Men and shopping (HLD 73)

3 June 2020

We all know that men are from Mars, and women are from Venus. Or something like that.

Blah blah, gender neutral, there’s no difference whatsoever, it’s all about how we bring children up. Yeh yeh, feel free to have a rant about your views about how there is no difference between the sexes. I’m sure you can convince me, if you try hard enough.

But…. have you ever sent a man shopping? Have you ever had to write a really REALLY specific shopping list for them? Because if, for existence, you send two mature males off to the shops to buy stuff to feed, for example, twelve people a sausage sizzle lunch, you will get back from the shops 24 sausage, 18 bread rolls, two onions, and a container of tomato sauce. Adequately providing for the twelve people needing to be fed with a sausage in a bun, and leftovers for those who possibly enjoyed the first one.

If you sent a women to the shops to cater for twelve people for lunch, with the same sausage sizzle basis, you will get a significantly larger supply of food back. The females will bring you back some alternative options for those who cannot handle a sausage in a bun, maybe taking into belated consideration the gluten free or vegetarian attendees at lunch. There may be salad ingredients involved, for instance. There would definitely have been a dessert option catered for. And yes, if we had given the original shoppers a more specific list, they might have managed. They can shop, but don’t expect them to think about the process as well!

Shops of any sort seem to be a bit of a Twilight Zone for males – and I apologise if you are one of the emancipated male types totally comfortable with shopping of any description. I am generalising, a lot, and if you feel offended because I’m typecasting you, please accept my apologies.

But – put a female in charge of buying something online, for instance. She will have a look, she will find out what’s available at what price, she will make a selection, she will look at delivery costs involved and maybe change her mind if delivery costs are larger than the purchase price. Address and contact details will be supplied with ease, and she will input the credit card numbers without looking at the actual card, because this is not her first rodeo. Including the secret three numbers from the back of the card.

Put a man in charge of ordering something online, and you might need to wait awhile. There will be confusion about where you can buy something from, the smug “the price I found is much cheaper than the one you told me”, before realising that the price he got was in US dollars and therefore not cheaper at all, there will be much deliberation about whether if he just spent another day or two, or left it until next week, and looked at a few different websites, he could find a better option… When the male eventually decides upon a purchase, he struggles to remember his address, or at least the postcode, and then has to walk around the house trying to locate his wallet so he can input credit card details.

He will then expect the item to be delivered at a date and time that is suitable for him.

A certain male in my house (no names mentioned to protect privacy, but I married him 36 years ago) once went to a department store to buy himself socks and underwear. He knew the brand and size he was looking for, they were usually stocked at this particular shop, so was a fairly straight forward operation for an unattended male. BUT – they only had the underwear in stock, not the socks too, so he left without purchasing either, because he went there for socks AND underwear. Not just underwear.

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a fairly good chance I might have got at least half of what I was looking for. And then tried a different shop. Or two.

And having pondered on this topic a little more, I’m starting to realise that it might not be just a gender thing, but also a generational thing. I have a couple of younger males in the family who are extremely comfortable in shopping situations.

So possibly the males who have issues in shopping centres are specifically males over the age of, say, 50?

What do you think?

Photo by Anna Shvets on

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