Staff in the oily rag community projects department have not seen a lot of sunlight lately. They have been collecting and analysing survey data about the psychology of oily-rag shoppers.
Bargain-hunter shoppers are now the most common type of shopping personality.
They are usually armed with a calculator, torch, and notepad and can be seen searching through the very lowest and highest shelves. They often work in pairs ("tag-team shopping") as this enables hunters to compare prices.
Tag-team shoppers chatter in clipped phrases, a typical conversation going something like, "ABC three-ply on special, now 1.5 per cent cheaper than XYZ two-ply textured; minimum purchase six rolls ... Buy 12." The more technically proficient hunters text each other, lest they alert other shoppers to their discovery.
The second most common shopping personality is the bargain-bin buyer. Typically, this person shops alone and is always in search of sales.
They are often seen in discount variety stores, or checking out the bargain bins in big retail stores. They are often heard saying, "Now that's a bargain" and their cupboards at home are usually stuffed full of bargain buys that will come in handy one day.
Our researchers found fewer power shoppers. These are shoppers with a purpose. They shop alone and shop online more, but when they do shop in-store they have a list - and know where it is!
If they need help they don't muck around with tedious greetings like, "How are you?" before asking, "Can you tell me where the tomato sauce is please?" When blocked by grazer shoppers and trolley jams they mumble "com'on, get out of the way", swerving their trolleys to avoid collision.
They rarely stop for in-store tastings, unless they skipped lunch, or at bargain bins. They are likely to be happiest shopping online - with a high-speed broadband connection.
Our researchers also found an increasing number of shopping grumps, probably a sign of the harder economic times. They hate shopping, and more so in times of rising prices.
When shopping, they drag their feet grumbling that everything is too expensive, not needed, too big or too small, too this or too that. They complain about the lack of parking, or that spaces are not close enough. They moan that the shop assistants are too young, and hate it when someone says, "Have a nice day".
Fortunately, they are not seen all that often in shops because they are usually left at home in the garden or watching telly.
Next time you are in the supermarket see if you can spot a hunter, bargain bin buyer or a shopping grump.
Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips at www.oilyrag.co.nz.