During recent shop-alongs, I encountered a 30-something IT engineer who was buying cat treats for his live-in girlfriend’s cat.

IT Guy didn’t feed the cat. Cat treats weren’t on the list. He bought them because he knows his girlfriend loves the cat, and this was an expression of his love for his girlfriend.

Later that day, a female shopper was buying treats for her cat that brings home dead mice. In appreciation, the woman was buying cat treats to return the cat’s obvious love for her. As an aside, this same woman complained to me that her husband always brought home the wrong size and brand of spaghetti sauce, even when he had a shopping list. If she had to choose between the husband and the cat, she told me, she’d choose the cat.

This got me thinking about how men and women treat each other, and how we as advertisers and marketers portray them.

When men go food shopping, bringing home the goods are expressions of love — just like the kill the caveman brought home to his woman 25,000 years ago. Did cavewomen complain when the men brought home lion instead of squirrel?

Men are impulse buyers. They don’t shop from a list. They don’t use coupons. They spend more.

Knowing that men shop to bring home love to their women, should we change the way we advertise? Should we as marketers encourage women to appreciate what men bring home? That could lead to him doing more of the food shopping and higher basket rings across America.

Consider the possibilities.