In light of something that went across the good folks at Sporked today I had a think about that lesser known dangerous food shopping condition: Chaos Shopping.
Chaos Shopping is not shopping hungry. Shopping hungry is well known and an established terrible idea. You end up with all sorts of things you’re convinced you want right that second but then really aren’t into or had convinced yourself to stop eating in the first place.
Chaos Shopping on the other hand is what happens when you mean to go shopping with a list and then forget that list, but are already at the store so you might as well give it a go.
After all – how bad could this turn out?
When your brain enters Chaos Shopping mode it is akin to a small child who has access to your whole food history, justifying some serious Lego-like choices. The problem is you know you need stuff, you dimly remember what most of it is, but you can’t be sure.
Did you need more corn? Wait, were you out of bread or had enough bread so you made sure to not write it down? Can you picture, oh you almost can, the amount of ice cream in that tub in the back of the freezer… oh so close.
So instead you find yourself forced to make a lot of hopefully logical guesses, and often end up buying building bricks for meals you have no real intention of eating – though you will, because you bought them.
Can’t remember if you needed ground beef, or if there was some in the freezer? Well, you don’t want to buy more and upset the balance of frozen to fresh and then waste some. So instead, your brain spits out for no good reason – you should buy a good salami, and a block of sharp cheddar. The reasoning? Well, if you have ground beef and don’t need it, you’ll have this other quick snack-like combo to use in a different way. If you did need ground beef, somehow this will do as a substitution.
Except it won’t. You’ll then feel the need to use that somehow. The entire time you’ll wonder why you even got it in the first place.
Oh, were you unsure if you needed crackers? Better get a giant-size box in case. Not sure if you needed some dessert options? Well, a cake can’t steer you wrong. Did you need more ice cream? No, you’re fine. Except you weren’t and now you’ll feel that lack.
Chaos Shopping ends up with a cart full of strange choices – none of them bad per say – but all of them slightly off from your normal beaten path. You both under-and-overcompensate for the missing list.
You’re trapped in a grocery cycle of your own making. One full of far too many green beans to possibly use before they go bad, twelve sleeves of saltines, an entire cake, and two new kinds of hot sauce, frozen dumplings that you think you may have tried once before and are at least 40% sure you enjoyed mostly – all “just in case” you needed any piece of it.
Then you get home and realize you forget at least a full third of the necessary things you would get in a normal shopping, list-bearing, shopping trip and have to decide if it’s worth going back for.
It isn’t because who has the time or money to do that, plus then wouldn’t all this odd food, these shim-meals, go to waste?
So you swear you’ll use your list next time and have a strange week of meals, like you’re suddenly living in a world where its actually the Berenstain Bears not the Berenstain Bears and blue food is a naturally occurring concept.
Hold steady, it’ll be fixed next week.
Unless, that is, you forget a list and drift even further from your own shopping reality. Worst case you keep drifting like that and find yourself, on day, on the other side of the list-bearing life you used to lead, eating peanut butter spread on anchovies because it made sense in the store to plan for that.