Money Saving Tips

11 Reasons Why Shopping Is Exhausting Sometimes

11 Reasons Why Shopping Is Exhausting Sometimes
Written by Oana Schneider

When it comes to discounts, deals, and special offers, shoppers usually tend to adopt a “the more, the merrier” kind of attitude, which apart from a certain sense of material achievement often brings about a specific kind of fatigue. Why is that, when shopping is something that is supposed to make you happy (well, at least for a while)?

Some of the quick answers will bring to mind the variety (sometimes too much, other times too little) of options to choose from, a relatively short time allocated to decision-making, crowding, long check-out lines, promotional jingles playing out loud… well, we’ve all been there.

This is why the month of December, when the average time spent in shops and stores suffers a spectacular increase, is resented by some as being particularly stressful. And this is also the reason why many customers have switched their shopping experience from offline to online.

Shopping usually makes even out of its biggest fans exhausted customers with long faces, thoroughly confused, weary, out of energy and out of inspiration. You’ve seen them in malls, in department stores, and in supermarkets; sometimes you’re one of them yourself. And you are not alone, because when it comes to patience and attention span, we all have out breaking points.

The following sections of the article will introduce you to the most common fatigue-triggers in various shopping categories while also providing you with 10 useful tips to avoid becoming an exhausted shopper!

Why Mall & Supermarket Shopping Makes You Feel Drained?

Shopping in a big mall may end up provoking you the same amount of physical distress as running a marathon. This stays true for large supermarkets, hypermarkets, or department stores.

Regardless of the place, it is important to know that the physical fatigue is more of a mental origin, because the buyer is surrounded by a sea of information in the form of visual cues like colors, patterns, labels, prices, and signs.

This setup already demands a lot of focus, but there are also auditory cues (like endless chatter, background music, or jingles) that will equally get you easily distracted. These factors are combined to form a huge amount of data waiting to be taken in and processed. This could become a very daunting challenge for someone who is not always very fond of shopping, and especially if it happens after a long day of work.

To the stressful environment, add two kinds of pressure one usually feels in a store: to make wise purchase and to not waste too much time in the process. Sometimes decision-making becomes really difficult, in front of the wide variety of products in the same category.

If you don’t know exactly what you’re heading for, you have to make new choices for each item, trying to find the right balance between a good price, a nice appearance, and a quality brand.

You also have to pay attention to the desired quantity, to flavors, sizes, patterns… sometimes you lose focus, which after a certain period makes you act like “anything goes” and this is precisely the moment you’re bound to make wrong choices.

What Can Be Done?

Tip #1: Try to pick small boutiques with a smaller variety of goods for less important items (such as detergent or grocery products.) If you discover that you can find there everything you need for the moment, there’s no point in making a stressful journey to the supermarket. And when you do, try buying larger quantities of non-food items, so you don’t have to come back very often.

Tip #2: Avoid large shopping areas and big commercial centers when you are already tired. After work shopping sounds like a bad idea, if you really want to enjoy doing it. Keep a few hours in the weekend for that.

Tip #3: Don’t go shopping alone. Not only because it is comforting to know that someone will help you carrying the heavy bags, but it is also of great help in decision making in front of the shelves.

Tip #4: Always go shopping with a list. Either you do it mentally, on paper or on your smart phone, it will help you to remind what you really came after, in the sea of distractions.

Coupons and Deals

11 Reasons Why Shopping Is Exhausting Sometimes

Everyone loves a good deal – and this is why coupons and special offers don’t go unnoticed. It’s just that trying to consider each and every piece of information from the flood of offers and promotions that daily fills up all your inboxes is already an exhausting task, before you even set up foot in a store. Also, it is not always obvious to tell apart the ones that are actually relevant from those which are deals only with their name.

For example, statistics have it that an average user of a coupon app will see 338 coupons from 25 different stores upon stepping near a commercial center. Of course, most buyers prefer to have access to more – rather than less – discounts and product reviews, but permanently keeping their track can make even the most diehard consumers feel confused and fatigued. And once in store, the amount of information becomes overwhelming.

