September 26, 2010

Supermarket Observations.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:14 pm

At the outset, let me say that I am not a stranger to supermarkets. Over the years, I have probably spent more time in supermarkets than most men. Now, following retirement and making the House by the Parkway (South) the default residence, the division of labor has worked out such that I do most of the supermarket shopping.

I have a few observations I thought I’d share:

Today’s Subject: Shopping Efficiency — Men and Women

Of course, there are numerous exceptions, but I think it’s fair to say that when women shop alone, they are good at, most likely having done it for years. I have noticed that when men shop alone, they are also pretty good at it and quite efficient, except for an occasional lapse of douchebaggery where you see a man on the cell phone calling home for instructions. “They don’t have the 16-ounch cans. Would two 8-ounce cans be OK?” Most men don’t have to make such calls, but, alas, some still do. Despite the occasional Call-for-Instructions Guy, I think it’s fair to say that when shopping alone, men are pretty efficient.

The problems arise when men and women shop together. Efficiency goes right out the window.

The shopping-together phenomenon takes two forms.

The Puppy Dog, Bored, Hopelessly Lost Looking Husband

I’m sure you’ve seen these couples. The man walks several steps behind the woman and contributes absolutely nothing toward the goal of buying supermarket stuff. He often looks bored to death, or confused by it all. You have to wonder why he came along in the first place. I never get the impression that the woman asked him to accompany her, or, for that matter, even wants him there. He’s nothing but a drag on the process, destroying the efficiency of the operation.

The “Expert” Shopping Nazi

I see this type of chooch a lot in the supermarket near the House by the Parkway (South), where there are an abundance of retired people. This is typically a guy who, before retiring, left the supermarket shopping to his wife. Now that he’s retired, he’s decided that, for all those years, his wife didn’t know how to shop for groceries.

So, he accompanies his wife to the supermarket, where he demonstrates his instant expertise on everything having to do with grocery shopping. Every single purchase involves a conference, which sounds more like a lecture from the Expert Shopping Nazi to the hapless woman who obviously has been doing everything wrong for the past three decades. “Why are you buying that? We don’t need it, and this one over here is two cents cheaper.”

I would like to see one of these women whack her imperious, Shopping Nazi husband in the kisser with bag of onions.


  1. My wife probably takes 3 times as long as I would, but ……I say nothing because of a rule we have at Camp….When the food put on the table by our resident camp chef turns out salty , burned or over done on occasion …we dive in & say,”Just the way we like it” because if you piss off the cook , you will doing the cooking yourself.
    Now at home , I contribute on the grill outside…but in the house on a regular basis … thank you! Goes for shopping too!

    Comment by dudley1 — September 26, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

  2. Don’t forget the “Grab the chips, salsa and brew and book it outtadere fast” variety.

    Comment by Cappy — September 26, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  3. I’m laughing at the shopping Nazi. For years, my grandmother worked and did the cleaning and the laundry. (Granddaddy always did the shopping, I think.) When they retired, he was always on her about the laundry. ‘Why aren’t you doing it today? Why do you do it this way?’ b*tch, b*tch, b*tch. Finally she said, “If you want it done YOUR way when YOU want it done, you do it…” and she never did a load of laundry again. Ever. Until he died.

    That’s my attitude here. My husband says NOTHING about how I do housework, laundry, or cooking. The instant he says a word, I say, “Here, it’s yours. You do it.” That happened… ONE TIME. I don’t tolerate someone looking over my shoulder. I’m not 5.

    Comment by Bou — September 26, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  4. Left to my own devices, I walk up and down each aisle.

    Hey, you never know if you might be missing something important on some aisle that doesn’t have the stuff you need….!

    Comment by Mike R. — September 26, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

  5. We have never have that problem. I shop and cook and he doesn’t. The only time we shop together for groceries is if we happen to be going elsewhere near the grocery store and don’t want to make a separate trip. I will dash through the store at about 900mph – but I do stop to ask him if he would like various things.

    My pet peeve is when entire friggin’ families go grocery shopping!!! What the hell is this Disneyland? So you have a grocery and small aisles and lots of people and all these families standing around taking up space. ARG! When my kids were young I waited for my husband to get home and then went grocery shopping. Last thing in the world I wanted was to drag kids with me. Geeze!

    Comment by Teresa — September 27, 2010 @ 12:11 am

  6. Just the opposite of T here.

    My hub HATES shopping with me because in our family I am the one who can’t stand the supermarket and I can hardly force myself to go anymore. I want out of there fast. I hate it that much. I dread thinking I have to go, DAYS before the event itself.

    And I won’t even go in alone at all anymore without a sort of internal ticking-timer going (pressure!), a short list of EXACTLY what I am to buy, earbuds in, sunglasses on, t-shirt that reads “Is there any way we can speed this up?” Oh yes, I am approachable.

    Then, once in there, I serpentine and do combat rolls and whatever I have to do in order to get the hell OUT of there ASAP. I HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT. I do hope I’ve made that clear. Must be deep repressed trauma.

    So of course I am not pleasant to shop WITH. And the hub hates going in there with me, the few times that scenario comes up. He normally does all the food shopping now and has for years. He is WAY BETTER at it and enjoys it (WTF?) because he’s the chef in the house. I have yet to master microwaving. HATE COOKING. My eye twitch is coming back just thinking about all this. Must go lie down.

    Comment by sheri — September 27, 2010 @ 8:27 am

  7. My dad is that dangerous combo. When he’s sent on a shopping errand, it requires at least three frantic “the label is more turquoise than blue, do you mean that one?” calls. But when he goes with my mom, he’s all Mr. Shopper Of The Year and knows everything. “That was made in Serbia. The onions there are inferior to those in Russia. I mean, if you WANT inferior onion sauce, fine, but…”
    My mom knows the combination to the gun safe and the man is still alive. She’s a bloody damn saint.

    Comment by LeeAnn — September 27, 2010 @ 9:56 am

  8. The next time we get together, I will tell you some of my shopping stories. Or you can wait for me to finish my book, although at the rate that’s going…

    Comment by gregor — September 27, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  9. heh, the ultimate girlfriend test, go grocery shopping with them.

    Comment by James Old Guy — September 27, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  10. Kelly and I do the shopping together.
    She gets all of the stuff while I push the cart and check out the milf population.
    It’s a win/win.

    Comment by dick — September 27, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  11. Shopping nazis and sprint-shoppers are menace to society.

    Comment by Joan of Argghh! — September 27, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  12. I did the grocery shopping for the 7 years since I’ve been in Indiana. I enjoyed it; found it relaxing.

    But I gotta agree with Teresa and these people dragging their rugrats around. I’ve gone through the store backwards so that I wouldn’t have to scoot around these parents driving the shopping cart “racecar” through the store. If I had to drag kids along, I wouldn’t go shopping…ever.

    Comment by Jerry in Indiana — September 28, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

  13. I recognized myself as the Shopping NAZI. Realized it about a year after I retired. The missus and I had a little “heart to heart” in the parking lot after shopping one day and after thinking about it, and once the bruises faded, my share of grocery shopping duty now is bringing the stuff into the house when Herself gets home from the store and remarking on how wonderfully she knows my preferences in coffee, boxed wine and peanut butter.

    Domestic tranquility restored.

    Gerry N.

    Gerry, you are a wise man.


    Comment by Gerry N. — September 29, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

  14. The best part of this post? You used the word “chooch.” Takes me right back home, that does…

    Comment by Elisson — September 30, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

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