How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Brain Failure on Aisle 9!

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A Man's Brain Failure While Shopping

When I go shopping, something happens. I enter some magical space-time distortion, where time oozes and store aisles and racks shift around like the stairs at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with accompanying little goblins that move around the products I’m looking for in some kind of demonic three-card monte of retail.

The thing that really makes no sense (not even to me) is that I actually enjoy shopping. I’m just terrible at it. So terrible that I can’t even bring myself to blame it on it being some kind of “guy thing.”

The Labyrinth

I don’t do the food shopping in the family, but I do actually go to the grocery store often. Small surgical strikes for missed or needed items. We buy a lot of organic items that you just can’t stock up on unless you like eating really healthy masses of earth-toned mold. Too organic.

Baby Food Aisle Labyrinth
Dear Baby Food Aisle, you’re f##king kidding me, right? –Andy

When those automated doors slide open, my jaw must go slack and my eyes glazed over. Some kind of cloud of dumb descends upon me. Even if I’ve been to the store hundred times, I’ll zig and zag through aisles and displays as if it was my primary form of exercise. (Honestly it may just be). The stuff will just NOT be there! I swear it!!! And then, of course, it will be there. That’s the goblins at work. They put the stuff back so people think you’re insane when you try to explain about the goblins.

Variety Can Be a Bitter Spice of Life

I know some of what’s wrong with me when I go shopping is choosing. Just general obsession about getting the right thing, not to mention getting the right brand, size, package, flavor, color…ARG!!!

Not too long ago, Lizzie asked me to pick up some new undies and bras for her. Wait. Shop for lingerie for my wife? I admit it, I actually clicked my heels. When I got to the store, the mental meltdown set in immediately. I found a bra style I liked. For her (my man boobs aren’t bra-worthy yet). Anyways, I can remember turning the thing over in my hands pondering the size options. I knew I was facing three possible outcomes:

1) Too small. Possible effect: Lizzie thinking I like her in “rubber band” chic.

2) Correct size. Possible effect: Lizzie wondering who I am and what I’ve done with her husband.

3) Too large. Possible effect: Lizzie thinking I want her to get breast implants or that I figured she could carry Lucas in the cups along side her breasts.

It’s not because it’s lingerie. And it’s not that I’m actually worried about Lizzie’s reaction when I shop, or that she ever would make any big deal out of it. It’s that I DO. So, I put the bra down, just too unsure to make the purchase then. Plus, the store clerk was staring at me with a funny look as I stared off into space, fondling a bra.

Store Shopping Intelligence Scale
Another theory is that I lose most of my IQ and all of my perception of the passage of time when I go shopping. But I don’t really care for this one. I’ll go with the mythological type of theory, thanks.

Preventative Measures

Everyone in my family knows to get out a three hour movie or crack open War and Peace when I “head out to the store.” They’re all very… some would say pleading, but I’ll say “encouraging,” telling me not to take too long. I’ll head out with traditional written lists, long texted lists, list apps, writing on my hand, empty boxes for reference—none of it matters. Hah! These measures are no match for goblins and enchanted wormholes that bend the very fabric of reality I tell you!

Read more evidence of why we probably shouldn’t be allowed to be dads.

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21 Responses to “Brain Failure on Aisle 9!”

  1. Kimberly says:

    I’m a girl, but I still get like this when I shop! My husband is actually better at grocery shopping than I am. I tend to dawdle as I wander every single freaking aisle, making sure I don’t need anything I might have forgotten. He, on the other hand, can be in and out in record time, with everything we need and then a half dozen things I forgot to put on the list.

  2. Cheryl M. says:

    My husband does pretty good if he’s got a list, but will not be able to find something if he’s never purchased it before. I take longer, but then again, I’ve always got two kids in tow and I remember to buy real food. (for some reason, meat, fruits, and vegetables are a given to me, so they don’t usually make the list…which means he doesn’t purchase any!) I honestly think if he was the only person who did food shopping that we’d all be living off of frozen pizza, pancakes, cereal, and grilled cheeses for the rest of our lives.

    • andy says:

      Ha ha ha! Amazing! I’m pretty food nerdy so I don’t think it’d all be frozen food and grilled cheese, but I could easily see myself turning out to be wrong if it turned out I did have to do all of the food purchasing. Ha ha!

