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Guest Column

Women shop while men pick
By Jim Fabiano
Jun 29, 2014 - 1:25:30 AM

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Even though society is attempting to diminish the line between men and women there are certain parts of our society that will forever distinguish between the sexes. The most obvious is how each group shops. Women are and have always been the best shoppers. I assume it is in their genes. Men don't shop; they pick. When they are forced into the stores they get out of there as soon as possible by finding what they need and evacuate the store and parking lot as soon as possible.

The other day my wife and I went out to pick up a few things we needed around our house. Like all women, she made up a list as to what we needed. She also scheduled out what stores we would travel to. Looking over her shoulder I noticed a very neat and specific list. I, on the other hand, found a crumpled up sticky note in my wallet that was supposed to remind me to pick up some sand for our walkway. I'm not sure but I think that was for last year.

We just made it through our first store when I noticed my wife veer off into a department that had little to do with what we had on our list. I figured something caught her eye and followed her into a labyrinth of merchandize I did not know existed. This is where the demarcation line exists between a man and a woman. My wife professionally went through the entire store, aisle by aisle picking up and analyzing every aspect of the merchandize. This took a lot of time and I found my mind wandering off into a world that was far away from anything that resembled a store. After a couple of hours we left the store with nothing that was written on the list. In fact, we left the store with nothing.

We then passed another store that was next to the store we just left. The dreaded, "I just want to check something", fell out of her mouth as easily as any breath she has ever taken. I was going to remind her that this particular store was not on our list but the concept of not being talked to for the rest of the day changed my mind. Again, I found myself deep into a garden of merchandize I had little knowledge of. I watched my wife pick up and inspect many items and every now and then she would turn and ask, "What I thought?" I gave the only response my Y-chromosome would allow: "Nice."

That afternoon continued at the same pace until seeing how late it was becoming we decided to skip Home Depot and end our shopping experience with a late lunch. I agreed and I must have shown a smile on my face because my wife agreed on a lunch that would include draft beer. I think this was my reward for the day.

The next day I went picking because my wife had other plans with her sister. Notice I said picking. The difference is far from subtle. I arrived at Home Depot at which time I found a worker who was wearing the traditional orange apron. I asked if he was busy and as soon as he told me he was not I literally kidnapped him by having him show me where everything I needed was. We ran up and down the aisles like gazelles trying to get away from lions. Every item he showed me I picked up and threw in the cart. I was not concerned about any dent in the box or whether or not it expired some time during the last century. I picked up everything I needed within a twenty-five minute period. Walking toward the check out line that was run by a real person and not a machine I observed I had picked up everything on the list. There was nothing extra because I was focused with my scout to get the job done. I was back out into the parking lot under 30 minutes.

Even though society is attempting to diminish the line between men and women there are certain parts of our society that will forever distinguish between and a man and a woman. The contrast between shopping and picking will always be one.

Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine

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