An Ode To Shopping Carts On National Shopping Cart Day

Have you ever seen the show Supermarket Sweep?

It’s the show that ran in three separate decades, where contestants were allowed to run through a grocery store and they had to fill their shopping carts with items that would beat the total of their opponents. It was a frantic, yet exciting show and to be honest, all of our wildest fantasies.

Who doesn’t want the ability to run through a grocery store as fast as they can and with no budget buy anything they want? If you answer that question with anything but a resounding yes, then we can’t be friends.

Given that it’s Shopping Cart Day, I’ve thought long and hard about the shopping cart and how it’s caused me to make some pretty tough decisions.

When I was a younger child and my mom would take me to the grocery store with her, I would always want to throw everything I could into the shopping cart and hope she wouldn’t notice. Unfortunately, my mom was tough as nails and noticed any little deviation of her shopping list.

However, as I got older and I was responsible for buying my own groceries and other items, all concept of a shopping list (or budget) went right out the window. I’m one of those people who likes to wander up and down the aisle and browse. It’s also because I’m in sensory overload and it becomes increasingly more difficult to make clear cut decisions with so many options. There are times of course that I can go in and out of a grocery store without needing a cart and pick up what I need, but that is rare.

The worst part about the “shopping cart” is that with everything being online now, from Amazon to big box retailers (Target, Walmart) and everything in between, we can get everything we want at the click of a button. That shopping cart becomes a way for us to fulfill our fantasy until we realize that it’s exactly that. Our fantasy and our bank account are often two different things.

Anna Kendrick summed it up best about shopping online.

Once the shopping cart evolved from a purely physical item into one that is digital and knows no limits (literally, you can fill that shopping cart up as much as you want and it never fills up).

What boggles my mind is that most of these shopping carts have very little thresholds from clicking buy or check out to actually purchasing. With Amazon, often times it’s a “one click buy” and boom in 2 days $400 worth of stuff you didn’t need is at your doorstep.

Continuously, we’re inundated with spam emails from stores we shop at frequently and stores we shopped at one time, sending us deals and specials enticing us to shop. Our mind goes into “how much do I have to spend in my shopping cart to get a discount.”

I am a NOTORIOUS shopping cart hoarder. I will throw a ton of items into my shopping cart and then let it sit there for a while. It’s mostly because I don’t want to become too much of a compulsive buyer, but also because I’m trying to do the math and figure out whether the discounts are truly worth it.

Remember people, it’s not that we NEED what we’re buying. It’s buying what we WANT. Our needs are very simple, but it’s our wants that become obsessive, compulsive and downright dangerous from time to time.

The physical manifestation of the shopping cart used to serve as a reminder of what we are about to purchase. In today’s modern online shopping era, while the shopping cart still shows us what we’re purchasing, our ability (or lack of) to logically and comprehensively rationalize what we’re purchasing has gone out the window.

With more incentives to shop than ever these days, our shopping carts have evolved from a vessel to carry what we’re in need of into a crippling and slippery slope into unnecessary debt. Do we really need to spend $75 on essential oils and other household items at 2am? Probably not, but our shopping cart enables us more than our own peers.

It’s a judgment free zone.

For all of you out there who are as bad as I am when it comes to saying no to what’s in your digital shopping cart, remember these four tips:

  1. Look but don’t touch
  2. Is it really worth it?
  3. Are all your bills paid this month?
  4. Would someone shame me for this unnecessary purchase?

If you can successfully answer those questions, then you’ve taken one step forward to curing your shopping cart addiction.

Featured image via Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash


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