A man nodding during a sales pitch is usually a signal he's agreeing. But a woman nodding only means she's listening.
"She's buying time because women weigh more considerations before buying," said Jen Drexler, co-director of a Just Ask a Woman, a research firm that claims to unmask what makes women tick. "After rationalizing a purchase, she weighs how it will be seen by a partner, her family, her friends."
Co-author of What She's Not Telling You, a marketing book based on interviews with 15,000 women for retailers ranging from KFC to Saks Fifth Avenue, Drexler says nodding females are commonly misunderstood because men recognize fewer than half the visual clues of female body language.
A few more female secrets:
• Many women talk "green" but really are "greenish."
"The women with a canvas shopping bag in one hand and bottled water in the other is saying, 'I'll go green if it tastes good, looks pretty and doesn't cost more,' " Drexler said.
• Women insist their fashion sense is appropriate for their age, but typically idealize themselves looking 10 years younger. So marketers must aim messages at two people: who they are and who they imagine they are.
"When we were forced to get a Honda Odyssey minivan for the kids, I regarded it as not me," Drexler said. "Hearing my kids call it 'mommy's car' physically hurt. I remember jamming down on the gas in spike heels the first time just to show it who's boss."
• Women are as busy as they think they are because they voluntarily assume the multitasking role of protective "caretaker for the family."
"But she will make time for anything she really wants to do," said Drexler. "Otherwise how could so many have time for Dancing with the Stars?"
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Shelley G. Broader, who led the team in Tampa that morphed Kash n' Karry Food Stores into Sweetbay Supermarket, has been hired to head the southern division of Sam's Club from Dallas.
It's one of three U.S. divisions of Walmart's wholesale club unit, which sold $47 billion in food and merchandise last year.
Broader lost her job as chief operating officer of Michael's Crafts, a chain of 900 arts and crafts stores, in the fall.
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Some numbers gleaned from recent chats with high-level executives from Best Buy Inc.:
• 2,500 — The number of Best Buy sales floor workers assigned at any time to respond to Twitter messages the electronics chain encourages customers to send while shopping its 1,100 stores.
• 2,000 — The size in square feet of Best Buy Mobile stores being opened inside about 200 regional malls within two years to sell all manner of wireless devices and services. That's about the size of a RadioShack, which unleashed speculative reports that Best Buy may try to acquire RadioShack.
• 300 — Tons of old computers, TV sets, cell phones and other electronics collected in the Tampa Bay area the first year Best Buy accepted all electronics for recycling in its stores. Best Buy makes trade-in offers for old stuff online at bestbuy.com or in stores. Recycling anything with a screen costs $10, but you get a $10 gift card.
"It's a major improvement from when you stood in line in the parking lot to get old stuff recycled," said Chris Boik, senior manager of environmental affairs.