From the Blog

Battle Of Impulse Purchases: Virtuous Yet Annoying Edition

When I go to the grocery store, I make a list of what we need. It has happened too many times where I go to the store for one specific thing, and I get all kinds of other crap, and forget my original item. I swear, someone could write an unfunny sitcom about me and the grocery store.

So I write lists to 1. Not forget what I need, and 2. To keep me from buying shit I don’t need. Number one works great. Number two, not so much. I always buy more than what is on my list. And no matter how impervious I think I am to marketers’ gimmicks, I still fall for them once in a while.

I had a list of about $50 worth of groceries. We are trying to live within a $75 a week limit. It hasn’t been outrageously strenuous yet, but it has made us more conscientious about the purchases we make. But alas, sometimes I space out.

I entered the grocery store and saw that they had huge piles of honey crisp apples right up front. They had them displayed in giant paper bags, which would have been so easy to just grab and put it my cart. They were $2.49 a pound. It’s been about a year since I last bought apples, so I didn’t recall if that was a good price or not. But I got caught up in the idea that it was apple season and honey crisp has been my favorite since moving to Oregon. Apples were not on my list. I got three.

Then through the produce section, they had bundles of little skinny asparagus. I like asparagus and I wouldn’t expect to see it this time of year. Asparagus was not on my list, but I picked up a bundle.

I did the rest of my shopping and got decidedly more than what was on my $50 list. But I was stocking up. I saw stuff on sale. I felt pretty okay about it.

I got through checkout and it was $134! What the hell?? I knew I didn’t spend that much. Sure enough, I looked at my receipt and I was charged over $24 twice for something called “sea beans.” I didn’t know what the hell sea beans were, and I certainly didn’t buy $50 worth of them. For that much money, they better taste like french fries.

The checker has accidentally rang up my apples with the wrong sku number. Then when she tried to credit the item back, she charged me again. Customer service took the charge off and gave me $50 back. So great. But I still spent $84 with my $50 list. I looked later and the apples were $6.61 (for three!) and the asparagus was over $5.

So okay, I’m torn. My impulse purchases weren’t candy bars, Jack Daniels and porn. They were fruits and vegetables. I feel like those are virtuous items to spend money on. We got three nice meals with the asparagus. The apples went into our morning oatmeal. And one of the apples was a snack on the side of a mountain and I daresay it was the best fricken apple I’ve ever had.

But we’re trying to stick to a goddamned budget. We can’t spend willy nilly, even on stuff that is “good for us.” I know there is a happy medium in there somewhere.

I can tell you one thing, though. I’m not adding goddamned sea beans to our diet.

Comments

  1. Those damn honeycrisps get me every time. I’m like, “Crap, $2.49 a pound is a lot, oh, heck, I’ll only get one!” and then the one I pick is almost a pound and a half.

    One of those things I always said looked like a good idea but seemed too much work was a grocery price book, but as I’m eating a lot more seasonally now (and a lot more fruits and veggies), I’m thinking it might keep me from spending $10 on tomatoes in January and then remembering that I don’t like flavorless hothouse tomatoes so it might be worth it.

    • I know! They’re so good! And they are the size of a pumpkin! And they are always more expensive than all the other crappy apples! Bastards!

  2. This is brilliant. I had to send this one over to my wife because she is the absolute BEST at buying random things at the grocer’s. I love to complain about it, but I secretly LOVE it … it makes her so happy, and I just read magazines while she takes her time wandering around! = )

    Also, I’m going to have to ask her what in the world a sea bean even is …

    Thanks!
    -M
    ps. “Candy bars, Jack Daniels and porn …” I think there’s a country tune in that!

  3. Maybe you need to start foraging your food. You can start with the sea beans that grow along the coast and cost a nuthin’ when you pick ’em yourself :) Or you can pick them and sell them outside the grocery store.

  4. Everything tastes better on the side of a mountain.

  5. As for those fekking sea beans….I think they are these.

    But they could also be these.

    I think the second ones are more something Charlie Brown would find in his pillowcase though at Halloween.

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