Saturday, January 13, 2007

Why the grocery store needs a man bench

Nobody with children likes to go grocery shopping.

It's just one of those chores that you cannot avoid - kinda like changing diapers and wiping snotty noses - but without an end in sight. Your children will be potty trained and they'll be able to wipe their own noses, but until they learn to drive, it will be mommy who buys the food. Even then, it's a risk to send a teenager shopping. No doubt the lettuce and cucumber will be replaced with cheetos and pepsi.

Of course, there is one other option. It's dangerous and can have serious consequences. It will cause an uproar in your home and chaos in your kitchen. The end will result will be you'll have to go to the grocery store yourself anyways.

You can send your husband.

I made that fatal mistake - but only once. I wrote down what we needed: milk, apple juice, cheerios and yogurt. I kept it simple so he wouldn't get confused. I also emailed the list to his blackberry in case he lost the little piece of paper. I didn't give him coupons because it would terrify him. I gave him three chances to back out of this onerous task. But he was brave and willing, so I let him.

He called me to ask what brand of apple juice. Then he called to ask what size. Then he called to tell me the yogurt was on special and should he get more than one. "What do you think you should do?" I asked sarcastically. I think that was when things went wrong.

He was gone for more than a hour. He came back with everything on the list, plus another $45 worth of groceries we didn't need. After a heated argument, he vowed he would never do the grocery shopping again.

I decided that next time, we would go together, so he could learn how to follow a list, maximize our budget, and see the difference between good and bad apples.

Another disastrous mistake.

Why do men feel the need to linger in the aisles? I was three aisles ahead of him and he's sauntering through cereal with the shopping cart. My arms are loaded and when I go back to get him, he's mad because I took off!!!

"I didn't know where you went. I hate it when you take off on me," he says.
"Why didn't you come to find me?" I ask.
"How would I find you?"
"You can walk down the main lane of the store and glance down the aisles - isn't that obvious?"

But it gets better. The rest of the trip went like this:

Him: "Don't we need more of these fruit bars?"
Me: "No"
Him: "But don't the kids eat them?"
Me: "Not for the last two months they don't."
Him: "oh"

Him: "Do you think the kids would like to try nutella?"
Me: "We don't need it."
Him: "But maybe they'll like it."
Me: "Peanut butter is good enough."
Him: "Shouldn't we stay away from peanut butter. I mean what about all the kids with nut allergies?"
Me: "Oh, I didn't think of that. Do you think the hazelnuts in nutella will be less dangerous?"
Him: "Party pooper"

Him: "Can we get some strawberries?"
Me: "They're not in season"
Him: "So they won't be sweet?"
Me: "No, I'm sure they are delicious. But a 2 pint container is $7.99"
Him: "Is that expensive?"

I just walked away humming "just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...."

I resolved to resume doing the grocery shopping without him. Just me and the kids. At least I would get done in under an hour and I would get only what we needed.

As we were heading toward the checkout, it all came crashing down on me.

Mason: "Mama, we get fruit bars?"
Hubby: "hahahahahaha"

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