Covid Shopping

Quantitative research from 2019 (Source: Roy Morgan) says that the chore of shopping is divided between women (62%) and men (38%).

My focus has generally been qualitative research, someone who looks to fill the cracks in the data, and I think there is more to this 38% of males shopping than meets the eye. I think that many of the 38% (who in the survey may say they shop) often accompany their wives on the bigger shop for the week.

They are there (merely) in a support role they push the trolley, help load the car and carry the bags into the house. You would have seen them in the store they are often leaning over the trolley on their phones while their partner buzzes back and forth between the trolley and the shelves. The sous shopper may offer a couple of suggestions around their own meal preferences or the need for razors but are not the drivers of the decisions being made.

People who plan, shop and cook week in, week out for years know it is the thinking and the planning that is the hard part putting items into the trolley is merely the execution of the strategy.

As the main grocery buyer for my family of 5, I am responsible for the shopping and cooking with little involvement from other members of the family. Oh, there is the odd you pick this up on your way home or can you go and buy these 5-8 specific items for me (accompanied by a detailed list that leaves little room for error or phone calls) but for the main part, I am the shopper.

With the ripples from the global upheaval caused by Covid being felt in all corners of the world, no domestic domain is immune. We have seen our partners more than ever before, we have heard their work voice for hours on end and, in some cases, we may be seeing more of a sharing of the domestic load.

Over the last month, with the supermarket becoming a battleground and online shopping having no capacity for a family under the age of 70, I have noticed many more male shoppers in the supermarket, often looking bewildered sent out to be more than the trolley pusher.

Becoming tired of the alien place my local supermarket has become I was more than happy when my husband offered to do the shop for the week. He had our 16 year old with him.

He rang on his way home, shocked at the amount he had spent claiming the local supermarket was taking advantage of the current demand for groceries. $450, mmm that is a lot, a lot more than I would usually spend but meat is expensive at the moment and that shop is usually a little pricier, dont worry about it it will obviously last for the week. I dont think they are gouging.

At home, hauling in his shop (that he was still talking about it was starting to be a little boring by now) it became clear that shopping is a skill where practice improves outcomes. I dont talk about how expensive groceries are and I do the shopping 2-3 times a week, I said. It wasnt until I starting to assist in the unpacking that it became clear that he doesnt really know how to shop. A full head of celery (unlikely to get through that), Two 900g packs of premium hickory smoked bacon (twice the price of the brand I would usually buy), premium milk with extra cream, 750g sugary cereal, countless treats etc you get the picture.

That night I made one of those standard family meals rolled out on a weekly basis, instantly recognized by the family when referred to by idiosyncratic name in this case, marinated chicken – well loved but often greeted with an eye roll. Halfway through the meal he said are these the chicken thighs that I bought? Theyre delicious arent they?. Needless to say, like many others of my gender, I will be braving the shops from now on, the price we pay for outsourcing is too great.