Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Any fan of Star Trek or American pop culture has heard the phrase “Resistance is futile.” It was popularized on the TV show Star Trek when the Borg (human-machine hybrids) were about to assimilate (i.e., suck in, take over, and destroy) a new race of beings.
This phrase popped into my mind yesterday when I was perusing the sales flier for the big box discount store Costco.
Costco and its competitor Sam’s sell items in bulk – big bulk – in a warehouse setting and at discounted prices, often significantly discounted. Not only can you buy food in bulk, more than half the store is dedicated to non-disposable items such as kitchen appliances, electronics, mattresses, furniture, office supplies, and a huge variety of “storage solutions.” (Clever of them!)
It is not possible to keep / achieve a decluttered house without resisting the temptation to purchase more. Everything that you bring into the house indiscriminately is what later turns into stuff that needs to be decluttered.
Let’s walk through the sales flier together, and I’ll tell you what I’m thinking as we go along:
- First page, TVs and electronics – “Don’t need any of these, keep going.”
- Norton Anti-Virus, limit 10. “I wonder who would buy ten? Why buy the software at all? You can pay for it on your computer and download it directly, no software, box etc. needed.”
- 4 pounds of jelly beans and 48 Pop Tarts. “No one needs that many Pop Tarts or jelly beans. No one.”
- Izze sparkling juice, Kashi Go Lean cereal, Splenda. “Still have plenty of all of those. They’ll be on sale again. No need to buy today.”
- Bottled water with and without vitamins. “Probably the number one source of plastic waste after plastic bags. Why do people buy it?”
- Sonicare toothbrush. “I bought one of these for Audra for Christmas, because she’s such a tooth brushing fanatic. Wish I’d realized that the replacement heads are almost $10 each, though. What a rip off!”
- Vitamins. “Have what I need right now. They’re always on sale.”
- Various medications. “Don’t need, don’t need, don’t need.”
- Charmin toilet paper. “Don’t need any right now. I hope they get the recycled kind back in stock.”
- Paper towels. “I hardly ever use these, and only buy one roll at a time. I certainly don’t need a dozen.”
- Ziploc baggies. “I definitely don’t need these! Still have some that I purchased 2 years ago. I wish I’d known how long it would take me to use them.” (I try not to use baggies, and when I do, I always wash and reuse until they fall apart or until I put meat in them.)
- Venus razors. “Clara uses a Venus, but she just needs replacement blades. This has three handles, too. What in the world?”
- Quicken. “Same with Norton Anti-Virus. Most software can be downloaded.”
- Beds, furniture, giant playset. “No, no, no.”
So I’ve done it. I’ve looked through the sale flier of one of the stores that I frequent most often and found nothing new, special, or discounted that I cannot live without, at least until my current supply runs down.
How do I approach shopping in the store?
I start with a list. We keep a running list of things that are finished / running low on the refrigerator. Everyone in the family knows to add to this list. Things that are purchased at Costco are marked with a big C.
When I enter Costco,
- I walk past all the electronics, furniture, appliances, etc. that line the left side of the store and head directly to the back where the refrigerated cases, bread, and liquor is. I pick up what is on my list, usually bread, Parmesan cheese, beer, and hummus.
- I often buy apples (although the plastic boxes that the apples are packaged in bother me greatly) and a sack of oranges. It doesn’t matter that other fruit or vegetables are so cheap that a box here is the same cost as 2 or 3 pieces at the regular grocery; I only need 2 or 3 pieces, and the rest would be wasted.
- I swing to the back of the store if I need toilet paper, dog food, cat food, or outdoor bird seed.
- Then I hit the freezer cases (again, only buying what it on my list), and quickly make my way through the grocery area, avoiding any aisle that doesn’t contain items that are on my list.
- Occasionally I make a pass through the pharmacy section.
- Last I hit the snack area and pick up a few things there. Then I check out.
You’ll notice that I skipped the entire middle section of the store, where all the books, DVDs, seasonal items, clothes, and linens are stocked. Those are not on my list; I do not need to venture in there.
How do I deal with the ladies passing out yummy samples? I hardly ever refuse them, but I don’t buy the item on impulse. It wasn’t on my list; it will be there next time; waiting keeps me from bringing home two dozen servings of something that no one may want to eat after trying the first one or two.
- No shopping for non-consumables that aren’t my list. No looking even.
- Buy only what is on the list.
- Remember that even if I like a product, I may not like a 4 pound package of it.
- Don’t shop in aisles that don’t contain goods on the list.
- Don’t wander. In any store, the more you wander, the more likely you are to buy what you didn’t intend to purchase.
- No impulse purchases from samples.
Resistance is NOT futile, and if you do it right, you feel like an efficient and smart shopper, not like someone who is about to be assimilated by the Borg of consumerism.
Today’s Mini Mission
CDs and DVDs are another thing that we can tire of over time. Flick through your music and movie collections and decide whether they are all loved enough to keep. Sell or donate the excess.
Eco Tip for the Day
Save petrol by making do with what is in the fridge and cupboard rather than taking an unnecessary trip to the store.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow