Impulse Buys for the Slightly More than Intoxicated

impulseThere’s an impulse buy streak that runs through my family. My father is notorious for his impulse buy tendency, or he used to be anyway. He’d walk out of the house to get a doughnut and a cup of coffee and come home with a flat screen TV. Once, while shopping in Dick’s Sporting Goods for a birthday gift for my brother, he somehow came home with a dog.

While walking the streets in Naples years ago, my mother and I would look around to find that he was no longer with us. He’d then stumble out of a random tailor’s with three shirts and an ascot, or a hidden deli with a warehouse sized jar of olives. This happened so often that my mother’s bemoan “Where’s your father gone this time? Jesus Christ, if he buys one more tiny shirt….” was heard on several Neapolitan roads that week.

My mom could run the household on $10 a week. $5 if she only had to feed herself and the dog. She has the ability to stretch cash, get the most of her money, and logically deduce whether she truly needs something. If she were head of the Office of Management and Budget, the budget would be balanced and the whole country would be eating corned beef and cabbage.

I am not an impulse buy guy. Well, not anymore. Well, not usually. In college and in my early twenties, I simply had no concept of how money worked or what it was. Every week saw the purchase of another sweater I didn’t need, a book I knew I wouldn’t read, or a kitchen appliance I didn’t know how to use. I’d walk into my house wondering exactly how I’d ended up with an $80 beard trimming and cologne kit when I still hadn’t paid my electric bill. But, really, who needs lights and cooked food when you smell good and have a well-groomed goatee?

Twenty plus years of living on a budget and paying for things has shaken the impulse buy guy out of me. Oh to be sure, it still happens here and there. I might walk into my house wondering how a cat bed found its way into my backpack or why I so desperately needed the Santa Clause spatula set I am setting up on my kitchen counter. But these are few and far between now, and my money goes to housing me, feeding me, entertaining me, and treating my cat like a small furry god.

Usually. Alcohol can shake the impulse guy free. But I have to be in a window of Slightly More than Intoxicated. Three drinks aren’t enough; I’m still too reasonable and my mind is too bent on feeding to worry about an outside buy. Six or seven drinks put me on an autopilot whose hell-bent destination is my couch. It seems that five drinks loosen up the part of the brain that controls my impulse buy instinct.

So, when I wake up this morning, and there’s a new pan in my kitchen, I am not too terribly surprised. I sit on my couch and count my drinks. Three beers, two shots. Yep, five. I remember more now. I was at the Albert near Karlovo náměstí, stopped in after the pub so as to grab a few things for dinner and breakfast. And I recall now that there was a whole rack of beautiful nonstick pans on sale. And I distinctly remember grabbing one by the handle, hefting it once or twice to test its weight as though I were Mickey Mantle and it were a piece of ash, and thinking, “Yep. I need this…and that platter of nuts and fruits.” I remember Burke asking me if I was sure that I needed it, and the judgmental looks of my fellow shoppers as they watched me buy a pan on a Saturday night.

What I don’t remember is the price. So, as I talk myself into believing that this was a sensible buy when all I’d wanted to get was bread, ham, and potato salad, I look for the receipt.

I’ve had these conversations with myself before. Most recently after the purchase of five packs of Moleskine notebooks in varying sizes and colors. Before that, a new suit jacket and a pair of swimming goggles. Before that, a cat, a big book of herbal cures, and a kofi.

I can’t find the receipt. Perhaps my Slightly More than Intoxicated self decided to throw it out last night in an attempt to reduce the embarrassment of his sober counterpart today. I abandon the search and decide instead to make an omelet. If it is a good nonstick pan, then I will call it even.

As the egg bubbles away on the pan, and I stare over it with a Santa spatula in hand, I soften my irritation. You can’t deny who you are. It always peeks through. The occasional impulse buy is just inherently in me, and if it comes out when I am slightly more than intoxicated, then I can live with that. This is how I rationalize the new pan. Also, damn good omelets and no clean-up needed.

Worth it. Whatever the damn price was.

  1. #1 by Tiffany N. York on November 28, 2016 - 7:59 am

    Better than me. I have clothes in my closet with price tags still on them. A dress for when I win a RITA at RWA. A classy, yet slightly slutty outfit for when I meet a man I actually like. Pants for when I lose 10 pounds.

    Almost my entire wardrobe is delusional.

    But a nonstick pan is practical and so important for men to have since they despise scrubbing pans with stuck-on crap. So I say Bravo! And for the love of God don’t use any metal utensils on it or you’ll scratch it, the toxic surface bits will contaminate your food, and then you’ll die.

    Although I do have the perfect funeral dress hanging in my closet

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