Friday, April 27, 2012

Dads and supermarket shopping

On the weekends in Coles, Aldi and Wooloworths around this great nation of ours you will often see Dads who would normally not go shopping with their child/ren in tow. I would hazard a guess that the normally patient mother / spouse has given the remaining members of the house a list and sent them packing, in order to get some much needed peace and quiet. So off to the supermarket they traipse, going though the pain of dealing with supermarket car parks and loading / unloading kids.

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So how have I reached this grandiose broad sweeping statement ?

Well they are pretty easy to spot. They have a couple of "tells" that give them away.

So here's a quick field guide to the species:

1) Identification - They are carrying a basket not a trolley, clutching a list like it's the 10 commandments and looking around nervously. To assume that anything else besides some bread, milk and a couple of other small items will fit in the basket is where the problems start. Trolleys are a trap and a blessing - it's good they hold so much but this results in you / others being able to add things and not really notice.

2) Environment - They will look pretty lost in the aisles. Not being a regular in the supermarket means they will often wander up and down several aisles looking for one thing before proceeding to the next item on their list. In trying to look like you know what you are doing, the exact opposite is usually conveyed.

3) Behavior Patterns - They will keep checking what the kids are doing or actually looking for the child/ren. When they find the actual listed item they are looking for they will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to decide which brand or price point they are supposed to choose. Then will often display confusion as the child/ren may offer suggestions like " that's not the one Mommy buys ! "

4) Checkout - At this point they are feeling a cross between stressed and relief that the end is in sight. A few more looks at the list to re-assure themselves that all is well. They will often miss the chocolate / treat free aisle that assist with the inevitable " daddy can we have.....". That always takes a few minutes to resolve.

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And then off they toddle with bags and kids in tow to the car park and out into the bright daylight that signals freedom.

As a regular supermarket shopper I feel for them. I remember the first time I was allowed to go by myself. I think I came home with $200.00 of "stuff " and most it was not on the list I had been supplied with. Over time I was trained in the art of shopping for a) the budget and b) what we would actually consume.

I really feel fore these guys. I can assure you that no where in "What to expect when you are expecting " or any book in that series does it explain or even hint at this kind of stuff.

And when I see them struggling, I just  want to take them gently by the hand and show them that the Pecans are in aisle 5.

So I never laugh and never sneer in derision when they don't know.

I just remind my self to drag out the minions and show them how to shop to live well.

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