Despite 54 years of marriage, Jack Schindler and I do not like the same movies, television programs or books. We are also incompatible when it comes to shopping.
When I want to buy a pair of jeans, I try on several different styles and sizes and check every angle in a three-way mirror. I might pair it with a variety of tops to evaluate the look and consider the type of shoes that are appropriate for the length and cut of the pants.
I’ll sit and walk in every pair to see if they gap or pull. I might ask the sales clerk how the fabric launders and whether it retains its shape and color over time. In other words, I analyze a lot of data before making a selection.
Jack, is all ready, aim, fire. He strolls over to a rack, zeroes in on a 36W/32L and heads for the cash register. He’s been known to walk out of the store empty handed rather than talk to a sales person. And, God forbid, he should try anything on.
I think clothes shopping is a sport for which I happen to have particular athletic prowess. I’m waiting for it to be designated an Olympic event like Rhythmic Gymnastics.
Jack thinks clothes shopping is a painful ordeal. To minimize the agony, when he finds something he likes, he’s been known to buy several identical — or almost identical — items. (See inset.)
I used to think our differences were anthropological. Men become hunters, and women become gatherers the minute we enter Macy’s or Nordstrom’s.
At the grocery store, however, Jack and I reverse roles.
In preparation for his weekly shop, Jack checks the food ads in the newspaper and online. At the store, he compares prices and reads labels. He strolls the aisles, picking up items that weren’t on the list. He’ll even chit chat with the manager to request a product or brand that’s not on the shelves.
I’m the one who goes to Jewel for a dozen eggs and a pineapple and comes out with a dozen eggs and a pineapple. (Incidentally, I prefer Jewel to Mariano’s, which I find overwhelming. Too big. Too many selections.)
At this stage in life, Jack is not going to develop an interest in apparel, and I’m suddenly going to care about a sale on Ben & Jerry’s. Shopping is just one more thing we’re better off not doing together.
Are you and your partner compatible shoppers? What do you do when you have to buy something you both use like furniture or landscaping? Please comment here.