Thursday, February 12, 2009

How Men Shop

It’s late Wednesday afternoon, you’re out of elbow macaroni and your wife has informed you that you must prepare macaroni and cheese for the entire family. You must cook because your wife is ill. What will you do, what will you do!?

Do you?

  • Explain to your kids that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were omitted erroneously from the ‘Food Pyramid’ and that they ARE actually considered a food group and should be eaten more frequently,
  • Tell the kids that they’ll eat again when mom feels better,
  • Stare longingly into the pantry hoping that something requiring no more preparation than a ½ cup of water and three minutes of preperation time falls into your outstretched hand by the force of your sheer will, or
  • Drive to the grocery store and act like you know what you’re doing
I have discovered that there is a profound difference between men and women when it comes to the process of grocery shopping. My wife takes shopping seriously. She makes a list, clips coupons, and she even knows what she wants before she arrives at the store (Gasp!). With single-minded purpose she uses her internal GPS, Grocery Positioning System, to move unerringly from aisle to aisle. She slows only long enough to collect each of the items on her list.

These items are actually listed, in the ‘aisle order’ as they appear in the store. Appropriately alphabetized coupons are transferred from the coupon envelope to the outside ‘coupon compartment’ of her pocketbook. When shopping is completed, coupons are handed to the cashier, the obligatory “Paper or Plastic?” inquiry is addressed and with the swipe of a debit card and entry of four-digit PIN; my wife’s mission is accomplished.

Do all women shop this way? I’ve watched them (studied them even -- no, not like 'stalking'; knock that off) during the period of my life when I was unemployed (this was NOT a good time) and I did all of the shopping. I will concede that there may be a few out there who lack the ‘grocery’ gene and maybe even a few more who make my wife look downright reckless when it comes to shopping. And for you husbands whose wives are more genetically disposed to grocery shopping than mine, all I can say is, I’m really sorry. You may want to check out a few items from the 'BEER' aisle – assuming you can find it, of course.

Grocery shopping for men is infinitely different. Whereas my wife travels the store purposefully, I meander. There is no section of the store that can be overlooked. To this end I start at one end of the store and walk clock-wise through the aisles knowing that I’ll come across something that I will need. No need for a shopping strategy here, I merely continue wandering through the store until the cart looks full enough to justify getting out of the house for forty to sixty minutes. One bright spot is that with drive time factored in, you can get nearly ninety minutes of quality time ALONE. Sure you’ll buy things you don’t need, but you might just need that spare can of pineapple rings.

Consider the following real-life exchange:

Me, “Ed, it’s great to see you, I was just getting ready to peel back the lid on this can of pineapple rings. Are you hungry?”

Ed, “Oh, pineapple rings, uh, no thanks.”

Me, “Well then, how about some hot dog chili sauce on an English muffin?”

Ed, “No, thanks, I'm good...”

Me, “Cocktail franks in barbecue sauce?”

Ed, “No” Me, “Hey, how about we grab some wings at Hooters?”

Ed, “You’ve been shopping again, haven’t you?”

Me, “Well, ah, yes, my wife’s been (insert appropriate response here): a.) very busy, b.) sick, c.) abducted by space aliens, or, d.) astral projecting and isn’t expected back in her body until next Monday.

Ed, “I’m sorry man. Are you using coupons at least? My wife uses coupons.”

Me, “I tried it once, but I didn’t know if I should alphabetize them by manufacturer or by product. In the check-out line there was a group of women glaring at me, shaking their heads and whispering to each other. I heard one of them say something about me being ‘genetically challenged’. It was horrific.”

Ed, “Hooters it is. I’ll buy.”

So the next time you get snookered into running to the store for a few things; be prepared. Accept your limitations prior to entering the store. If your wife wanted the shopping done properly she would have done it herself (like she normally does). And if you are looking for an extra can of pineapple rings; stop on over, I have about fourteen of them right now.
Post a Comment