The Four Scariest Words My Husband Can Utter

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I get a cold chill when I hear them. Like someone with post-traumatic stress syndrome, my pulse increases. My stomach tightens. I start feeling light-headed. Did I hear that right? Maybe I got it wrong. But yes, Randy just uttered those frightful words: “I’m going food shopping.” Help me.

I’ve heard other women say the same thing about their husbands and grocery stores. Here are seven reasons Randy going food shopping is like no other life experience…

  1. First, he loves stores  – And I mean loves stores. Unlike me, who’s allergic to aisles and shelf talkers, Randy revels in the feeling of selection and variety. He even goes shopping at crowded times— Saturday afternoons or the day before Christmas Eve. (He would never admit it, but I bet he’d even go on Black Friday if I weren’t there to give him a look of horror).
  2. He takes….his…time – Where I turn into a cranky four year-old in supermarkets, Randy loves to leisurely meander up and down every inch of the store. I can’t get out fast enough. So that’s why I’m amazed when his “quick trip to the market” turns into an all-day event. Where is he, I ask after the first hour, and then the fourth, and fifth? Did he get lost? Is he still in the country?
  3. The return– Finally, after what feels like millennia, his car pulls into the garage. Phew. Maybe he didn’t go too crazy, I pray. But then I get that call or text. Can I help carry? My stomach tightens. Help carry? He said he was getting four items. Why this sudden need for forklifts and back hoes? What in God’s name is in that trunk? A funny feeling begins as I approach the garage.
  4. The reveal…Randy proudly opens the back end and that’s when I stifle a scream. Fifty white plastic bags are piled in. They barely fit, each crammed with every possible store item from laundry detergent to a side of beef. “There’s more in the back seat,” he says casually. “Oh, and the front too.” What did this man do, agree to cater the Super Bowl?
  5. The “Bulk and Bargain” brigade — We finally bring in all the bags and Randy starts unpacking. This is his favorite part, but my most challenging. Randy can’t resist a bargain – and the more volume the better. But really…five cans of Pringles? Three large bricks of cheddar cheese? Two bags of croissants? (How fast can we eat these?) Two dozen bagels? Twelve apples? Two bunches of bananas? It goes on and on… and on.
  6. Putting it away – After an hour, we finally put all eight hundred items to rest. But it’s like one of those Japanese subway videos where riders have to be squeezed in by security guards. Our cupboards are straining. The fridge is like an overcrowded elevator, jars and containers and bottles jockeying to get off on the 31st floor.
  7. The pride – Finally, everything is miraculously put away. And that’s when Randy feels his winner’s glow. He raises his arms in the air like a prize fighter. He did it. Like much of what my husband does in life, shopping is improvised. There’s no list. He’s proud of his ingenuity (even if we won’t need food for seven months).

But there’s something else…

Among the packages of sun-dried tomatoes and chocolate-covered Oreos, there’s always another item, one he brings home, guaranteed to soften the grumpiest of hearts.

He brings flowers.

Sometimes they’re red roses. Sometimes they’re pink tulips. Sometimes they’re big yellow sunflowers. Sometimes they’re all three (if there was a sale) and I search for the biggest vase I can find. But the thought is there. He’s been doing this since we were newlyweds.

Thank God, Randy doesn’t shop all the time. I don’t think the storage in our kitchen could take it. I’ve even developed an “anti-list” system. As he’s going out the door, I’ll remind him of what we don’t need — another dozen canned soups or twelve-packs of dill-flavored crackers. We’re fine, I tell him.

Eventually, we go back to our usual shopping routine…getting it all delivered in normal, practical amounts.

Still, every few months, I sense another storm coming. Randy gets that gleam in his eye and I know to prepare for landfall.

“I’m going food shopping,” he’ll say. I sigh. Get out the forklift.

Does your significant other love to shop? Comments are always welcome and if you’d like, please share.

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  1. Hi Laurie. Your article made me laugh because you descibed me! My husband will go into Whole foods to save us money. He buys the five items on the list. When I go in to buy the five items, I come out with five bags! Thanks for sharing. Denise Rosenblum, a fellow shopper and writer for LTSA!

    • Denise, As long as there’s balance (one a shopper, the other not), then sanity can prevail. I can’t imagine if both partners were big shoppers, life would be much more challenging! Thanks for reading.

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