinner.

  12. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Ivy – I totally agree, as grown-ups we do things for each other all day long that might not be on the top of our love-it lists. And, sometimes, heck, many times conversation and compromise is the answer. But, what I am getting at goes beyond that. What if there were a way to make everyone happy, even the shop-owner. What if a simple change in the experience could turn it into a win-win-win?

    @ Tim – Hey, there’s an exception to every rule, you’re a lucky man! 😉

    @ Alex – you bring up a really interesting point, which is that I think that the act of join in a shopping expedition can mean something very different to each person.

    To one, it’s just shopping (often the guy), nothing more, nothing less…end of story. But, to the other, it might represent “attention” or commitment or willingness to honor another person’s feelings or desires.

    Interestingly, because I’ve spent a lot of energy building my career around the opportunity to be with my family and I am with my wife the better part of every day, including weekdays, the attention issue isn’t so much an issue in our relationship. But, I could see how it might come into play in others. Definitely something to mull over!

    @ Shama – woohoo, now that man’s a keeper!

    @ Flora – you make a great point too, “Making good decisions while shopping or just having fun looking requires like minds, patience and an unhurried pace.” I wonder if forced attendance and attention really delivers what is sought.

    @ Everyone – I think when we’re talking about malls, you’re right, there are plenty of options, I am thinking more about the many non-mall stores and boutiques (NYC habit, we don’t really do malls).

    Plus, as an entrepreneur, the question that intrigues me more is the potential effect on the merchant. There’s got to be some whitepaper or research on this.

    Anyone out there in retail who knows if this has been tested?

  13. Naomi Niles says:

    I’ve thought of this many times before actually. That would be so awesome! My hubby helps me pick out clothes too, which rocks, but he has his limits. I think the day I took him shoe shopping for 12 hours did him in.

  14. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Naomi – woahhh, 12 hours, now that’s TRUE love! 😉

  15. Seorsa says:

    If Shama was my fiance I would shop until my feet bled.

    No seriously. I have been married 21 years, and the key to happiness (only recently acknowledge by my wife) is that We may go shopping together, but we go our seperate ways and get together when she is done.

    I think there are three reasons that men hate shopping with their spouses, and I put them in the order of develpment:
    1) During our engagement I loved shopping with her. Eventually though, the questions for my opinions turned into serious minefileds (so Shama- focus on keeping that newlywed attitude 🙂 )

    2) Eventually you have kids, and then you have the stress of monitoring and controlling (usually poorly in my wifes view) the kids. This creates more stress and tension…making the minefileds more serious and explosive.

    3) Money- at some point every one has money issues. When these weigh on your mind you get totally stressed out, and don’t liek anything they want to buy. You need to be walking in the park, or relaxing in the sun somewhere.

    I have hated shopping with my wife almost every time since the honeymoon (she got pregnant on our honey moon) About ten years ago I was at a conference and skipped out to go shopping with some female co-workers. It was great. They didn’t really want my opinion, so if asked I wasn’t expected to be sincere. I just had to carry the bags and find a table for lunch.

    Over the years i try to focus on that experience to get back the the mooment when with my wife. I can almost do a passable job, but she has grown more merciful over the years and usually plans on meeting me at the booke store.

  16. Kelly says:

    Jonathan,

    As a consumer: I HATE shopping. My mother drags me around when I visit (I left home over 20 years ago, stop torturing me!), and I do the sighing, the whining, and the looking for a place to rest my aching feet. When I shop, I have a list; it’s short; I go in and get the stuff on the list, with maybe a glance at an item or two not on the list. As a chick shopper, I fail utterly on the stereotypes.

    As a friend or a loved one, dragged along: If somebody brought me, it’s probably my job to feign interest, and give actual, in-person opinions. It is not my job to find a Starbucks; it’s my job to say that the 50th pink t-shirt is more fabulous than the 49th. So we can get the heck out of there at some point, but also so I can in some deep, strange way, demonstrate affection. There is something anthropological going on there. How did this help Neanderthals?

    The lady wants input. A woman who wants to drag you but doesn’t mind parking you in a lounge is probably rare. Then it’s more a control thing, isn’t it? What, just so you can’t be at home writing your next blog post? I don’t get that.

    As a professional helping stores make these decisions: some stores have done it. There must be numbers somewhere, but what I can tell you anecdotally is this: satisfaction of the guy on his tush is way up, and spending of the lady on her feet, now without encouragement and with a sense of guilt at having plopped her beloved in his cave of “boredom,” is down.

    80% of spending is decided on, directly or indirectly, by women. This is the Customer Experience that counts. They decide where the dollars go, and how many dollars go there. Making the guy happy appears to be a bad decision from a purely monetary standpoint.

