While the percentage of men who do the grocery shopping for their households has more than doubled in the last 25 years, from 14% to 31%, it seems men are still "terribly uncomfortable with the shopping experience." So, adding to this trend of Making Shopping More Fun For Cranky Males, Proctor and Gamble has been testing out "man aisles" in grocery stores. Aside from being a term that I want to say all the time because it sounds really cool and manly, man aisles are little slices of heaven where all things masculine are concentrated. And they even have wittle tiny TVs to help men find what they're looking for!
"The man aisle puts all men's products, including P&G competitors, in one place, with shelf displays and even small TV screens to guide men to the appropriate skin-care items. [P&G Spokesman Damon] Jones said the tests have gone well, with men spending more time in the aisles and, ultimately, more money."
How adorable! I mean, uh, fuckin' macho. (Do people still say "macho?") Not really though. It actually sounds more like men are being babied everywhere they go, from the womb to the grocery store. And like advertisers are too wise for their own good. They just know that offering subtle maternal guidance in the form of television screens to all the poor, defenseless dudes in the big, bad supermarket will surely lead to some heavy cash flow.
Not to try and force a serious note here, but that's both fascinating and deeply terrifying. Besides Proctor and Gamble's breakthrough invention of the man aisle, other brands have been forced to delve into the male psyche in order to also gain access to the male wallet. Brands, therefore, have been coming out with comically unnecessary goods — like the "MiO Liquid Enhancer," which is basically overpriced Crystal Light that takes itself way too seriously. But they can do that because, as Barry Calpino, Kraft's Vice President of Breakthrough Innovation (capitals mine — what a title!) said, "Guys, when it comes to shopping and cooking, they love to customize and add their own personal touch."
That's one way to put it. But I think that's just a nice way of saying "more easily tricked into buying useless crap." Which is pretty insulting and patronizing. So men, heed my warning: do not fall for the alluring scent of Old Spice wafting down the man aisle. Buy what you came to the supermarket for, and escape before it's too late!