What's Your Shopping Style? Is It Wrecking Your Relationship?

Ed and I are not entirely compatible shoppers.

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:30pm | Leave a comment

I am not a browser. I generally like to know what I'm at any given store for -- and then I like to get in and get out, with just the items I came for.

Ed, on the other hand, likes to wander. He likes to hang out and look at flashlights (we will never be in the dark and it is 100 percent thanks to Ed) and then get distracted by, like, socket sets or whatever else a store sells.

Usually we manage a compromise. We go to stores we both like (especially for groceries), and sometimes he'll rush through it with me and sometimes I will just find a place to sit and chill and read on my phone while he looks for all the endless ages at Magic: The Gathering cards. That's how compromises work. And I thought we had a pretty good system going.

Remember how I said the only thing Ed and I ever fight over is what to have for dinner? Well, now we've discovered a new fight! Or at least a new way for both of us to be miserable at how a situation is unfolding while we're in each other's company.

This weekend, Ed and I decided to build a bottle jack press. I say "Ed and I" -- Ed would probably tell you that I decided to build a bottle jack press and then he came along for the ride. Either way, a trip to Home Depot was in order. And I was depending on his mechanical talents to make this build a success.

On a good day, I like Home Depot. It smells comfortingly of lumber and there's always an old man who reminds me of my grandfather. I also love the sheer potential to be found on every aisle. I'm not a plumber but I have bought so many plumbing supplies to be repurposed in a ton of projects. Even so, with a project in progress (once we start buying parts, it's in progress), I figured it should be a fairly straightforward trip.

There was a delicious scent on the breeze when we walked up -- so we totally jumped on the sausage dog stand and had lunch first. It was a wise decision. I was feeling uneasy because I had pulled up the plans we were working to and Ed had kind of blown them off. I suggested again that we compile a parts list while we ate.

image

This little picnic lunch saved my life.

Ed finished his chips and starting listing off the things we'd need, and I was soothed. It sounded like a pretty straightforward list. I was lulled into believing this was going to be easy.

Oh, how very wrong I was.

Because Ed didn't really make a parts list so much as (he later told me) he assumed the project was a little more simple than it was. And because he's a browser, figuring out we needed four more angle brackets than we picked up was no big deal to him -- he figured we'd just circle back around to that section on the complete other side of the store.

By the time we'd been in Home Depot for an hour and a half, I was ready to die. We'd gone from one corner of the store to the other repeatedly. We were having trouble finding someone to answer a question about angle iron. That's when he realized we were going to need more angle brackets and when I had to tell him I was in actual hell. He hadn't noticed, before -- he was kind of enjoying himself.

We split up to get some questions answered, but it was still another hour before we got out of there -- and we were both unhappy at that point. We had one more errand to run (he needed a special glue for miniatures at the local nerd store), so I waited in the car and drank a bottle of water and did a lot of yoga breathing. The 15 minutes apart (and not being in Home Depot anymore) gave both of us a chance to reset a little bit.

On the drive home, we talked about what had gone wrong -- because of our different shopping styles, we were having two very different experiences. And since we generally do our own shopping for big projects, we hadn't run into quite this situation before.

image

Ed -- browser extraordinaire.

I know he's one to browse, so I should have probably been more insistent about the parts list. I didn't want to step on his toes, because he's the one who is really good at putting things together. But I'm the efficient shopper. Ed says he should have taken me more seriously when I asked him to compile a parts list -- and that is true, too. We were both focused on the project, and so we didn't think about how different we are when it comes to shopping.

Sometimes it happens. And we recovered our equilibrium pretty quickly, once we had a chance to talk about why things had gone sour. And next time, we've decided together, we'll do a better job of communicating about this.

What about you? What's your shopping style? Has it ever caused a fight between you and the person you're shopping with?

Posted in Relationships