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Short end of the stick?



Published: Sat, June 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Dad doesn't rate the big-ticket items.

By ALEEA S. SLAPPY

SCRIPPS HOWARD

From electronics to ties to briefcases, Americans searched for just the right gifts to give their dads for Father's Day, but few spend as much as they did for Mother's Day.

According to a survey of 445 buyers at www.shopzilla.com, a comparison shopping Web site, people planned to spend an average of $36 on dad, compared with the $97 they spent on mom last month.

"We found that gift buyers are thrifty on spending for dad," said Helen Malani, chief shopping expert at Shopzilla. "Dads are getting the short end of the stick."

More than half of men and women said it was difficult to find the right gifts.

"I'm in charge of the ideas for my gift, that's why more money is spent on me," said Mindy Sucher, 35, sales representative from Fort Wright, Ky. "Guys don't say what they want."

Sucher said she would probably spend about $40 on her husband.

"We usually do a shirt or a book and a homemade gift from the kids," Sucher said of her twins, 7.

"Fathers don't want to get in trouble, so they make sure they get their wives good gifts," said her husband, Michael Sucher, 39, an account executive.

Get him a shirt

According to the survey, clothing is the top gift for Father's Day.

"We found that most dads need wardrobe updates, and people use Father's Day to give dad a makeover," Malani said.

"I spent, like $7, on a T-shirt for my dad that said, 'I am your daddy,' " said Brooks Ann McKinney, 27, a graduate student at the University of Denver. "You can give dads a crayon and they will be happy. Dads are just easily pleased."

McKinney said she spent about $50 on an orchid and chocolate for Mother's Day.

The survey found that gift cards and books are popular, and some dads get flowers.

"For the Mother's Day season, our flower sales are between $3,000 and $5,000," said Pam Riley, owner of Special Occasion Flowers in Newport News, Va. "Father's Day sales are anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. The consumer is not well educated in that men like flowers just as much as women."

Amanda Todorovich, spokeswoman for American Greetings, said, "Mother's Day is a much bigger greeting card holiday then Father's Day. ... Greeting cards are more sentimental and important to women."

Leather goods are a different story.

"We do three or four times as much business on Father's Day, compared with Mothers Day," said Jacquelyne Berger, president of Leather Tree, an online store.

Berger said people buy business accessories such as briefcases that average $225, card cases for $20 or $600 crocodile desk sets.

Some dads don't mind lower-priced gifts.

"It doesn't matter. I don't need a lot of stuff," said Don Schmidt, 43, a contractor from Harrisonburg, Va., and father of two. "It should be equal, but mothers take care of the kids and you feel more obligated to her for raising you."

BizRate Research, a division of Shopzilla, surveyed buyers online randomly March 14 to 17.




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