The Shopping Cart Rule

23 06 2010

Those of you who know me well know that I don’t particularly like to go shopping. Once there and resigned to the task I usually engage and become amenable, even participatory, but I don’t look forward to it.

The noticeable exception to this is grocery shopping. I love it, too much maybe. I don’t dawdle around the grocery store, but I do look at things and file info away for future meals. I prefer to grocery shop by myself, but I’m always willing to participate in mixed doubles grocery shopping as a variation on the game. I take a list, usually sticking to it with, perhaps, a few exceptions usually in the form of spontaneous additions. (impulse buying is part of my nature, and though I work on refraining, when that job becomes too difficult, I give in, in some small calculated way)

…the chase,Taylor

… but, I digress.(also part of my nature) What I’m talking about is shopping as entertainment, what I like to refer to as being “malled.” Shopping is advertised as an activity, a pass time, and lately I’m getting the impression that it is being offered as a way of life. Those of you who have followed my blog (and you both know who you are, so don’t deny it) know my feelings on consumerism. Any of you who haven’t read that bit of Taylor wisdom can check it out here, here and here. But malling is the deception that fuels consumerism, or at least one of them. The mall, and other places of deceit, pretend to offer a location for social interaction. The fact that you’re surrounded by items that are for sale is considered by the socialite (consumer) to be just a coincidence. They don’t really understand why they’ve been invited (brainwashed into going) to the mall, they think it’s because they are loved. Do I sound negative? Too bad.

I’d like to help

I’d like to be able to offer some suggestions to fight this insidious plan to increase the world’s  landfill and populate it with consumers, but I have very little to offer. For my part, I remain sceptical and suspicious while malling, I view “new and improved” with a critical eye. I look for the flaws in advertising and products and discount claims made. I parse claims of how wonderful or useful an item may be and reveal, at least to myself, the invalidity of each claim. I am proof against these evil warriors I call marketers. (I’m digressing again, aren’t I?)

The whole reason for this post was to tell you all about a trick I stumbled on. When entering a store, whether you’re there to pick up a packet of gum or toothpaste, or you’ve headed into the dark forest of full blown “malling”, the trick is … take a cart …

Huh? What the …

Yep, take a cart. Years ago I noticed that if I take a cart, I usually end up at the checkout with fewer than three items (two of which were usually on my list). If we head into a store and I don’t get a cart, thinking we’re just “looking around” I’ll end up with a minimum of ten things being grasped and clutched precariously in my arms and fingers.

It did take me quite a while to figure this out, but here is my theory: If you pick something up and carry it around, close to your body, at the end of your arm or hugged to your chest, you then feel like you’ve invested some energy into it’s acquisition long before you break out your wallet. On top of that, it’s virtually out of sight. You don’t look at it, you’re looking ahead at the next thing available to capture your attention. By contrast, items in your cart are part of the landscape in front of you. You consider them as you shop, often returning them. As your potential pile of purchases grows you become aware of the cost at the checkout, something that never crosses your mind when you are busy trying to successfully juggle twelve items in your arms. The sheer feeling of accomplishment when you triumphantly dump your items at the checkout is enough to make you ignore that sane little voice in your head that’s saying “Why do we need a hairdryer hook? A bathroom squeegee? A finger towel for the guest bathroom? A garlic peeler? A sock stretcher? Potpourri?” AAAAAAAAAAH!

So that’s my rule, take a cart, don’t be a hero and head in with your arms outstretched, you’ll thank me later. What? What did you say? What about those little shopping baskets? I don’t know! It’s taken me fifty years to come up with the Shopping Cart Rule, you figure out the damned baskets.




2 responses

24 06 2010

Great post, Kelly! I could actually relate to this experience. It’s true that I tend to examine the items in a cart while shopping. On the other hand, I also only like grocery shopping, detest all other kinds, so I’m not really at risk of being lumped in with your dreaded consumer-class of society any time soon. Now, if I win the lottery, that’s another story…what’s that? Oh, you have to BUY a ticket to win?! Forget it! I hate shopping, remember?! lol

24 06 2010

Who are you calling Kelly???

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