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grab-and-goer also grab and goer

noun [countable]

a person who buys things quickly and without thinking carefully, either because they dislike shopping or they don't have much time

'Most recently, he was CEO of retailer Charlotte Russe. And he's no grab-and-goer. His hobby, Harris reports, is shopping.'

MediaPost 11th November 2009

'The clichés are that women shop, men buy. But … I found that a lot of women are what men are supposed to be, which is the grab and goers, who hate shopping. When a man spends hours and hours and hours online looking for the right cellphone or something like that, he's shopping. But the culture tends not to notice that.'

Globe and Mail 9th November 2009

The Christmas shopping season is in full swing, and many of us will be spending several hours, or even days, trailing round the shops or surfing the Web, struggling to find those perfect gifts for the special people in our lives. But if you're the sort of person for whom Christmas shopping is positively the worst way to spend your precious free time, if it's a trial to be endured and dealt with as quickly as possible, then there's a new term of reference for you – you belong to the ranks of the grab-and-goers.

the classic grab-and-goer is someone who just dislikes shopping, whatever they're shopping for and whatever the time of year

A grab-and-goer is a person who buys things quickly and without any deliberation or forward planning – sees it, grabs it, goes to pay. The classic grab-and-goer is someone who just dislikes shopping, whatever they're shopping for and whatever the time of year. However the expression is also sometimes used to describe a person who buys things quickly because they simply don't have enough time to linger over the decision – they need to get that purchase made so that they carry on with the rest of their day. A person who regularly buys breakfast en-route to work is an example of this kind of grab-and-goer.

The term grab-and-goer most often crops up in the domains of retail and marketing, where product packaging and methods of display are crucial in attracting the attention of quick and impulsive buyers.

Background – grab and go

The term grab-and-goer dates back to around 2003, based on the earlier verbal expression grab-and-go, often used adjectivally as in e.g.: a grab-and-go breakfast/lunch etc. More common in American English, the description grab-and-go encompasses the idea of something being in a 'ready-to-use' form which is quick and convenient for the consumer. It applies in a range of consumer contexts, though most commonly in relation to food or technology.

The verb grab dates back to the late 16th century, from middle Dutch grabben. The use of goer in grab-and-goer contrasts with other typical compounds in which goer is the head noun, e.g. theatre-goer, church-goer etc. In the latter, the sense of goer relates to the person moving in a direction 'towards' (the church, theatre etc.), whereas in grab-and-goer, the implied movement is 'away from' (the shop etc.). This difference is in turn reflected in the placement of primary stress, which in church-goer falls on church, but in grab-and-goer falls on goer.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

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This article was first published on 16th December 2009.

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