“What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” (When your husband does the shopping)

Every week, come Sunday evening, I sit down with the laptop and do the online shopping. It’s easier, cheaper and less stressful than dragging a toddler around a supermarket. I prefer to cook our meals from scratch and all three of us eat the same food. It works like clockwork. I shop only for what I need for the 5 or 6 days grub. Plus one day off for a cheeky takeaway. Perfect! I am a control freak, yes I know that. But me and my slow cooker are very happy together, we keep this family alive and thriving. So, there!

So, what happens when you are a bit bored, a bit poorly and wouldn’t mind a week off the usual pattern? You ask your husband to do it. My husband is unusual in that he adores food shopping. Give him an early Saturday morning, an iPod and a good supermarket and he’ll be gone for hours…..

But since we had our little girl, I’m at home full-time and he’s commuting into the city, it makes sense that this is one of my tasks. He has used the website once before and completely didn’t ‘get it’. He accidentally clicked on the buy-one-get-one-free offer section and essentially did our WHOLE shop from there. Everything he bought came with a twin. Like Noah’s Ark had shown up outside rather than the Tesco van. He was thrilled with all his ‘savings’. He was sacked from further shopping duties.

This time, I explained that I had a small list of must-haves. You know, deal-breakers, things that simply must arrive otherwise you will be in trouble. I also explained about buying full meals. All required ingredients. Not just random items here and there. Not just “oh I fancy this” and click ‘add to basket’. The toddler does not eat rubbish, nor anything prepared or ready-mealish, fatty, salty. You get the drift.

So, he disappears for 2 hours and I go to bed, relieved that I do not have to carry out this laborious task and armed with a hot cup of Tick Tock Redbush Tea (found under the drinks section, two page scrolls down).

He comes to bed. “It’s all done” he says proudly, “you can relax”.

So, the next day, 4pm comes around and I hear the familiar sound of the Tesco van trying to reverse park on the skinny streets of Leigh-on-Sea. “Meep, meep, meep” goes the van. I am anxious.

I open the door and the young man before me presents me with the shopping list. “A few things missing love, sorry”. “Gingerbread dough?” I ask. Like I have time to stand in the kitchen crafting little bodies out of flipping ready-to-roll dough, toddler screaming and hanging off me, her little snotty nose needing wiped. “I can live without that”, I say.

So, he wheels the cart up. And there it is, my husband’s shop.

And here are some of the bonanza items!

1) One small swordfish steak (There are 3 of us and the smallest one can’t eat swordfish as it contains mercury.

2) One tomato.

3) Dried saltfish fillets. (Last time I checked, I was from Edinburgh, not Jamaica).

4) A ready-made “Finest” pie at a whopping 640 calories per slice (perfect for our child who doesn’t eat processed food….aargh!).

5) A 5KG bag of rice. Picture it. My toddler weighs 10KG. Half a toddler-shaped bag of rice. And long grain rice at that. Anyone need any long grain rice? I’ve got some going cheap.

6) An oven glove (“I bought you a new oven glove, isn’t it nice?” I suspect you may have misspelled oven glove, dear husband, because the last time I checked it was spelled D-I-A-M-O-N-D-S).

7) Assorted Caribbean seasonings (He has been watching too much sodding West Indies cricket)

8) Two different types of butter spread. For those days when you want it spread on both sides of your toast, perhaps?

Anyway, can you see where I am going with this? Bless his cottons, he took my reaction badly. “I KNEW YOU’D COMPLAIN!” he exclaimed. But, hang on, it’s me who has to cook all this stuff, with my toddler-koala-limpet stuck to my leg. I ain’t got the time to be soaking Caribbean red beans for 24 hours, my friend! And as a final footnote to his effort, he wanted to keep it under a certain budget (something which I excel at) so therefore he left off some bits. You know, wacky things like vegetables. And the entire contents of fajitas.

So, next Sunday if you are wondering what I’ll be up to, I’ll be online, doing the shopping. I love my husband dearly, he’s a great guy, his career is really taking off, he’s travelling the world and providing a great life for our little family.

But as for his online shopping skills? He’s been discontinued.