What Can Be Done?

Tip #5: Unsubscribe from receiving offers that don’t interest you. Browse through relevant promotions only and try to keep them organized.

Tip #6: Before making use of coupons and discounts, pay extra attention to terms and conditions and expiration dates, to make sure you got them right. Offers that sound too good to be true often have their hidden tricks.

Why Shopping Online Does Not Always Solve the Problem?

For some of the reasons presented above, online and mobile shopping have been on the rise in the past few years.  Some buyers prefer them because it helps them avoid crowded stores, long queues, and the noisy background present frequently in offline shopping. In fact, market studies show that 72% of buyers under 35 actually research and shop their options online, before going to a mall.

Nevertheless, if you want to be aware of all the available offers and to make the wisest choices, browsing through websites can become just as a time-consuming and nerve-wracking activity as browsing through showrooms and shelves.

Going through long lists of reviews for many similar products and the time invested in making elaborate comparisons of features and prices is exhausting enough – not to mention that to this you have to add the shipping or payment arrangements and reimbursement conditions, that require a bit more time than in real life shopping.

What Can Be Done?

Tip #7: Use online price comparers that will save you a lot of trouble recommending the online shops where you can find the same product for a lower price. Don’t go for non reliable, obscure online shops, however, because chances are you will get cheated.

Tip #8: Especially when shopping for gadgets, don’t waste time over comparing features you will not use.

Tip #9: Make sure you are entering your credit card details only on secured websites!

Is Buying Cars The Most Stressful Shopping Experience?

11 Reasons Why Shopping Is Exhausting Sometimes

As confusing as online research may turn up to be, it is however largely more attractive that the truly miserable experience of long hours in a car dealership, where salesman and managers will put all their efforts into winning you over financing and extended warranties.

It may sound hard to believe, but more than 13% of those who bought a new car in 2013 have never done a test drive on their desired model before purchasing it. Skipping this important step is largely motivated by their interest to avoid interacting with car dealerships sales teams as much as possible.

Statistics reveal that 4 out of 5 car buyers go first to online research for features and prices before actually stepping into a car dealership; and if you haven’t done that yet, you will be surprised to find out that this research process lasts for an average of 16 weeks (!) before a top of preferred choices is made. After four months of continuous research, it is not difficult to imagine why frustration among car buyers is such a common feeling.

Since it is a major investment with a lot of functional, design and financial variables, everybody wants to get their money’s worth. Consequently, it is easily understandable how choosing a new car may feel overwhelming and not even close to fun, and why research often results in a information overload.

What Can Be Done?

Tip #10: Know what you want and don’t allow salesmen’ long speeches interfere with your preferences, unless they really come up with visibly more advantageous solutions. Make a list of your standards in terms of technical features and design and make sure it matches your available budget.

Tip #11: Do your research online to save you many confusing trips, but order your car offline. And always go for a test drive to discover if you and your potential new car are really getting along well with each other!

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

26 Comments

  • I’m not a great fan of the mall at the best of times, but during Christmas shopping season, it can be downright oppressive! Crowds aside, it always feels too hot and like there isn’t enough oxygen for everyone crammed in there. I like the idea of going to smaller boutiques when you can – or even outdoor malls (weather permitting); at least then you can get some fresh air between stores.

    • I don’t know what kind of malls you’ve been shopping at, but they’re usually not that bad where I’m from. I live in San Diego, and each city in the county has its own mall and shopping centers. That means that there are probably 10 to 20 malls within the county, and there are plenty of options, including indoor and outdoor malls. It’s great.

    • Where I live is the same problem. My town is the biggest one in my county so all the little towns come here to shop. During the holidays I prefer evening shopping to try and avoid the crowds. There isn’t really smaller boutiques here, we just have a bunch of franchise big chain stores.

  • I almost always do my grocery shopping online…it works out being cheaper and as long as I am sorting by price when searching for each product on my list there’s not a huge amount of choice there.

