A guide to the four C's for men with wives

Updated: 2011-12-20 08:05

By Dinah Chong Watkins (China Daily)

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With Christmas coming soon and the early arrival of Chinese New Year just around the corner, it's time to whittle down your list, pack a couple of energy bars and polish up the magnetic strip on your credit card. In other words, it's time to go shopping.

Recently, in Shanghai, the French department store Printemps took a page out of the American consumer's playbook and held its own version of "Black Friday". No relation to the medieval plague, it's named for the bookkeepers' habit of recording profits in black ink versus losses in red. Black Friday is the ultimate slam dunk, the Superbowl of shopping events.

Retailers make up more than 40 percent of their annual sales from now to the weeks leading up to Christmas. Traditionally held the day after Thanksgiving, the eye-popping bargains have shoppers lining up at the doors hours before the store opens.

A guide to the four C's for men with wives

In Shanghai, it was no different as more than 500 people waited for the chance to be the first ones in. While no one was pepper-sprayed by overly competitive shoppers, like in the United States, the number of security guards was quadrupled to maintain order. The cashiers rang up more than 2 million yuan ($315,000) in sales in the first hour alone. To the bane of husbands everywhere, so successful was the promotion that the store plans to repeat it again.

There are some universal generalizations that I like to rely on. Men like round objects, things that go fast and leather-like products. They like a challenge, will bait a hook when needed and are adverse at putting the toilet seat down. They also don't enjoy shopping, unless it's for themselves, or in an electronics store. Or the item is located right next to the cash register.

But in the season of giving, they must dispense with the crude swipes of the hunter and contemplate the nuances of the gatherer to be successful. So, for all you men traipsing through the landmined field of gift buying, here are a few tips to rustle up glad tidings and no nights spent on the couch.

Children are the easiest. What they play with today, they'll forget about or break tomorrow. Any toy is a good one as long as the box is big enough to play in. Don't try to be dope (hip) with your teenager and try for a sick (awesome) gift like the latest Justin Bieber album. You'll only end up looking like a tool (fool) in their eyes. Always go with the scrappa (cash) baba.

For the parents, just go with a card, a call and a hug as gifts for the elderly fall into any or all of these categories, they can't open the darn tootin' thing, can't figure out how to turn the thingamabob on or can't remember where the whatchamacallit is.

Save your energy and brainpower for that most important gift, the one for your lady. First of all, what not to give. Homemade gifts are out unless you're able to slap on a pair of overalls, mine a diamond field then cut and set it on a fine ring of platinum.

Likewise are hand written vouchers ("Good for 20 backrubs"). It's just an IOU you're hoping won't be redeemed. Resist buying any item with a cord on the end that she hasn't specifically asked for. Doubly so if the product is intended to lighten household chores. Any gift involving a stranger massaging parts of her body will go over surprisingly well as will the 4 C's - carats, chocolates, clothes and, of course, credit cards (yours). Happy hunting!

Contact the writer at: dinahchinadaily@gmail.com