Yesterday I was in a bit of a funk.
I decided to try to get out and do something new, and since my neighbors were going to Costco, which I’d never been to (or maybe I had once but I couldn’t remember and it would have been at least 13 years ago), I invited myself to go with them. The change would do me good, I thought.
Here’s the thing about Costco which you probably already know if you shop there: it’s a rush, like taking a narcotic. I am sure that their data scientists have spent many computing hours munging through many terabytes of shopping behavior to perfect this effect [Update: an article has just appeared in the New York Times explaining this very thing].
For example, I’m on a budget, and I was planning to go for the sociological experience of it, not to buy anything. After all, I’ve already gotten my groceries for the week, and bought reasonable presents for the kids for Christmas. Nothing outrageous. So I was feeling pretty safe.
But then I got there, and I immediately came across things I didn’t know I needed until I saw them. The most ridiculous and startling version of this was my tupperware experience.
Tupperware is an essential tool in a house with three kids, because if you do the math you’ve got 15 school lunches to make per week. That’s not something you can scrounge up carelessly. So what you do is save plastic Chinese takeout containers and fill them up after dinners with things like pasta and chicken bits. Ready to go in the morning.
But when I came across the gorgeous 30-, no 42-, no 75-piece rainbow-colored tupperware kits that actually stack together beautifully, I instantaneously realized my hitherto scheme was laughably ridiculous and that I must own gorgeous tupperware right now.
This happened to me with a rainbow-colored knife set too, but I managed to hold myself back because, I argued, I already owned knives. I am not sure why that reasoning failed with the tupperware.
In fact I immediately filled up a cart with various (rainbow-colored) things I had no idea I needed until I got there ($50 for a cashmere sweater!?), and then I started wandering around the food area.
This is when my narcotic experience started to wear off. I think it was around the 6-pound block of mozzarella that I started to say to myself, wait, do I really want 6 pounds of mozzarella? I mean, it’s a great price, but won’t that take up half my fridge?
Then I started putting stuff back. It was amazingly easy to part with that stuff once the narcotic wore off. I was in deep withdrawal by the time we left the store. Paying in cash for the few items I did buy also helped.
- I totally get why people own lots of stuff they don’t need.
- I’m sure people can get addicted to that narcotic shopping rush.
- We should consider treating Costco as a dealer in controlled substances.
- I have ugly tupperware and that’s okay.