    I get to avoid the supermarket, the lines, the cashiers and their chats, I also don’t have to lug anything around and everything is delivered to my door – and placed on my kitchen counter. I couldn’t ask for an easier way! I often feel downright exhausted after shopping, but this way I just feel a little tired after sorting through everything (meats still need to be separated and frozen in singles, for example).

    I wouldn’t use it for clothing, it’s too risky. You can’t try things on and you might get the wrong size or it might not sit flatteringly. I think if you use it appropriately it can really help you fatigue wise. I only ever go to the supermarket to pick up fresh fruit and veggies now, because everything else is already home :D.

  • You should NEVER go shopping on your own and people who do are weird and should be avoided! 🙂

    I don’t go shopping very often because I don’t handle large rude crowds very well and tend to do most of my shopping online from the comfort of my own home. But the times I HAVE to go out to do my shopping I always go with my girlfriend and I plan a little reward fr myself afterwards, fr example last time I went shopping we stopped at a pub afterwards for a couple of pints of beer. 🙂

    • Going shopping on your own is boring! Unless you’re doing some last minute shopping that’s only going to take a few minutes. Then you’ll be stuck dealing with those crowds, and it’s always more enjoyable to suffer through that with someone else rather than on your own. I mean, always make someone else suffer with you when possible. ;]

      • I guess I’m one of the weird ones because I tend to find the opposite is true. If I go shopping alone, it’s easier to stick to my list and make only the purchases I planned to make. I stick to my budget more closely as well because I don’t feel rushed. I can be in and out without browsing. I’m not a fan of browsing because I end up spending more than intended, especially if my boyfriend or teen daughter are along.

        • I agree with Feneth — I tend to shop alone unless there’s no other option. My friends tend to talk me into buying MORE useless things than I plan to get when I go shopping alone, and it’s been a huge money saver. Besides, at the grocery store and other crowded places, it means I can go during off-hours when it’s less crowded… and I can duck between carts easier alone than when I’m dragging someone. 😛

  • As we get closer and closer to Christmas, things get that much worse at the mall. I absolutely avoid the mall at all costs right now. With time running out to buy the presents they want to give their loved ones, shoppers get frustrated and so do retail employees. It all makes for a very stressful situation that I’d rather avoid. If you have to shop at a brick and mortar, shopping at small local businesses is definitely the way to go right now. You will support your local economy, find unique items and avoid a lot of hassle and stress.

  • Hence why online shopping has been a great boon to my Christmas Shopping season. Luckily, I keep my spending pretty much in check, and I think long and hard before I buy anything. I also tend to do my shopping with friends so that we can keep each other in check as well. I’ve ended up with so much useless garbage in my house that I need start selling rather than buying.

    • The lower you spend, the more money you have for later. Plus, keeping your spending down during the holidays forces you to get creative with gifts. That often results in gifts that involved more thought and that recipients like even more than they would something more expensive. I always prefer getting creative with gifts rather than just buying something that they could easily buy themselves at other points during the year.

  • As you stated, I have noticed that many people these days have moved towards online shopping, and especially so during times like Christmas and Black Friday. These are times that the stores are overcrowded and there can be true chaos.

    I agree that after work may not be the most opportune time to shop in big department stores or supermarkets when you are already drained. This will most times make you even more frustrated. Sometimes when you are frustrated I find that you make impulse purchases just to hurry out of the store.

    I definitely believe in shopping with a list as it keeps you focused. I just read an article the other day that talked about someone who tracked their spending and they ended up spending over $2000 a year more at the grocery store by NOT shopping with a list versus when they used a list.

    I enjoyed your article as it was filled with some awesome points to assist in shopping and keeping the exhaustion to a minimum. Thanks for sharing.

  • I personally always hated shopping and just being inside stores in general.
    I hated whenever my girlfriend used to take me to stores for shopping. Not to mention how long she could take just finding what she wants and whatever.

    I always get so bored and restless. If I want to shop I usually know exactly what I’m getting and I’ve already done research on where it is the cheapest. Truthfully, I do 95% of my shopping online anyway. haha 🙂

    • That’s the way it should be done. You should walk into a store and know exactly what you need. Then again, companies have perfected the art of setting up stores so that tons of distractions are available to take you away from your original shopping list and to buy things that you didn’t intend to buy when you walked through the front door.

