Are you a Scrimper, Abstainer or Vulture?
I'm a sucker for demographic studies that parse people into categories based on their behavior. A new study by ad agency M&C Saatchi's London chief strategy officer Richard Storey breaks down our shopping behavior during the recession into nine classes. Where do you fit?
Crash dieters (26% of us) have responded to the collapse like a portly matron approaching her 25th class reunion, trying to counter 20 years of wretched excess with six months of brutal self-discipline. Just how much longer will we be able to stay away from the cheesecake?
Scrimpers (13%) are trying to maintain their lifestyles by shopping at WalMart and the dollar store, buying more clothes at T.J. Maxx and fewer from Nieman Marcus, and choking down house-brand vegetables.
Abstainers (15%) are postponing gratification until the skies lighten. The big-screen TV, Italian vacation and college endowment are still in the plans, just not today. The ones who do indulge buy now, pay later.
Balancers (9%) attempt to feed their greatest needs by moving money around, from one envelope to another, playing a shell game that every month becomes more difficult.
Treaters (12%) go on the crash diet, but can't fight the urge to reward themselves from time to time with small spur-of-the-moment treats. New shoes seem to be a hallmark of a treater.
Justifiers (12%), the marketer's best friend, are just looking for an excuse to buy. They're the ones lined up in the rain for first dibs on the latest iPhone even as the gas company is shutting off their service.
Ostriches (9%) Recession? What recession?
Vultures (4%) circle the economy feeding on the carcasses of moribund companies. In a good way. Check out GM showrooms if you want to see vultures in action.
Me? I'm something of a Justifier, a bit of a Vulture, and an Abstainer. I don't know, however, just how much longer I can abstain. Save me, GNP!