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Monday, July 5, 2010

Come the Revolution, We Hit the Giant Garages in the Suburbs

Have you been to Sam’s Club? Have you seen the giant jars of mayonnaise, the deals you can get when you buy a hundred pair of socks at a time? Why pay $2, $3 for a jar of jalapenos when you can buy a gallon tub of them for $7?!

Of course unless your diet for the next 30 days consists of jalapenos – and that's probably a blog unto itself – or you have a circle of friends who all want in on your jalapeno bonanza, you’re either going to have nothing but jars of various sizes of that in your fridge or everyone you know will be getting jalapenos for Christmas.

You’re gonna need to store it.

You’re gonna need a bigger house.

Does a person really need 100 rolls of toilet paper at a time? Well, no, but look how much you’ve saved!

And if you play your cards right and only poop at work, you may never have to buy toilet paper again!

OK. I understand. You have quite a few children, and they’ve all grown accustomed to relieving themselves and then cleaning up whenever they need to. I get it.

I smell what you’re cookin’.

But what’s it all mean, the hoarding? Is it truly because it was such a fantastic deal that you couldn’t say no? Is it the need to fill the physical space?

Or is there a different space that needs filling?

I’ve served drinks/appetizers/dinner at private homes that could house four full families, easily. I’ve cleaned homes that are really the size of three. And you know what they keep in their five-car garages, other than three or four or five cars?

Crates of toilet paper. Cases upon cases of pop and bottled water. Sacks of rice. Stockpiles of canned meat.

I know. I know. It’s so much cheaper to buy in bulk. I get that. But what the hell?

It’s all a symptom of a much bigger disease, isn’t it?

I don’t think it’s just the savings. I think it’s the idea that, somehow, by having plenty “on hand”, that we are somehow safe from something. As if all those rolls of toilet paper will save us from whatever catastrophe is on the horizon, whether it’s a recession, a massive shortage, job loss, or locusts.

Do people really think that the extras will help, that they can't be taken away by those who have nothing?

Who are we kidding?


Jon in France said...

There's something very comforting about seeing a big stack of loo roll. The knowledge, perhaps, that in the event of a dicky tum at least you won't need to risk a dash to the shops that could result in an unfortunate Underwear Accident.

Me, I hoard Marmite. I could use it as barter with other Brits if the curtain goes up, the chips are down and everything goes pear shaped.

And against the French I could use it as a chemical weapon.

ellen abbott said...

Me, my guiding principle has always been less is more so I totally don't get it.

jo.irish.rose said...

i can totally see, buy one get one free, or even half off...or maybe reduced prices for buying a few. but i certainly don't have the space nor the inclination to buy gallons of mayo, mustard or any other condiments! why would you do that? who has a fridge that would house them? we just bought a brand new side by side... hubby wanted to keep the old one on the back porch for over flow....i said GET RID OF IT! it is only the two of us now....we don't need that much food. geez....and toilet paper...don't even get me started....are we that lazy that we can't go to the store each week to buy TP???? c'mon...i like to be clean after i go....thank you....but i don't stockpile 100 rolls! why???? the market is just down the street.....OMG...get in the car, go get you some. thanks pearl for words of wisdom.....you crack me up! i look forward to your posts! lol

Pearl said...

Jon, I agree with avoidance of any accident involving underwear. And Marmite? I don't think we allow that in the U.S., do we? No, seriously -- what is it? Don't make me look something up!

ellen, I am nodding at you. I don't store up on anything. I have just enough.

Pearl said...

jo.irish.rose, ya kinda sneaked in there, didn't ya?! Nice to meet you. Yes, I have on-hand about four (large) rolls of TP -- nothing you want to run out of, but those gigantic restaurant-style jars of relish and mustard? Who are we feeding here and where in the world will I store it?

LucyCooper said...

I, too, cleaned house for some people like this. I was also called the "au pair" for their Rottweiler. It was my job to stock her dog food. As my Granpa used to say, "Rich people have rich ways."

Vicki said...

Pearl--thank you so much for making me laugh every day. Every single day.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

You have hit upon something very deep. Yes, people must be trying to protect against "whatever," and yes, come the revolution that stuff won't help. Unless they're also storing guns and ammo?

a Broad said...

Insecurity ... just your basic insecurity.

If you squirrel away as many nuts as possible.. THAT day will come and you will be prepared. . in a manner of speaking.

Jon in France said...

Pearl - Marmite is a brand of yeast extract that one (usually) spreads on toast or places in sandwiches.

It is very...British and is illegal in 43 of the lower 48 due to it's odour and ability to adhere irreversibly to natural fabrics.

The French regard it with something akin to horror and will not consent to even try it. They fear it in the same way that rational people fear tripe.

If you know an English person they may be able to obtain a small sample for you. There are mutual support networks smuggling the stuff around the world to where it is needed.

Douglas said...

