It is a long standing belief that men don't do the grocery shopping. Arguably in my parents generation this was the rule, in my generation I do see more of my male friends shopping - and I if I see them there, that means I was there too. But generally speaking, more often than not, the wife does the grocery shopping.
One day it hit me - I don’t grocery shop because it takes me way too long to get it done. I can’t ever find what I need. I spent hours searching for the simplest of things. My wife can go into any grocery store in this country and find exactly what she needs and get it done. I go in to get a single thing and I CANT FIND IT. It takes me just as long to buy 1 thing as it does her to do all the shopping.
Now before you go off telling me that I am making excuses so I do not have to do the shopping, let me show you some examples of what exactly I am talking about.
Example 1 - Graham Crackers.
I went to the store the other day to buy some Graham Crackers. Simple enough. I came in, read the signs - Aisle 6 Crackers. I spent 15 minutes up and down the cracker aisle looking for Graham Crackers. (men rarely ask for help) I couldn't find them. Now I think I have Graham Cracker blinders on, I must be missing them. So finally - I call the wife - she says they are in the COOKIE aisle. WHAT???? COOKIES??? The product has the word CRACKER right in it. What logical, sane person would put crackers in the cookie aisle. She gives me some weird explanation that they are sweet like cookies and that is why they are there. MAKES NO SENSE. the sign doesn’t say AISLE 6 CRACKERS (except graham - they are in aisle 7) - and Aisle 7 doesn't say COOKIES (and crackers - but only the graham kind). There is no reasonable explanation that works in my brain.
Example 2 - Oreo Cookies 6 piece snack packs
A year or so ago we woke up to realize that it was our son’s birthday, and he needed to take a snack for his classmates. Not sure how we didn’t realize this before 6:30 the morning of, but I digress. I took the reigns, and said I would leave a few minutes early and stop by Kroger’s to grab a snack on the way to school. I am told that Oreos are perfect treat as they are ‘peanut free approved’ and kids love them. ( I am not bringing a healthy treat likes apples - I am not THAT parent - kids don’t like THOSE snacks! ) Problem solved - or not.
I run into the store, read the signs - Aisle 7 Cookies. ( see above ) I scan the shelves and find the Oreo section. How could you miss it - did you know that Oreos must be owned by Baskin & Robbins because there are 31 different varieties of Oreos now - single stuff, double stuff, mint, banana, pumpkin, purple, inside out, upside down, backwards - you get the picture. Guess what? No prepackaged 6 packs ANYWHERE! I spent the precious time I had running up and down the aisle looking for Oreo 6-packs. (men rarely ask for help) I couldn’t find them. So finally - I call the wife - she says they are in the pre-packaged snack aisle (Aisle 5) with the gummi bears, gold fish (crackers!) and the teddy grahams (crackers again!). WHAT???? SNACKS???? The product has the word COOKIES right in it. What logical sane person would look in the snack aisle for cookies when there is a cookie aisle just for cookies. i understand (kinda?) why the Teddy Grahams and Gold Fish are there. I mean nobody needs a dedicated aisle for each of those things - but cookies already have their aisle. It is Aisle 7 - this had been determined. Again the sign doesn’t say AISLE 7 COOKIES (except the pre-packed snack packs those are in aisle 5) does it?
Example 3 - Buena Vita Chili Powder.
My wife and I like to make chili on occasion With our crazy schedule it is nice sometimes to throw a Crock-Pot (oops that is trademarked - I meant slow cooker) on in the morning and come home to a nice meal, ready to serve. We use a slightly modified version of my Mom’s recipe which calls for Buena Vita Chili Powder.
The other day I went to the store to pick up the fixins for a pot of Mom’s chili. I got the beans, I found the tomatoes, grabbed some ground beaf, and an onion - good to go - just needed the chili powder. I scanned the signs - Aisle 4 Spices, Chili Powder. Perfect. I headed down the aisle and found the section with chili powders. I had no idea there were so many kinds of chili powder. I spent 20 minutes looking for the distinctive green/white packaging of the required Buena Vita. (this time I asked for help - I am told ‘chili powders are in Aisle 4’ - I think to myself ‘no shit - the sign told me that!’) So I call the wife. She says it is in Aisle 3 with the beans, canned tomatoes, and other things for chili. “Bottom shelf, hard to spot in a small box.” she tells me. WHAT???? Are you kidding me. What logical sane person puts THIS chili powder in a different place. The ONLY chili powder in a different place. WHY???? Again the sign doesn’t say - AISLE 4 CHILI POWDER (except Buena Vita chili powder it is in aisle 3) does it?
Who thinks this is a good idea? How does anyone find anything in a grocery store? Is it me - Do I have grocery store induced dyslexia? Am I really just dumb? Are my 45 year old eyes THAT bad - am I legally blind? And then it hit me - the reason is simple - grocery stores are not designed for men - at least not THIS man. They are designed for women - at least for my wife. Her brain is wired for the grocery store design, or better, the grocery store is designed for her brain wiring.
My fellow male friends - this is not our fault. This is a system designed to hold us back, to prevent us from being the helpful husband we all want to be. I say we should boycott the grocery store until they make the stores better for men - I know a guy who can make us signs - who’s with me!