I’ve been feeling a little out-of-control lately. I’m not sure what happened, but something went tilt and I’ve been compulsively eating caramel-flavored candy corn. It’s probably the fault of the Halloween season; it taxes my ability to resist buying candy, even though I spend the rest of the year practicing.
Most registers at my local Stop & Shop (or as my friend Rebekah calls it, Stop & Rob), have a rack of candy and gum conveniently positioned for impulse buying. If I’m lucky, I end up at the register that offers “healthy” distractions, like dried fruit and corn puffs in a can which interest me not at all. But it doesn’t really matter, because I’ve gotten quite good at restraining myself. Once in a while I’ll pick up a York Peppermint Patty and contemplate getting the sensation, but then cooler heads prevail and I put the patty back on the rack.
Unfortunately, impulse buying is not restricted to items placed strategically near the cash register. Frankly, those that are are typically small money, so while you might chide yourself afterwards it’s unlikely to rise to the level of full-blown buyer’s remorse. For that you need to dig a little deeper into your pocket. Like the time I bought a pair of three hundred dollar orthotic inserts from a chain called Good Feet.
My feet were bothering me. A friend had recently told me that he had plantar fasciitis, and I’d developed a sympathetic case. The Good Feet store in Lexington had a big sign in the window that said “Plantar fasciitis,” so on a whim I stopped in. Now, I’m a tad nervous about inviting a defamation lawsuit, so I’ll try to stick to the facts, but I will say that this franchise ought to be illegal. In order to purchase these slightly molded, plastic inserts, which probably cost fifty cents to make, I had to sign a document that said I understood that they were non-refundable – for any reason. This was not a parenthetical comment at the end of the receipt; this was a separate document. The non-refundable policy was also prominently displayed at the cash register. It was the polar opposite of an impulse buy setting. It was the “anti-impulse buy.” And yet…
I wore those inserts for one day. They hurt my feet. I put them in a drawer for a respectable amount of time, and then I got rid of them. I’ve blocked how; Goodwill, garbage, I don’t remember.
Typically, I suffer buyer’s remorse after what I call a shopping accident, which is what I say I had when I spend too much money on something I need (or want). I could choose to remember the Good Feet debacle as the mother of all shopping accidents, but for some reason it haunts me as my most egregious impulse purchase instead.
It seems appropriate, during this season of haunting, to remember that humiliating experience and to ask myself how many bags of caramel-flavored candy corn I could have bought for the price of those orthotics.