I HAVE been shopping.
I should have taken the trailer. It’s ridiculous, the amount you can fit in a shopping bag. Even those green, environmentally friendly ones.
I had a list, of course. My wife didn’t trust me to remember everything so she wrote it down.
I, on the other hand, don’t trust her to write it down sensibly.
I mean, 500 grams of carrots? Why would anyone buy 500 grams of carrots? They wouldn’t last five minutes, even if you ate one at every meal.
So I bought a couple of kilos.
Same with the potatoes. Except that no one — not even my wife — would be parsimonious enough to buy potatoes by the 500 gram. She wrote down two kilos. But that’s absurd. Potatoes are a staple food; they’re the foundation on which most meals are made. Buying two kilos is like buying five loaves and three fishes to feed the multitude – with no prospect of Christ turning up to help you out.
I bought five kilos. It made more sense, really. I nearly made it ten, but I’m not sure they had that many in the shop, and anyway, one mustn’t be extravagant.
It was the same in the butcher’s shop.
Six slices of bacon? Six slices of bacon! What kind of nonsense is that! One meal and they’re gone! And the butcher might have mistaken me for a charity case and thrown in a sheep’s brain or something disgusting.
And besides, the little label said $9.99 a kilo. And “Special”; so it was obviously a bargain. So I crossed out six and wrote in 40. Then I told the butcher to round it up to the nearest kilo.
And before you say anything, even I know that two people can’t eat 40 slices of bacon in one week. But bacon keeps; and we get visitors sometimes.
The butcher was grinning all the time I was there.
“You enjoy your job,” I said.
“I do when the fellers do the shopping,” he said.
Now I must say I was pretty pleased with my efforts. Traditionally, blokes are supposed to detest shopping. Not me. I look upon it as a chance to show my wife that men, too, can be pretty smart when it comes to domestic matters.
“HOW MANY?!” she screamed.
And it was all downhill from there.
I don’t get it. My wife can spend half an hour struggling with the prospect of buying an extra tomato, and five seconds signing a cheque for a new fridge. She doesn’t even break into a sweat.
Even the decision to buy our house took less than five minutes.
And she calls them investments. The house, the fridge, the clothes, the jollop she spreads on her body… they’re investments.
Five kilos of spuds is an extravagance. A jar of jam takes 15 minutes while we check the sugar content, the fruit content, whether it’s organic and if there’s anything cheaper round the corner at the other supermarket. It would be quicker and cheaper to make it.
She can buy a $1500 wooden cabinet because it’s a bargain, but bacon at $9.99 a kilo must be dodgy.
I, on the other hand, get the shakes with any amount that has more than three figures in it (unless two of them are on the right-hand side of the decimal point) but — quite sensibly — find it easy to spend six dollars on carrots.
Especially as I’m going to eat them. I am not going to keep them for a few months, nor even a few years, and then give them to an op‑shop.
“How can I leave trust you to do the shopping if you come back with 43 rashers of bacon?” she sighs, sinking into a chair with her head in her hands.
She can’t, of course. She’ll have to do it herself. Oh dear…