  3. Stephanie K. says:

    We have a similar set up to you guys: I do the main grocery shopping and Jon goes during the week for random needed items. He’s usually pretty fast unless it’s an item he’s never purchased before. If that’s the case than 9 times out of 10 I’ll receive a phone call from him saying “they’re out, or “is it in a red box?” (no, it’s in a blue bag). And asking an employee is never an option. So I end up navigating him over the phone to find the desired item 😛

    I do, however, take awhile at the grocery store myself, as I like browsing the aisles looking for new things to try out in the kitchen 🙂

  4. Robin says:

    Part of it really is that stores are designed to disorient shoppers, on the principle that a disoriented shopper is more likely to drop more cash than they had originally planned. Don’t feel bad, it’s not just you!

    • andy says:

      I know! But even though I know that milk and eggs and other items that are “most popular” food types get put in the back and items that are put on the ends of the aisle are a strategic maneuver, still…

      When I look at an aisle with products packed solid on the shelves, I think I’m seeing what people can’t read when they look at the page of a book. BUT I STILL LOVE SHOPPING!

  5. Josh J. says:

    I too am sent on the adventure for the quick, last minute items. This is usually a roller-coaster of emotions. Part of me is stressed out, because I know, as past events have taught me, there are one of two versions of my wife I may encounter that could be the result of 2 different situations – don’t worry she would be the first to admit to all of this. Situation #1 I am not exactly sure what I am looking for, so I figure I should call her. Her reaction “Why are you calling me? Ask someone that works there, that’s what they get paid for.” Situation #2 I am not exactly sure what I am looking for, so I ask someone that works there, after all, that’s what they get paid for. I buy my merchandise, head home, and upon returning home I get this response, “If you weren’t sure what to get, why didn’t you call me?” The opposite side of this for both situations is, “O don’t worry about it, I realized I didn’t need that ingredient” or “You took to long so I decided to make something else.” This leads to the other part of me not being stressed out. My wife and I are happily married with two kids and although I dearly love my family, at times it seems almost impossible to think a single thought…stressful. To cure stress some people read, some people go to the bars, some people hangout at their local coffeehouse and some people paint…most of these people don’t have kids… the list goes on. Being married and having kids doesn’t allow a whole lot of time for personal projects or outings. So I have adopted the hobby of wandering. With this hobby anything can be interesting – the color of fruit in the produce section, all the choices of BEEEERR (but remember that’s not why your wife sent you, so no purchasing…you’re on a budget) all the new entertaining cartoon characters on the cereal boxes, wait… did that say 2 bags of chips for $3, that’s a great deal… and again the list goes on. So I guess what I am saying is you can take it one of two ways. Focus on what may happen when returning home or take some “you” time and relax, take a look around…wander. – again, I love my family, kachow!

    • Irishtrash5 says:

      ……….0_o ^

    • andy says:

      I do experience the stress factor too from time to time. I love shopping, but I hate it when I’m under pressure. If I’m running out for something for a dinner that is cooking and almost ready to serve to guests, that’s the worst.

      Sometimes last minute holiday shopping is a nightmare for me. Nothing could be louder than each and every grain of sand tumbling through the hour glass on my countdown to epic FAIL.

  6. Karl says:

    Love it! I am very efficient when I go grocery shopping with my wife but when it comes to being somewhere that involves clothes my brain just turns off. I don’t get it. My daughter and I usually end up just playing hide and go seek in the clothes racks. Great article I am laughing! Oh and hopefully you can check out my blog too.

    Thanks guys!

    • andy says:

      I LOVE playing the racks with the boys. I’m terrible. I even rode around on one of the handicapped scooter carts with them when they were young. Don’t worry, I made sure there was another one in the store so some poor legless person wasn’t giving me dirty looks while we ran time trials around the swim section. 😉

  7. Kat says:

    I just cannot imagine the circumstances under which I would send any man out to purchase a bra for me. Lizzie…

    • andy says:

      Aw. C’mon! It’s amazing to shop for intimates for her. I’m actually really good at it, I just need a couple of days in the store to do it. Which of course means I’ve perfected the art of hiding myself in the store overnight. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

  8. Dwalin says:

    They do that on purpose (and reorganize regularly, too) for the customers to be lost, and so walk the entire shop instead of heading directly for the place where what they’re searching for is. Then we also are more vulnerable to marketing, and we buy more useless things.
    So I think the “IQ loss” theory is quite valid.

    • andy says:

      I know I’m out-voted. People are definitely thinking the IQ disruptor ray is the likelier candidate, but I’m still going with goblins and spells. In this grunge match between Sci-fi vs Fantasy, I’m cheering for Fantasy.

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