I was once told that one of the differences between men and women is that women shop and men hunt.
What, you might ask, is the difference?
Let me tell you about a recent Thursday afternoon.
Having completed most of my tasks for that day, I opted to make a trek away from the Krause home (I think you are going to notice a lot of what I write about happens during travels away from home despite my determination to stay indoors as much as is possible. The reason for that is that nothing much happens in my southeast corner of the living room office.)
Anyway, we had come to town to pay a few bills, and while there I made a stop at the office to do a little bit of business. With those tasks completed, the need to make a grocery run was also part of the plan. The difference this time is I would be the one going in the store.
Let’s just say when it comes to getting those needed items for the family I am a bit of a novice. In fact, I don’t recall in a quarter century of married life when I have ever been responsible for the purchase of an entire cart full of things that would feed my family.
Yes, now and then I have been trusted with the task of getting a few things, like a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk or some butter, but never have I faced the daunting task of looking at a full sheet of items. The good news is that my best half, the shopper, is a professional, and so she compiled the list of items based on the layout of the store. (I am convinced she and other shoppers actually have every store they have ever entered completely memorized.)
I started in the produce section and was tasked with getting some fruit for the family. A couple of suggestions had been made. So, I (the hunter) looked for those items.
One of them was nowhere to be seen. I panicked a bit not knowing what to do. Thank goodness for bananas. I grabbed a few and moved on.
I made my way to buy sandwich meat. (I knew there are plenty of options and have bought that before. However, this time I was buying for more than just myself.) I think it would be a lot easier if the Krause progeny would all just willingly eat bologna.
I got peanut butter – the biggest jar of the cheapest brand – and then I got coffee (one of the few things I am able to “shop” for with confidence).
I selected a couple of loaves of bread and some hot dog buns. This is where the hunter and the shopper differ dramatically. Not thinking about it, I just threw the bread items in the bottom of the shopping cart.
So, any guesses what happened?
That’s right. By the time I was done shopping the bread was completely flat having been covered over by cans of tomato sauce and cream of mushroom soup.
Did you know that little spot at the front of the grocery cart – the place where little kids hang out – is a great place to keep bread to avoid having it smashed by the end of the hunting task?
As part of the reality of today’s world I recognized going in that I would not be able to get everything on the list and might even have to improvise. Let’s just say I am not that good at improvising.
If the hunt requires a one pound bag of Colby Jack cheese and there is none of that, I have no idea what to do.
I did finally give in and get something close, but I am pretty sure – despite the encouragement of the family shopper – that things would have been different for her.
With only a few items left, I made my way around the store not stopping to even look at other items that were not on the list.
The shopper in the family might have gone a bit rogue here and there simply because, in addition to the immediate list, there is also another long-term list in her head that reminds her the kids also need clothes and shoes. So, when there is a good sale it is worth it to deviate.
Who knows how many good deals I left on the racks that day?
Another reason why I did not stop to look at anything else is that I had no idea how much it was going to cost to pay for what I had in the cart. The last thing I wanted was to be over the budget.
After getting almost everything on the list I got in line and started unloading the cart. That is also when I noticed the flat bread. As the cashier picked it up I looked at her with the grin of a hunter on my face. Although she said nothing, I am pretty certain she was laughing at me on the inside.
Then came the ultimate test of the hunt. How much would it cost?
With all of the items bagged and back in the cart I ended up paying just a little over $148. I walked to the Krause vehicle with my head held high.
Later I even asked if we could put the receipt on the refrigerator.
Humoring me, my best half offered words of congratulations, but what I know is had she been there the cart would have had a lot more items in it, and there would have been more money in her pocket.
The best news is that I only had to do the hunting.
The cooking is entirely up to someone else.