A “Type A” Girl in a Retail World

Source: m. sinjela

A double-edged sword. A blessing and a curse. Call it what you may, but having a Type A personality can make you crazy.

The extent of my Type A-ness became more apparent after college when, living on my own for the first time, a neighbor commented on the extreme orderliness of my apartment. It was just (very) tidy in my opinion, but her immediate ‘are you for real?!’ facial expression needed no accompanying verbal commentary.

Then I started thinking about it. More than just plates consecutively stacked by size and every chair around the kitchen table placed just so at all times (unless occupied, of course), I realized that I return freshly laundered (and exactly folded) towels to the bottom of the stack so as to ‘balance’ their use with the other towels. Same with sheets. Oh, and silverware. And dishes. You get the point.

The purchase of necessities like these is required for day to day life. Thankfully shopping beyond that is optional, since I don’t find “therapy” in the activity like most women do.

The only part that applies to me is fig. 1 – except with 3/4 of the “Shopping” cortex moved to “Chocolate”.

My aversion to shopping is partially a Type A thing. Even though this personality type has been profiled in a variety of ways, I doubt if any of us fits one description to a T. Certain generalities do apply, however. In the case of shopping, retailers love my type or hate us.


  • Since we’re primarily List Shoppers, retailers can depend on us. We know what we want and will persist until everything has been marked off the list. It may take trying on 2 or 3 different brands, but we’ll find a pair of jeans that’s an acceptable fit then move on to the next item. [Feeling the retail love?]
  • Because we’re primarily list shoppers, don’t expect us to embrace shopping as therapy or recreation. When on a mission for a specific purchase, we may be lured by an insanely compelling offer for another item that appeals to our desire for order or is just too good to pass up. But that’s not the norm. At least not for me. [No love lost here.]
  • Then there’s e-commerce: the middle ground (not that we like middle ground). We start with a specific reason for convenience shopping beyond a retailer’s brick and mortar store, and begrudgingly appreciate the sophisticated purchase pattern and tracking data linked with our spending history that prompts suggested similar items we might be interested in. That darn retailer may get more money from me after all.


With the abundant opportunity designers have to creatively evolve with the changing dynamics of the retail industry and its customers, I have no doubt there will one day be a ‘place’ – physical or virtual – that Type A folks like me regard as a retail oasis. In the meantime, I’ll gladly retreat to my yoga mat (precisely situated in the same place every time) for therapy.

August 17th, 2012 | Retail Therapy

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