    Maybe there’s a “Miracle on 34th Street” effect, where immediate loss of sales turns into more sales later. I’d love to see some research on that, but my gut says no.

    Serious question to you gents: When you shop for your widescreen t.v. with the awesome speakers in UnBelievaSound and 47 remotes, do you bring the lady? Do you want her to appreciate the nuances of the 4-second shift on the new plasmas to prevent burn-in? She should be able to ooh and ahh over subwoofers and BlueRay discs right at your side, shouldn’t she?

    Isn’t she there to support and encourage your desires? Or do you go by yourself, listen in rapture alone to the pitch, and come home triumphant with your fresh new gear? I don’t know the answer for sure, yet I suspect the male of the species wants affirmation on their purchases, too.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  17. Bec says:

    I run a retail paper arts and scrapbooking store, and while we didn’t go to the level of having entertainment, putting a couch into the centre of the store was one of the best things we ever did.

    It’s not just for the menfolk, although they do tend to use it more than anyone else. I suppose a chair would do the job as well, but a couch is a lot more inviting. Comfortable shopping partners = more time for the shopper to browse = happy customer.

    And happy customers is what it’s all about. =)

  18. Peter Blue says:

    I love to go shopping with Elizabeth. Often I’m the one who finds new stuff for her. I bring her all kinds of clothes to try, different sizes if nessessary. And I’m good at finding new hot lingerie.
    It can be so much fun to do it together. But all men I kown hate shopping. Is there anything wrong with me?

  19. Robyn says:

    Take my husband shopping with me? I’d rather gouge out my eyes with red hot pokers or watch Dick Cheney on TV. The one experience I had after asking him to go with me to the market completely cured me of any further desire for retail togetherness. I did all the gift buying for the two of us until he passed on last year. He used to say he trusted my judgment, which was husband speak for “I’ll never complain about what you buy for anyone as long as I don’t have to go with you to the mall.”

  20. Dave C. says:

    I’m with you on this. I almost get upset if they don’t have at least a couple chairs to sit on. It’s almost as if they don’t consider the possibility that men might want to rest while their ladies shop, but I guess I’m not necessarily the one spending the money.

    Perhaps I’ll tell my wife that she should try to patronize places that make this accomodation as opposed to those that don’t.

  21. There is nothing worse than shopping with the wife. NOTHING. Eventually she realized how much I really despise shopping and I’m using my get-out-of-jail-free card. Or I can just say I’m needed in the studio.

    @Shama – he’s putting it all on – it’s an act! It can’t possibly be true!

  22. Anthea says:

    We have shops here with Nintendo Wii + Couches for the blokes.. Does the trick!

    (Sorry, couldn’t find links to the pics)

    A very very simple concept.
    I much prefer shopping with the girls anyway, they say all the right things ~ too much pressure to load on my poor man haha

  23. Daniel Smith says:

    Jonathan – I found my way here because I read your comment on Copyblogger, and proceeded to congratulate my friend Jonathan CROSSfield for his excellent post on Twitter. Only to realize you are not him. (Nor him you.)

    In any case, public embarrassment aside, I am glad I found your blog because I like what I see here. I’ve subscribed.

    As for the article, this is too funny. When I was in school, I told people about what I thought was a great idea for a big-box store for the exact reasons you list here: His&Hers – half the store would be shoes and makeup and clothing and other things that women primarily shop for, and the other half would be sporting goods, auto parts and gadgets.

    I was told it would never work because the very concept is too sexist. And that’s because it is.

    But I always wonder if it would have taken off despite the stereotypical format…

  24. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Daniel – welcome to the family, glad you enjoyed my rant in reply to Brian’s rant. As he mentioned to me on twitter, I think I was actually more riled up than him, very funny!

  25. Scott Clark says:

    so many are missing a key point here. you *cannot* go to the starbucks down the mall or the bookshop. You do not get man-points unless you STAY in a circle defined by roughly 25′ from the mirrors outside the dressing room. If you leave that circle and she comes out to show you an outfit, you lose many points. If you stay within that circle the gal can show you the stuff you’re trying on (does this make me look fat?) So, a TIVO is critical on the flatscreen. You’ll be pausing a lot. Just nod and say it looks great, or “hey, if you like it, great, I think you look beautiful.” – watch 7-10m of tube – and repeat.

  26. Wow says:

    Wow, Ivy, that is one of the most AGEIST comments I’ve heard all day. The implication is clear: that kids cannot be rational or logical, because those are “adult” traits. Get over yourself and your sense of entitlement. Just because your birth year is a bit earlier does not make you a better person, or a more logical one.