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Gift-Giving, for Many Men, Means Avoiding Rejection

FRIDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Men looking for Valentine's Day gifts are most concerned with finding something that is least likely to be rejected, and that often means jewelry, according to a shopping behavior expert.

"Women like jewelry -- or at least men think they do -- and men want reassurance that their taste in jewelry is not poorly judged," Nelson Barber, an associate professor of hospitality management at the University of New Hampshire, said in a university news release.

"In other words, men will take the path of least resistance and purchase an item that will have the least amount of social interaction with sales personnel and lowest probability of rejection from their loved one," he said. "Essentially, men tend to spend money on larger, less risky items that ultimately have the 'wow' factor."

Most men avoid potentially risky gifts such as a sweater or sexy apparel.

"Men fear the 'Why did you purchase that?' or 'This is really nice of you' as she puts it in the back of her closet," Barber said.

Many men act like hunters when shopping, he explained. They target an item, make the kill -- the purchase -- and then immediately leave the store. Women behave quite differently.

"Women are happy to forage around sprawling clothing and accessory collections or take the long way around through the shoe department," Barber said. "They like to spray a perfume sample on themselves on their way to making a purchase."

And, he added, women are also more likely to enjoy and value interaction with sales clerks.

More information

The Public Broadcasting System has more on human behavior.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of New Hampshire, news release, Feb. 8, 2011

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