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Men and their holiday shopping battle

By Bradley Gallo, Special to CNN
Some men see holiday shopping as a tedious annual battle.
Some men see holiday shopping as a tedious annual battle.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Some male shoppers see holiday shopping as a battle
  • Male shoppers will come with lists and ripped magazine ads
  • Some men will only buy expensive gifts if their partner is willing to do the same
  • Jewelry, perfume and shoes are on some men's shopping lists

(CNN) -- Some men treat holiday shopping as war and draw up a battle plan: Find the product -- purchase the product -- get out of store!

Jessica Rodriguez has seen this plan in action while helping men in the fragrance department of the famous 34th Street Macy's in New York.

"They come in with a list -- they don't want to get the wrong thing -- they bring in a bottle or a ripped page of a magazine," Rodriguez said. Men are always asking her, "are you sure this is the one? Are you sure?" Some men will even text back and forth with their wives confirming the gift itself!

Rob Gray is a perfect example of an unsettled male shopper. Standing to the side of a free gift wrapping station Gray was waiting for his recent purchase to be wrapped. "I'm a guy. I hate shopping." At 48, Gray has run out of patience with the massive herd of shoppers, "It's madness!"

But Gray would do anything for his 12-year-old daughter. Well, just about. "She told me she wanted a second hole in her ear, I said no."

Her second choice: Viva La Juicy perfume. So Gray braved the mayhem of holiday shoppers, but not without following the male code of shopping: Find the product, purchase the product, get me out of here!

But some men who have retired from the shopping battle, don't leave the arena. Ken Powers, 50, is sitting in the lobby of a fitting room. You sometimes see men like him in those plush sofa chairs scattered throughout a mall.

Powers holds the shopping bags that his wife filled and checks email on his Blackberry. There's a TV nearby, so every once in a while he looks up to see what a pundit is saying.

"I'm spending time with my wife. She shops, I relax," Powers said. His wife is nowhere to be found. Powers already got his wife the big Christmas gift on Black Friday and he took his daughter along for the advice.

But what if they don't have a list or a daughter to rely on? What if a man has to handle this completely on their own?

Stephen Gruber admits while in a Swaroviski store, "I'm clueless. I'm a play ball, drink beer and watch football kind of guy."

For Joseph Gallinaro, perusing the clearance displays of jewelry, was like treasure hunting.

Gallinaro: "$3,995 -- oh that's more than the last one. Where's the white gold?"

Clerk: "How about this one?"

Gallinaro: "Oh that looks like the one I got her last year."

Clerk: "How about this?"

Gallinaro: "I'm not in love with that one ... I know she likes rings that look vintage."

He grabs his black Fedora hat and moves on. Maybe he should have asked his wife for her list.

Now some men, like Andres Angosto, are worried about cost. "I follow the [motto] champagne taste on a beer budget," he said outside of Sephora.

And unfortunately some men may be classified as Scrooges, like Al Wilson, sitting on an ottoman in a women's shoe department. "I tell women up front that I don't celebrate holidays," and Wilson only buys a gift that he knows his girl is willing to match in cost on a gift for him.

But some men are romantics and they treat the process with care. Sohaib Ansari is 24 years old and originally from Pakistan. The love of his life has just finished her exams back in their home country. He wants to surprise her with a gift.

Ansari knows that females love jewelry. "It means something. It makes them pretty. It makes them beautiful," he said. He is looking for that one piece to pop out and make the decision for him. "This is my first time buying for her so it has to be special."

Ansari may be struggling with his final selection of that special gift, but one thing is for certain. Once he finds it and buys it, his inner man is still going to scream: Get me out of here!

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