I’m the Purchasing Agent, Not the Maid

by Ivory Soap

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When I started homeschooling (or gardening, or writing, or keeping livestock), it felt like something “unnecessary” that took away from my “real job” of laundry, cleaning, and cooking.  All those “extras” were fine, but if Mr. Ivory had to run a load of clothes to get underpants for tomorrow and make a sandwich for dinner…I had totally failed as a wife.

WHAT?  It seems to me that in the last few decades, since we stopped having servants, housewife has become synonymous with cook/maid.

The other day, I read this lovely e-book (circa 1921) who called us purchasing agents. “90% of the household income goes through the her hands”

What if I could afford to hire a full-time maid and cook?  Would I then be worthless to the household economy?  Not according to this book!

Bottom line:  Doesn’t matter how much money comes in, if your purchasing agents sucks, you’re still gonna be in the red.

The following is the definition of  “PURCHASING AGENT” from careerplanner.com:

Coordinates activities involved with procuring goods and services, such as raw materials, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, and advertising, for establishment: Reviews requisitions.

Confers with vendors to obtain product or service information, such as price, availability, and delivery schedule. Selects products for purchase by testing, observing, or examining items. Estimates values according to knowledge of market price. Determines method of procurement, such as direct purchase or bid. Prepares purchase orders or bid requests. Reviews bid proposals and negotiates contracts within budgetary limitations and scope of authority. Maintains manual or computerized procurement records, such as items or services purchased, costs, delivery, product quality or performance, and inventories. Discusses defective or unacceptable goods or services with inspection or quality control personnel, users, vendors, and others to determine source of trouble and take corrective action. May approve invoices for payment. May expedite delivery of goods to users.

Yep, that’s me!


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann GH May 14, 2010 at 6:23 am

Love this!

Stefani M. May 14, 2010 at 7:08 am

Oh, awesome!

Maria May 14, 2010 at 7:09 am

That’s me, too!

Tammy May 14, 2010 at 2:57 pm

This is me, too! And who said being a homemaker was easy? Look at that definition and you see just a small percentage of what we do. 😉

Adica May 14, 2010 at 4:04 pm

That’s a good way of putting it. I read this article once about the various jobs a housewife does, and how if she were paid for them like in a regular job (e.g, laundress, driver, cook, maid, assistant, psychologist, mediator, teacher, day care worker/nanny, etc), she’d be making something over $100,000/year. Another article that actually surveyed housewives on the amount of time they spent doing each job per week said something like £30,000 a year, which is about $43,600, but that was based on average British wages.

alice May 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Over time women frequently have had lower status, but we have often had a lot of power. I really notice this when I read about medieval households, because the whole household servants and all were under threat of starvation if the household was not well managed — regardless of cash income.

Lacy from Montana May 15, 2010 at 11:04 am

Oh, I couldn’t agree more. At my house we have domestic help, her name is Lupe. Well, guess what, I’m Lupe. Even my six-year-old daughter refers to me as Lupe from time to time. Oh well. I’m a good Lupe.

Handful May 16, 2010 at 11:23 am

Great perspective, Ivory!

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