I love shopping! I think that 99.9999999% of women LOVE shopping in varying degrees. Some are addicted to shopping, some are obsessed with shopping, some others have a dysfunctional relationship with shopping and need psychiatric care or rehab. I like to think that my love for shopping is in the healthy range. Of course, this may be partly due to the fact that my husband and I have a transparent relationship so he gets to find out about ‘most’ of my purchases!
Another factor that greatly limits my shopping is a two pronged situation (a) driving licence-less-ness (b) i have been babied.
If i had a car, I could take off and ‘visit my friends’ via the shopping mall and of course being babied only means that I have to take the baby along. Now, since I’m not yet driving on my own, the logistics of taking Izabelle on the bus is too much because it is always uncertain if one will end up getting the ‘stroller-friendly’ bus or the ‘extremely stroller-unfriendly’ bus.
Kachi has ended up driving me to and tagging along for most of my visits to the shopping mall! He doesn’t mind grocery shopping that much because his mind has been programmed to accept that this happens a couple of times every week! The ones he dreads are my personal shopping trips where I have to choose and decide between billions of clothes, undies, shoes, makeup, and hundreds of other things that I desire but can’t afford on my (or our) budget.
One familiar complaint is that I take to long to decide on what I want. My patient answer to this question is always the same: if I am buying a shoe with my hard earned cash, I must be ABSOLUTELY sure that it is the best one (for my price range) in the mall that day, and then it has to be the best option among the shoes that JUMPED OUT AT ME from the shelves.
needless to say, these requirements usually narrow the chosen ones down and sometimes it means that I have to go home without the item after all said and done (because it is better to keep searching for the right one with your money in your pocket, than to buy a second best option only to see the first love on a shelf the next day you walk in the shop). If you could return the second best option, then alls well that ends well, but if you got it at a sale price, then the rest they say is history.
While choosing items for my wardrobe can be very tasking, it is by no means the most tasking of shopping expeditions. Oh no. From past and present experiences I have decided that the most challenging item to shop for is BREAKFAST CEREAL. Seriously.
Have you ever been to the Cereal aisle in supermarkets? Where as other products have to compete for spaces and sections on the shelves, the entire left shelves of most breakfast product aisles are exclusively reserved to hundreds of different types of breakfast cereal!
I don’t have too much problem choosing cereal for my daughter because budgets disappear when you buy stuff for your child. Most baby cereals look like they do pretty good things to baby bodies and they occupy just a section of one small shelf, so its not a big deal to buy all of them. Now with adult breakfast cereals, things are different because buying all of them in one go is stupid since they are too many and will break the bank.
It is my idea that the first meal of the day is a very important start to the day…in fact, I’m almost superstitious about it because I feel that if I have a bad or unhealthy start, that pretty much sets the tone for the whole day. If this is actually true or not is another story though.
Prompted by my problem solving husband, I have pondered on my ‘cereal-shopping problem’ in a bid to identify the issues involved and solve them if possible. The reasons that come to mind are few but serious.
How do you choose one good thing above another good thing when you have never tried both of them? Now remembering how long and high the cereal aisle is should help you appreciate the magnitude of this problem. On my monthly pilgrimage down the lengthy and uncertain aisle of the cereals, the journey is fraught with extreme turmoil of the mind because of the decisions I have to make in such a short period of time (remember that hubby is tagging behind with the shopping trolley! Oh the pressure, the pressure on my poor nerves). To bring this problem closer to home, let me show you a couple of cereals that I meet on this pilgrimage-
all bran original is very high in dietary fibre and a good source of thiamine, riboflavin and niacin, folate, iron and magnesium. it is also low GI.
crispix is low in fat, high in carbs and a good sources of 4 essential vitamins
High in fibre sounds good for a wonderful start to the day doesn’t it, but does that beat the All-bran duo with 2 types of fibre? Oh, and don’t forget crunchy nuts that is irresistibly tasty…hmmmm…. and how about being an iron woman with nutrigrain? oh, are none of these as sensible as the special K? Don’t try to solve this problem by asking me to buy all of them and mix them in my bowl because these are only 6 out of a sea of cereal
What you see is NOT what you get!
I have learnt this lesson the hard way because I have been moved to decide on a purchase by the picture on the cereal packet only to rush home and be unpleasantly surprised because the beautiful yummy mouth-watering cereal in a bowl of fruit I saw in the packet was NOT the same cereal that was in my own bowl. Massive difference. I would like to meet the photographers who take those pics.
Being adventurous and just going ahead and buying one I have never tried before (which are in their tens or hundreds) is a huge risk. What if I end up loathing it? I can’t bin it because it is the WRONG thing to do…..you know that some people are starving and don’t even have as much choice as I do….then I’m accountable to someone else…..then….its a waste of money….then…oh, gosh, its just the wrong thing to do OK?
The only thing is that if I buy one that I hate, I wont eat it that often so it will take so long to finish and so I can’t even go ahead and buy another one!
Being unadventurous is even worse than the former problem because it makes that journey down the cereal aisle even harder for me to endure. As I’m walking straight to the one I’m used to buying, the other ones keep calling out to me: “try me, I’m high in folate“; “no, try me, I’m irresistibly tasty” (now that’s one that is hard to resist) “try me, I’m …….” “try me, I’m…..” “……….”!!!!!!!!!! Far out!!! I just can’t live my whole life knowing that there may be a much better option to the cereal I’m always eating and its sitting there on that shelf as I walk past every time! It goes against all my life philosophies.
Obviously I’m left with a few solutions to my predicament.
SOLUTION 1)- try them all out, then make a list of a few that I like. Its a risk, I know that, but consider the other option of being unadventurous! Wouldn’t it be easier if the cereal companies made sachet sizes of all their cereals? then it would be easier to even buy them in one or two shopping trips and that way, if you encounter one that you can’t stomach, it won’t be such a sin if you silently directed it to the bin. Oh, but I think the companies know what they are doing when they only have small sachet sizes of the most popular choices. As for the other ones, we are left in the dark, with only a false picture and some scientific blurb to help us decide.
SOLUTION 2)- I could stop eating cereal…I find it easier to choose bread and Milo.
But my breakfast life will become very predictable and unbearably boring.
Being the Nancy that I am, you know what the choice will be. Why can’t life be easier? I remember the days that the options were limited – Akamu (pap as Nigerians call it), custard, and Nasco’s Cornflakes. I didn’t have this predicament then, partly because I was a child and had to go with whatever mom and dad decided on (:)) and also because that was most of the options that were available in the town we lived in then.
I can’t go back to those days, so suffice it to say that I will keep going on this risky and adventurous journey of buying previously unknown cereal with little certainty on their real personalities. Perhaps, one day I’ll get close to the end of the tunnel, where I’ll have a wonderful list of favourites (this wont be possible if the companies keep being innovative though), but that thought won’t stop me!
Till then, its back to the cereal aisle for me!
Artist & Lover of God
Seeking to unveil the beautiful rhythms of love, hope and grace enshrouded in the mundane dailiness of the human condition and the spaces we inhabit