“I’m going to Costco in a bit,” I say to Ro.
“Have fun,” she replies. “Eat many samples.”
“Mmm samples,” I say.
And I’m off to the store.
It’s Saturday, so the sampling stations are out in full force. One worker is making some kind of veggie burgers. Another has some lentil soup that smells amazing. A fellow who appears to be in his 60s is scraping chicken salad onto crackers. I visit each stand feeling a bit like a trick-or-treater.
One woman has a platter of smoked cheese. I sample a few bites. They’re amazing. I have to pick up a package of this, I decide.
But as I’m going over to the cheese case, I realize something: There’s no fucking way I can eat all of this before it goes bad.
My nesting partner Justin recently switched to a low-fat diet because his gallbladder is on the fritz. And while I keep plenty of things in the house that he doesn’t like, I don’t really have enough room in the fridge right now or even in the freezer (since you can freeze cheese for later use) to justify storing this giant package. So I put it back.
I’ve learned from experience that you have to be careful when you sample. You might end up buying something you have nowhere to store. Something you’ll end up wasting. And when you do, it’ll be a rotten and unpleasant experience for everyone involved.
Wasting Food Is Bad Enough, Wasting Another Person’s Time Is Worse
This was an especially important lesson for me to learn when it comes to relationships. Because it’s bad enough to waste food, it’s another thing altogether to waste another person’s time. Or fritter away their trust. Or to break their heart because you sampled them for an instant and then made an impulse purchase without giving a single thought as to how they’d fit into your life.
It’s bad enough to be so frivolous with a commodity, but it’s terrible when you do it with a person.
That said, I’m usually not bound by lists when I go shopping. I do tend to carry one when I go, to make sure I’ve provided for all the basic needs. But I keep an open mind while I’m at the market. And if I see something exciting that I have room for, then I bring it home.
As always, knowing one’s own limits before setting out is important.
Books by Page Turner: