Inexorable allure of (grocery) shopping!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 7:42 PM
As a woman trapped in a quagmire of no job or kids, you learn to find solace in the softer pursuits of life. Vanilla things like apartment decoration, shopping to expand your clothing (and shoes) wardrobe, being an extensive part of other people's lives and happiness... and of course, being in the supermarket. The allure of those grandly-lit, bright and inviting shelves stocked up with a huge variety of utilitarian products and produce. Every time you feel the urge to spend, but don't have enough cash to splurge on fashion, you enter - the supermarket!

For me, its a mid-way option between not shopping at all and spending excessively on fashion that will (as the name suggests), go out-of-fashion soon. Grocery shopping is the fence-sitter's vent to spending without feeling guilty (because the purchases will eventually be used around the house). It still allows you to swipe that credit card, without feeling like you just burnt an unnecessary hole in your husband's pocket.

In my household, grocery shopping is a task specifically reserved for me. Primarily because of two reasons - one, it lets me be in control of the products and brands that enter my house. And two, because it fulfils my basic need of shopping as a lady. Multiple trips to the supermarket to pick up one item at a time (like a $2 carton of milk) has kept me from spending hundreds of dollars on fashion. That would be a selfish buy to temporarily excite my inner-demon who always wants to look good.

America is a very consumer-centric market. If you have cash, the economy will give you at least 2000 ways to spend it, without even leaving your house (phone servicing, smartphone apps, Amazon, virtual online showrooms). Ever since I have arrived here, my mailbox (real AND digital) has been overflowing with discount offers from my favorite stores (Francesca's, Victoria's Secret, etc. - guess they found my address from my Cosmopolitan subscription). Sales seem to go on throughout the year and the allure to purchase is almost impossible to resist. Models wearing smashing pastels and sunglasses are thronging my vision through the spring catalogues and brochures that have already found a way inside my mailbox. Given all the incentive, I have to resort to grocery shopping to curb the natural instinct to buy.

In retrospect, my biggest fashion binges have centred around the years that I have spent working. If its my own money, I don't think twice before buying that LV bag that looks so crisp and professional. Problem starts when I am playing the role of a dependent. With a husband that barely even raises an eyebrow to my impulsive shopping, my inner moral instincts kick me harder each time I decide to please myself with shopping.

So all you women out there, if you have limited depth in your pocket (which would be most of us - considering you also worry about 'menial' things like savings and retirement) but an overriding impulse to purchase, try the magic formula of grocery shopping! It will keep you in the market, you still get to experience retail therapy by browsing the huge shelves and working to get to your item, you also still get to spend a few bucks and swipe that card - WITHOUT the flood of guilt at the end of it all. This arrangement works all too well to postpone that next big, expensive fashion buy. Until a sunnier day!


Nicely written. Light and breezy read. Although its not exactly true that grocery shopping binges are cheaper than fashion buys :P They are also not lighter (so many cartons from Patel :P) Duh, this American culture...hitting you from all sides to buy and buy...buy so much that the fridge overflows :D

Haha, but mostly you are wise shopper. That is something I have to concede. :)

Yashika says:

@the lazy knight: Thanks! Good you ended it with a diplomatic compliment :P Saved your skin by an inch :D Trying to curb the natural itch to spend * moving uncomfortably *

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