Groceries are too complicated for men

I’m a full-time web and graph­ic design­er work­ing out of my home right now, so I’m privy to a lot more of the dai­ly house­hold goings-on than I used to be.

In Rose Creek Vil­lage the nor­mal liv­ing sit­u­a­tion is 2–3 fam­i­lies to a home, and ours is no dif­fer­ent. We have 6 adults and 8 kids in our house­hold. As you can imag­ine, this can make nor­mal house­hold hap­pen­ings col­or­ful and inter­est­ing, and can ease the load, and com­pli­cate, a home mak­er’s every day tasks.

One of the week­ly jobs the ladies divvy up and work togeth­er on is gro­cery shop­ping. When you’re get­ting food for a house­hold of this many peo­ple, the amount of food you need week­ly is phe­nom­e­nal. For­tu­nate­ly the sur­round­ing gro­cery stores are all used to being over­run by vil­lage ladies on Thurs­days or Fri­days shop­ping for small armies by now after expe­ri­enc­ing it for the last decade or so, but I imag­ine that if our house­hold were to go shop at an unfa­mil­iar store, they’d be like, “Ah, fam­i­ly reunion, right? No? Oh, ok, just stock­ing up, then? You do know that Y2K passed and noth­ing hap­pened, right…?”

This week there was appar­ent­ly a dis­crep­an­cy in the gro­cery funds, due to us hav­ing to jug­gle some por­tions com­ing out of cash, some on cards, etc. Ari and Alaina asked me for help to fig­ure the sit­u­a­tion out.

Sure,” I said, and they launched into the expla­na­tion of the sit­u­a­tion. We had cov­ered gro­cery mon­ey for one of the oth­er ladies, that need­ed to be paid back next week, and there were a cou­ple of inter­est­ing twists in the sce­nario which made it seem more than a 1+2=3 type problem.

Did you know that men and women think differently?

They do, just in case you didn’t.

After the ini­tial expla­na­tion, I thought, “Ok, I’ve got this, this is easy.” And pro­ceed­ed to explain the answer.

Huh?” They were con­fused. We dis­cussed it, with me try­ing to explain in a dif­fer­ent way.


It quick­ly became appar­ent that I was the one who was con­fused about what was going on.

So Alaina explained the sit­u­a­tion to me again.

Oh, ok,” I said. “I see what the prob­lem is. All you’ve got­ta do is…” and out­lined the revised ver­sion of my answer.

Huh? No, that’s not right!”

They explained again. And again.

I just gave up, and let them dick­er it out. I was­n’t annoyed, I was just find­ing it real­ly humor­ous at this point. I kept on with the task I had been work­ing on, and enjoyed the rucus.

Final­ly, Ari and Lain got it all worked out, and I could tell they were sat­is­fied with their solution.

Ok, now we just need to tell Jerusha.”

Whew I thought.

Right about then, Jerusha walked into the room.

I’ve got it all fig­ured out!” She announced, and launched into an expla­na­tion that was a lot dif­fer­ent then the one the oth­er two ladies had labored over.

I bust­ed out laughing.

Ari and Alaina groaned. Then they all start­ed over.

It’s fun­ny, but the most com­mon­ly used phrase in the con­ver­sa­tion was, “No, no, it’s easy! Listen…”

Cor­po­rate life is won­der­ful. Really.


  1. It’s all about the spread­sheets, man. 

    When we lived with the Mooneys, I built a spread­sheet that cal­cu­lat­ed each fam­i­ly or sin­gle’s con­tri­bu­tion mar­gin to the total expense of the house each month. Mooneys did 60%, we did 40% for gro­ceries, 50/50 for util­i­ties, rent, sin­gles paid a flat fee. We marked all the receipts as to who paid what, and then what they would of paid to meet the month­ly total fair­ly. I think I was the only one who under­stood it. It all got rec­on­ciled at the end of the month. 

    Though look­ing back, I kind of pre­fer not doing all the heavy cost account­ing on it, from a gen­eros­i­ty stance — i.e. I can pick up an extra $200 gro­cery bill this month and there’s noth­ing expect­ed in return. And when peo­ple lose jobs, you pick up our por­tion of the rent for X months, with noth­ing expect­ed in return.

    As with any­thing, it can make one per­son feel over-bur­dened or like they aren’t con­tribut­ing enough. Kind of how free­dom works.

  2. Eric, seems to be a com­mon thing here in the vil­lage to just pay a cer­tain amount per per­son in each fam­i­ly, though the amount varies depend­ing on the house­hold, how many total peo­ple are there, size of said peo­ple, etc. 🙂 So then we’ll have a set amount of gro­cery mon­ey per week to work with, and they’ll make a menu for the week based on that.

    I’ve watched them do this for a long time now. It still gives me a headache, but also a lot of gen­uine admi­ra­tion for the women. Their job ain’t easy, and they’re gift­ed to car­ry it somehow.

    There’s prob­a­bly bet­ter ways of doing it than ours, but I do like that it requires a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion’s good.

  3. Haha­ha… I used to shop for the sin­gle guys, so I know a lit­tle how it feels. Ad-match destroys brain­cells sometimes.

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