Sunday, February 7, 2010


Shopping is the process of acquiring things to distribute to second-hand stores. It is often difficult and painful, and, on occasion, requires some loss of self-respect.1

However, it is important to note that there are two main categories of shoppers in the world.

The first category is the shopper that focuses first on quality. These individuals are willing to spend more in order to get a higher quality item (which may also denote a particular brand or style). They appreciate the finer things in life, and have a respect for well-made items.

The second kind of shopper is the one that focuses on price. These individuals want the best deal possible.

Within these classes you'll find a lot of people who fit neatly into one category, or exist in some area that straddles the two. Were I not obscenely lazy, I would draw you a Venn Diagram.

Take, for instance, my mother. She is primarily a category two type of shopper. She may contest this, but let me bring in her coupon envelope as Exhibit A for the prosecution. At some point in the 70s she kidnapped a poor envelope, and has been stuffing it full of coupons ever since. It was at one point in my youth heavier than her newborn children, and its dimensions were wrought in cubits.

There were happy moments in my childhood when she was able to find a coupon that was somehow relevant to the industry grouping in which we were shopping. I'm not sure if she still has said coupon registry, but if she does, there is no doubt in my mind that we could find deals that expired prior to my physical existence.

The loyal reader is naturally thinking about what type of shopper I am, because we all know that the world revolves around me.2 You'll be glad to hear I have managed to take aspects of both categories and fuse them into an entirely new and complicated set of principles I like to call, "spending more for no reason".

"Spending more for no reason" is a tough ideology to follow when you live within your means. However, never fear, there are always ways in which you can follow my example, even in the small things.

Take, for instance, purchasing gasoline. Some people find a good deal that is located somewhere within several states of what they might refer to as their "daily commute". Not me. Back in High School, I found a place some distance away that sold gas for a few cents less a gallon. I remember with fondness hopping in my six gallons per mile VW Vanagon every few hours or so and spending my weekly allowance on gas to shuttle my hard-won girlfriend around.3 It took me several levels of advanced calculus before I discovered I spent more money driving to get the deal than I actually saved from the deal.

"Spending more for no reason" is easier to do when purchasing clothing. You could be like my mom and never buy an article of clothing for more than thirty cents. Or, you could be like me, and look for a pair of dress shoes, then buy a cheap pair that didn't fit. After buying that cheap pair of shoes, you might then decide you'd like a pair that does fit, and, logically, go out and buy another cheap pair of shoes that don't fit. After buying these two cheap pairs of shoes, you may then decide to spend the eighty bucks on the pair of shoes you were originally going to buy, but didn't, because you were trying to be economical.4 These are intelligent and rational actions within this ideology.

Good luck with your shopping. Drive long distances to take advantage of marginally-cheaper prices. Do not, in any way, factor in the value of your time. Buy inferior goods many times over to avoid the expensive item that you'll get eventually. These are the keys to overcoming your consumerist state, relieving yourself of all monetary units of exchange, and finding nirvana.

1. If, hypothetically, a man used a shower puff, it may, in this purely hypothetical situation, be embarrassing for this man to travel to the women's bathing section in order to avail his hypothetical self of said shower utility, then even more embarrasing to pass through the sphinxian gaze of the inwardly-mockful shop clerk.
2. This is a common insult my brother would throw my direction during my fat years.
3. Looking back, I can't really explain why I drove everywhere I did, as I rarely went further than a half mile from my house.
4. My feet have blisters, and I still need black dress shoes. Earlier today, my prideful side was trying to convince my rational side that this was the first time this has happened. This is not true. I once bought several pairs of shoddy sandals before finally shelling out $80 for Birkenstocks.5 Yeah, buying cheap sure saves you money.
5. No, I am not a hippy, I just like German sandal engineering. But I could be a hippy if you're attractive, and into that sort of thing...

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