Grocery Shopping From a Dad’s Perspective
Before reading this post, there’s something you need to know: I am a man, and the thoughts that follow are written from a man’s perspective. I say this to establish my credibility. As with most subjects there may be many points of view but at my house, when it comes to shopping for groceries there’s a right way (my way), and a wrong way (I won’t mention names—Jyl).
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I particularly enjoy shopping for groceries, it's just that when someone else does it (again, I won’t mention your name, honey), we have unique “challenges” in the areas of time, quantity, and price.
In basic math, we learned what is called the Munnday-Knightfut-Ball Theorem, that is the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. In other words, the quickest way to get from Point A (the grocery store entrance) to Point B (back home to watch the football game) is to NOT SHOP AS A COUPLE. I don’t say this lightly, it comes from years of trial and error, but the best way to do the shopping at our house is to let me go alone. I’m faster, more agile, and have a pocket full of coupons that I’m not afraid to use.
My wife and I went to school in different states, so it’s no surprise that we don’t see eye to eye on some things. Those things are called ‘opinions.’ My first grade teacher (shout out to Ms. Baron, yo!) taught that the opposite of opinion is something called ‘fact.’ At Grandview Elementary, one of the facts we were taught was the four basic food groups—Meat, Dairy, Grain, and Fruits and Vegetables. This was a fact; ergo it was the same throughout the entire world. Well Ms. Baron was wrong. I’m not sure we can blame it on Helen Keller Elementary or if my wife picked it up somewhere else along the line, but the food groups my wife subscribes to consists of Gourmet, Expensive, Vegetables, and Things We Will Never Eat.
To illustrate, let’s imagine a planet called Earth. This planet contains literally thousands of types of vegetables, therefore making it impossible for one produce department to stock every single variety. Business-savvy produce managers have discovered however, that if one displays just a handful of these rarities a shop appears more distinctive and appealing. The produce manager goes to great lengths to obtain these uncommon items. They are not for sale. They are decorations only. They usually don’t even have price tags. These are the fruits and vegetables my strikingly beautiful wife picks up first. Produce managers in our area turn pale when she enters their store, knowing the expensive and arduous process of replacing them will have to be undertaken once again. They turn pale. White as ghosts. Seriously.
Soon after our honeymoon, I discovered my wife had a condition she had failed to disclose prior to our marriage. It was her eyes. They are unable to see or recognize an item’s price. The condition isn’t listed on her driver’s license, but it is an illness just the same. Just as someone who is colorblind can’t see certain colors, my wife is apparently powerless to see prices. I’ve pointed to them on shelves, on price tags, and even on the inordinately high numbers at the bottom of her receipts. Nothing. Zip. Nada. It’s like they’re not even there.
A recent example occurred just the other day. We were shopping together (mistake number one) and we came to the canned tuna, one of the items on our list. Brand #1 was generic. Brand #2 was a popular national brand guaranteed to not contain dolphin parts. It was on sale at a ridiculously low price—even lower than the generic brand. Brand #3 was endorsed by Rachel Ray, Julia Child, and Glenn Beck (my wife isn't even a fan!). This brand is so flavorful that it has changed lives. People cry tears of joy when the can is opened. This is my wife’s favorite brand. By a stroke of luck involving an in-store special and an amazing coupon I had tucked away in my pocket we would not only get Brand #3 for free, but they would actually GIVE US MONEY at the check stand. So which brand does she choose? None of them. She marches us back to the seafood deli where she recalled seeing some hand-fed vitamin-enhanced all-natural tuna raised on a farm in which each individual fish is given a name, birthday parties and its own Japanese Geisha who gives it seven years of tender care before it is harvested. A two ounce container of this tuna costs as much as a small car payment. She ordered a dozen.
What Have We Learned?
The moral of this story is simple—my wife is amazing, in fact brilliant. Compared to her, the sun is a 40-watt bulb. Where millions have failed, she will succeed. If given the choice between her and a 54" 1080p Plasma television/Maytag Neptune washer and dryer combination I would choose her. No contest. She’s the best. Just let me do the shopping.
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.