Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Men Are From The Acme...Women Are From Shoprite

I came to the rather disheartening conclusion that the more things change the more they stay the same, after reading about a study on Men in Grocery Stores. It's kind of pathetic that the results sound as if they could have been from the 1950's as much as the year 2007. The study found:

  • Men don't like to ask for directions in a store.

Well, what a surprise! NOT!

Some believe that this entire ask-for-directions/don't-ask-for-directions thing is an actual function of men and women's brain chemistry. I choose to go with that theory as my husband is literally driving us miles and miles out of our way, rather than ask for directions. I am blessed, though, to have a partner with an extraordinarily strong sense of direction. Occasionally, he will ask me which way to go. Then he goes the opposite way, which, for the most part, works quite well. (I actually have to hold maps upside down and sideways to use them.)

This is all just to say that I have no problems asking where something is in a grocery store. As a matter of fact, as Deborah Tannen wrote about in "You Just Don't Understand", I look upon such an exchange as an opportunity to reach out and establish a connection with another person. A man looks at it as an admission of weakness and giving someone else the upper hand.

  • A man would rather go to a lousy store with a convenient layout than a nicer one that's confusing.
Apparently, men have no patience with taking a moment to get the lay of the land. They need to see everything instantly and get right there. Of course, as experienced shoppers know, that goes against every grocery store credo. The more space you have to go through to get where you have to go, the more opportunity there is for you to buy more of what you don't need or want.

Now if that's not sadly stereotypical, I don't know what is.

  • A man will tell his wife the store was out of an item, rather than admit he couldn't find it.

How funny is that? Why do I think if it were a product a man really needed or wanted, he'd have no problem searching for it?

That's not to say that there aren't plenty of men who perform admirably in the supermarket - I even know one or two myself. But they would do well to bring a few things with them as they go down the aisles: their patience, a really good map of the store and a cellphone with a strong signal, so they can call their better halves when they really get stuck.

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