Saturday, 4 January 2014

Men Shopping vs Women Shopping


Men Shopping vs Women Shopping
4 January 2013

Through my finely honed observation skills, I have noticed that there is a huge difference in how men do shopping as opposed to how women do shopping.

I experienced this in the home I grew up in, when I compared the groceries my dad bought, in comparison to the groceries my mom bought.  I have also experienced this in my own home and marriage.  When it comes to shopping, my husband and I have vastly different consumer skills.  And my girlfriends and female family members have concluded the same behaviour too.

Men don’t bargain hunt.  At least not when it comes to certain basics.  They simply buy.  To them Marmite, is Marmite, is Marmite.  When we all know that Marmite is actually Bovril or Oxo.  We just like the name Marmite best.  Certainly it’s obvious?  Also peanut butter, actually refers to Black Cat Peanut Butter.  Not any other random brand.  This same convoluted logic applies to many other things too – i.e. Mayonnaise, and Tomato Sauce.

My mom has never had a fondness for shopping – irrespective of what is needed.  Albeit groceries, clothes, or things for the home.  And thus for her, window shopping also serves no purpose either.

My Dad was therefore the main shopping person in our home.  And he was such fun when he bought groceries.  Shopping always included many treats, like ice cream and some as-then-perceived luxury items.  Like shop bought salad dressing – not one my mom simply made.  A proper egg slicer, as opposed to using a knife.  A real ice cream scoop as opposed to using a spoon.  Unpacking the groceries after he’d done a shopping round, was exciting and interesting.  And though certain items appeared rather random and frivolous, they were enticing none the less. 

As for my mom’s shopping and excitement?  Not so much.  She bought the necessities.  Oh, they were always lovely and needed.  But she stuck to her budget and bought only that which was required.  Very seldom veering off her path.  The child which accompanied her on her shopping trip, was permitted a treat – usually drinking yoghurt.  Our favourite.  Whereas she indulged with a bottle of pure apple juice, in a green plastic bottle – I remember it well.

So technically, she was the practical shopper.  She was the logic, the budget, the brains (sorry Dad!).

My dad was all frivolous.  He also had certain blind spots when he did shopping.  Certain items he bought every single time he went out.  This done irrespective of whether the item was actually needed or not.  Or when the last time was that he had bought it.  And thus, we had a never ending supply of Gouda cheese in the fridge, as it was his great weakness.  In addition, he simply always bought a bottle or Marmite every time he went shopping.  This despite the fact that everyone knows that Marmite is actually Bovril or Oxo.  Nobody in our home ever ate Marmite.  NEVER.

And then there was the roll-on underarm.  He bought one to two bottles with every shopping trip.  A few times a week.  I’m assuming he had a deep seated fear of body odour.  Who doesn’t?  However, his obsession was a bit bizarre.  For about two years after his death, my mom never had to buy roll-on.  She simply switched brands and sexes, and used his instead.  They lasted for years.

My very own Grantie has certain blind spots too.  Though he doesn’t do the shopping very often.  Certain items he buys regularly, regardless of whether they are needed or not.  Other ones he muddles up and switches them around.  Cheddar cheese instead of Gouda.  When we all know that the term cheese refers to Gouda.  What else?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not ungrateful, when he does the shopping.  Nor am I particularly fussy.  On the odd occasion when he does go, it is a much enjoyed respite from doing the trip myself.  Though this happens but a few times a year.  Still every trip yields some casualties – usually a larger-than-required supply of underarm.  The odd bottle of Marmite (it must be a man thing).  Instead of full cream vanilla ice-cream, a tub of low-fat, desert sorbet – rum and raisin flavour no less.  Not even he likes it.  Cheddar cheese.  Skimmed milk.  Black mission olives.  A knife sharpener.  A penchant for expensive out-of-season-fruit. 
Though to be truthful, I don't really enjoy doing shopping either.  And I'm suspecting that I most certainly take after my mom.  I tend to go on a mission.  With a list in my mind of very specific items I need to get.  One I usually stick with.  I bargain hunt and brand buy.  Never, ever buying Marmite or underarm.  Cause there certainly is no need.  However, I do sneak in the occasional bottle of Bovril or Oxo.  Most rewarding - as people actually eat it.

Men Shopping vs Women Shopping – there truly is a difference.  And perhaps in the future, on the odd Grant-friendly trip, I should specify my shopping list.  Maybe even use pictures?

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  1. Helene - love this! So true! However, I am the luckiest gal in the world - my lovely husband does the grocery shopping ALL THE TIME! I too, like my darling sister Maggie, can't like shopping! Window shopping?? WHATS THE POINT?? Only shopping I enjoy is when I am on holiday, and us girls go to into Gansbaai and hit the Surf shop, the local Pep Stores and the junk shops!!! Thats the best!!

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