We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. And yet, we’ve all shopped when we were hungry, and wound up with a cart full of cookies, chips, and SpaghettiOs. Recently, I learned of another shopping caveat: Don’t shop when you’re angry.
A friend of mine, Debbie, related a story about an argument that she and her husband had which led her to aberrant shopping behavior. In her husband’s defense, I have to say that he is the most laid-back person I’ve ever met. In Debbie’s defense, I must say that she is not laid-back at all. Here is her story, verbatim, or as close to verbatim as I can remember.
“You won’t believe what happened last night! Mark worked from home yesterday and I had the day off, so we were together all day. I told Mark that I was going to clean the refrigerator and then go food shopping. So, I cleaned out the fridge and took a nap. When I woke up, I got a phone call. While I was talking, I put some tuna in a cut-up tomato on a plate and surrounded it with crackers, and gave it to Mark. After I got off the phone, Mark flipped out. ‘How can you call this five-minute meal a dinner?’ he asked. I told him that I didn’t consider it anymore than a snack. Up to now, Friday dinners were always delivered by a local pizza place. The tuna in a tomato was just something to tide him over until I got us all something to eat.
I immediately headed out to the store, but I was angry. First of all, in over 30 years of marriage, my husband had raised his voice about five times, and this time was ridiculous. It’s not like I had starved him. I gave him something to eat, and it was probably a heck of a lot better than some of the meals that I had cooked.
In my anger, I bought everything. I resolved to cook wonderful dinners this week, or warm up really expensive frozen meals. And only the best would do. $22 ham? Check. $20 olive oil for salads? $20 frozen gourmet pasta meals? Check. Check. You get the idea. However, when I got to the register and my total was $246.21, which didn’t include any expensive paper products or cleaning supplies, I have to admit that I was surprised. But I didn’t care. I was still angry. Then my phone rang. It was my husband, apologizing for being a jerk. My heart melted. I told him that it was okay and that I understood that he was under a lot of stress and took it out on me.
After I hung up, I still had a $246.21 tab to pay, and I paid it. Thank God that I took my wrath out on food. We’ll eat it all eventually. I might have to borrow somebody’s freezer, though. At least I didn’t retaliate by buying shoes. They don’t hold up well in freezers.”