A Farmer's Nightmare: Lost in the Supermarket

Occasional forays along aisles of the grocery store help husband understand his wife's frustrations with the monthly shopping.

| January/February 2011

  • Supermarket Collision
    Tempers flare in the local supermarket.
    Illustration by Wayne Stroot
  • Confused in the Supermarket
    Pretty familiar with this feeling? Us too.
    Illustration by Wayne Stroot

  • Supermarket Collision
  • Confused in the Supermarket

Call me crazy, but I believe tall people tend to be better at basketball than short people, that fish are better swimmers than cows, and that my wife is better suited to grocery shopping than I am. 

Once a month, my wife prepares for her trek to the local supermarket like Hannibal preparing to cross the Alps. She checks the pantry, the refrigerator and the bathroom, prepares a shopping list the length of an axe handle, grits her teeth, and growls at me on her way out the door. For my part, I offer helpful suggestions like “Don’t forget the Oreos,” or “How about some of that chocolate almond ice cream?” 

I should point out that grocery shopping does not put my wife in a good mood. When she returns two or three hours later, I can hear the car door slam and the sound of her feet as she stomps her way inside, yelling at me to go unload the car – a task I am happy to do, having escaped the monthly assault on the supermarket. 

But there’s a problem with buying groceries and necessities once a month. It means you’re probably going to run out of important stuff like bathroom tissue, milk, bread, eggs ... and chocolate almond ice cream. 

My wife recently sent me to the supermarket with a list of things she needed. I dutifully stuck the list in my pocket without looking at it, and headed off.   

I entered the sprawling palace of palatables, list in hand, and plotted my strategy. First item was bathroom tissue. Since I remembered which aisle I wanted from my last trip, I’d just start there. But did she want the four-pack, the eight-pack, the 12-pack, or the giant economy pack big enough to supply a family of eight through the winter? The two-ply, the four-ply, the scented variety, or the super-soft brand? And how the heck do you compare the cost per roll? I finally just grabbed an eight-pack of the house brand and left the scene. 

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