a stock or store of money or valued objects, typically one that is secret or carefully guarded
an ancient store of coins or other valuable artifacts
an amassed store of useful information, retained for future use
I attended the annual Good Food and Wine Show in Sydney yesterday. I went there with a grocery trolley, you know, one of those ones that you often see senior citizens pulling along the streets, typically with a tartan pattern. You may laugh but I actually asked for one of those for Christmas nearly a decade ago (when I was still in my 20s – gasp!) but it sure came in handy at the Show as I started piling in bargain purchases while others less fortunate struggled to carry their bags over shoulders, on arms and in hands!
So this was my third time going to the Show. The first time, in 2008, I was a novice. I went to the Show armed with nothing but some money, ready to meet my cooking hero, Gordon Ramsay. I bought 2 of his cookbooks at the Show and lined up for hours to get his autograph. I remember looking at women pulling their trolleys around that day, bumping into everyone and wondering what on earth they needed these ram-raiders for. Then as I spent my 3rd hour being dragged down by the loads on my shoulders, I began to look at those women enviously and at their trolleys covetously. So for the past two visits to the Show, I smartened up and brought MY own trolley and almost felt like smirking at others who were not as prepared.
Now, if you have stopped laughing, you may have started wondering what on earth we would be buying so much that we would require a BYO shopping trolley. If you have never been to one of these shows before, it is basically a giant exhibition hall filled with food and wine sellers hocking their wares, mostly at a discounted price. Some offer “showbags” filled with their products at such ridiculously low prices that you find yourself buying them even if you only want 2 or 3 items out of the 10 inside the showbag.
Whereas last year I was buying everything in sight (and finding that I still had some unopened packages in my pantry last week!), this year I decided to be more sensible and only buy things that I would ACTUALLY use. As I proudly announced to my Show companions that the size of my trolley was “just right” (ie I was not carrying additional bags beyond the trolley I already had), it was another reminder just how often we buy things we do not need.
There is no greater example of impulse purchase than when you are on vacation: You go to Disneyland and come home with mouse ears; Buckingham Palace and come home with a Princess Diana/Prince Charles wedding commemorative coffee mug (yes, they do still sell those!); go to Japan and suddenly you come home with Hello Kitty EVERYTHING!
We have all watched on TV or read articles/books on hoarding and the effects this condition could have on the individuals (and their families) involved. Since most of us are not storing any ancient or valuable artifacts, one wonders why we do it even when we know it is bad for us. Here are some possible reasons:
- shopping as a substitute for lack of satisfaction in other areas of our lives
- the need to show off our material things to others
- making up for what we could not afford in the past
- the fear of “missing out”
- to avoid regretting later on that you did not buy that particular item, especially if it was on sale!
- etc, etc.
I’m sure we each have our own versions of why we impulse buy. For me, it is simple…it is hereditary. I got it from my father, and I believe he must have got it from his. We buy storage containers to store storage containers and then we buy homes with lock-up garages to store those storage containers while we park our cars out on the street. You get the drift.
So if you are one of these unfortunate souls who just cannot help yourself when you see a “Sale” sign in the store window, my best advice to you is RUN!