  • I have found the best advice to follow is to shop only when you need something and with a definite game plan and deadline. It took me a while to get to this point, but I’ve made it. It saves me money, makes me more conscious of my spending and removes unnecessary stress. I stopped using coupons a long time ago because I found them to be counter-productive. It “pressures” you to buy and spend money when it’s not needed. I use coupons sparingly and with a specific purchase in mind.

    • I love what you’ve said about pressure related to using coupons. If you’ve got a coupon, then you will really feel more inclined to use that coupon in order to save money. Chances are good, though, that you’ll wind up buying something that you wouldn’t even have considered if you didn’t have the coupon in front of yourself in the first place.

  • You know what’s exhausting? Having to navigate around people that don’t know what they’re doing in a department store or choose to block walkways because they don’t care. Otherwise, shopping is a relaxing activity that doesn’t require much effort or thought, really. If people knew what they were actually in the store for, then shopping wouldn’t be nearly as headache-inducing.

  • This is so true – every time I go to the grocery store – I come home drained and exhausted. Mostly because it is usually a two hour ordeal for me because i am a massive couponer – and it is hard making decisions sometimes.

  • I’m another one who prefers shopping alone. I get stressed enough with queues and don’t want to have to drag anyone around with me, especially if they are going to start moaning. I agree that online shopping is not always the answer. For a start, it can get stressful if your goods arrive late – you then have to use more energy in chasing them up. Secondly, with groceries, you sometimes get items substituted if they are out of stock at the store, This really grates on me – they never seem to be able to select an appropriate replacement and I then have to waste time and energy calling the store.

  • I’ve read somewhere that malls are designed to make you feel lost. And probably this leads to fatigue… These are all very good tips; at first, I was going to protest the “don’t go shopping alone” advice, because I don’t feel free to browse at leisure when I have someone with me. However… it would for sure cut the time I use, and I use a lot of time! And by use I mean waste.

    Same with shopping online. Thank goodness for shopping online sites for comparing prices! I’d never stop.

  • I had to learn the hard way that going into the mall or the shopping centers aren’t the best way to shop. But my mom told me about couponing and I found out there’s a show about couponing where these women save a lot of money on everyday things they needed. After I started doing that and making good use of the stores websites ,the outcome was such a blessing!!

  • Shopping can be exhausting sometimes but I think the best way is to list down the items you want to purchase before going to a supermarket and after the arrival to the supermarket, make sure you pick a brochure on the latest prices if any . Also make sure to shop a lot to avoid coming back soon.
    A supermarket sometimes is good because it can serve as a way to release stress because you will get to see a lot of people and things which will disrupt your mind for a moment.

  • I enjoy the challenge of finding good deals, but I definitely understand the exhausting aspect of shopping. For me, malls and mass retailers are really high stimulating environments, especially when there is sale and it’s super crowded, noisy from all the people talking and the music playing I the background. I’m an introvert, so these type of shopping trips do wear me out if I spend to much time shopping all at once. I prefer online shopping or smaller stores as they tend to be more relaxed in atmosphere.

  • I’ve found out shopping can be more fun through making some adjustments to the typical shopping trip, such as trying to research more, and if the item is for your SO, try to be more interested about it. I would have to agree with you completely on #1 and #4. Being organized helps SO much. It cuts down your time and makes the whole thing even fun.

    Also about car shopping, key here is to check websites and do your own math if you don’t want to waste too much time in a dealership. Dealers are usually too interested in your money and their commisions… they slow down the proccess terribly.

  • Even in a small town, shopping can be so exhausting, especially during the holiday season. We often don’t have very many other options, so everyone ends up in one place and it just feels so cramped and crowded. Add to that the abundance of choices when shopping and it can quickly become overwhelming. I definitely agree with bringing a list along, it helps cut down unsuitable choices. I also try to shop ahead of the season as often as possible, picking up items here and there when I find them and can afford them. Having a running list of things you know people like really helps with that.

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