Other than guns and ammo(neither of which is sold at Sam's...yet), what more does one need to stock up on in case of an apocalypse? With the guns and ammo, you should be able to get everything else you need.

But I confess, I do go to Sam's and I do buy the large plastic jar of UTZ pretzel rods. And lots of paper towels.

FabuLeslie said...

Pearl, I completely agree. I live in 400-square-feet and the process of purging is never-ending. I am contsantly faced with these questions that you bring up. What purpose does this really serve me? Wouldn't it be better to have that cubic foot of space instead? Why do I feel safer if I have the 'stuff'? It's all very subconscious, and therefore hard to figure out. Guess I have something to discuss with my therapist tomorrow. :)

Sausage Fingers said...

Ah ha a jar of jalapenos and a crate of bum roll, one leads to the other. As far as the marmite goes our local supermarket now carries it along with other "Britishy" stuff, I guess we are considered a holiday area for the pale ones, and we all know when Brits travel they must have the same grub as back home.

Sarah said...

I actually read that buying bulk does not save you money. It costs you more. Go figure!

pilgrimchick said...

I agree that some of it is just getting excessive. What was once a stack of 10 toiletpaper rolls is now more like 30 or 40. And, it isn't likely that the individual buying these things is going to wait until he/she runs out before buying more, either.

There is indeed something liberating about keeping only what you need around.

Simply Suthern said...

Get off my back. I saved $.30 on that pallet of paper towels.

Madame DeFarge said...

When the bomb goes, or the zombies arrive, I'm heading to your place.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I find that kind of excess disgusting--which is why I NEVER buy in bulk or set foot inside a Costco or Sam's Club. It violates my simple nature.

Gigi said...

I confess....I hoard paper towels and toilet paper - there I said it. But nothing else (unless you count my shoes....). But in this house you must buy paper products in bulk because I think someone must be eating it for breakfast considering how fast we go through it.

Cheeseboy said...

Yes, but if we got rid of Sam's Club or Costco, where would all those old ladies that are cutting up burritos while wearing hairnets go?

I don't like mayo THAT much though.

Ann Imig said...

If spending $100 every time you step into Target sounds daunting, try $300 at Costco.


No longer a member since 2006.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I make no excuses for purchasing a package of toilet paper so big that I can use it to escape an island prison. I ran out of toilet paper once...ONCE! And there is nothing better than knowing that you will have eggrolls to snack on for life. That box in my freezer just never runs out. I love the big box stores. Reminds me of the crates of food we would order months in advance when I lived in the far far North. It was like Christmas every six weeks. It just doesn't feel like me without canned peaches up the ying yang.

poosemommy said...

As for the savigs supposedly associated with buying in bulk, I've taken up my dad's mantr: "I can't afford to save that much."
I think the hoarding is some kind of leftover thing from when we lived in caves and had to forage all spring summer and fall to maybe survive the winter. Did early man stop at what he needed for the next week? No! He had to get every.last.berry. (or grub, or whatever they ate). They had no Sam's Club. We haven't adjusted to the ready availability of consumable consumer goods.
Either that or they're getting ready for the zobie apocolypse. (I have 30 jars of homemade blueberry jam at the ready - zombies HATE the stuff, and it is so good on a biscuit!) Don't ask about the guns and ammo, let's just go with the have-nots shall not have my jam either!

Argent said...

We buy loo roll in 12 packs, but that's a far as our hoarding ways go. I think you've hit on something deep there: we want to try and insulate ourselves (you could with all that loo roll) against the unknown, unprepared-for. I hate buy one, get one free too - just give me ONE at HALF the price, dammit.

Draea Lael (Rose) said...

For the most part, I agree with you, Pearl. We have a family of 6...3 of them are boys...like Gigi suggested, I think they eat the toilet paper. Or they have a strange cult of TPing the fairy mound in the woods late at night >.>

The only thing that I usually buy at Sam's is meat, fruit, specialty foods (mmm bruschetta) and school supplies. We live in a smallish house with 3 bedrooms. The biggest room is the kitchen, but it is also the biggest waste of space...there is no storage! I don't know where on earth I would put anything! I barely have enough room for the canning products that I make or receive as gifts. (I actually still have 3 kitchen boxes that I haven't been able to put away due to lack of storage, and that's not counting the 5x10 storage unit we have in our last state of residence) I have too much STUFF to hoard food and potty paper!

Fred Miller said...

You could always burn the extra toilet paper in the fireplace for heating and cooking. You might even use it to buy a husband for your youngest daughter if you're short on cash. It may just be a case of investing rather than hoarding.

K A B L O O E Y said...

I think I hate going into these stores so much, I buy the big products just so I don't have to go back for a while. That said, I don't like the giant boxes and bottles that are too big to lift and don't fit on my shelves. But I do like saving money. Then again, I go broke saving money when I shop there. And the allure of whatever impulse buy I make -- ooh, almonds-- wears off before I get close to finishing them off, and then it's -- sigh. almonds. again.