The Callused Consumer

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Whenever we have The Budget Talk, most comments of concern are directed towards me. I get it. I do spend most of the money. I consider myself pretty darn frugal on most accounts, but inevitably, some unforeseen cost creeps up and I end up going over. It’s not by much, but I’m working on it.

What my husband is starting to appreciate however, is the tremendous shopping callus I’ve built up over the years. Case in point:

When I go to Costco, I put blinders on. “Milk, eggs, diapers, wipes,” is my mantra. I don’t even allow myself to meander through the clothes, the books, or the appliances. I don’t even glance up to see the pontoon boats or water trampolines. I’m like a well trained clydesdale diligently hauling her load of “milk, eggs, diapers, wipes…” Don’t look right. Don’t look left. Just put one foot in front of the other…the check out line is in sight…almost there…

Paul, on the other hand, walks into Costco, what, maybe three or four times a year? He has no shopping callus. Plus, he thoroughly ignores my lectures in the parking lot about the blinders and the whole work horse metaphor and before I can say “three pack” I’ll find him wandering aimlessly around the electronic section, then the tool section, and finally the sporting goods section, muttering out loud to himself, “now that is a great deal on a pontoon boat!”

“Milk, eggs, diapers, wipes! Say it with me, honey! Milk, eggs, diapers….”

But the cart is already full. Clothes, Blue Ray DVDs and tools threaten to crush the eggs and any hopes of fitting a box of diapers in there. He’s like a fox in the chicken coop. He can’t believe all the deals before him!

“I know it all seems too good to be true, honey. But trust me. It will all add up at the checkout to a number you can’t even begin to fathom, and you’ll feel sick inside.”

“Speaking of sick inside, I can’t believe I’ve been paying full price for peanut M&Ms this whole time. Look at this 72oz bag!! A bargain!”

“But we don’t need 72 ounces! Don’t you see? Then we will eat all 72 ounces!” But it’s no use. Something about the unlimited supply of samples and the inebriating scent of the simmering polish dogs turns my husband from a no nonsense businessman into a heady consumer.

The only solution is to ring it up.

How much?!! It’s like a big bucket of ice water.

“I feel sick inside,” he moans.

“Come on, follow me. Costco has a phenomenal return policy.”

Unfortunately, the only way to build a healthy shopper’s callus is consistency. Speaking of, we’re low on milk.

And eggs. And diapers….oh, here we go again!

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