Let’s face it: we are blessed to live in a country where freedom is so abundant.  Sadly this has become second nature to us, when we should be grateful.  That being said, have you ever noticed that all this freedom has started to take us in the other direction?

How can we know what breakfast cereal is best for us when we see dozens and dozens on the shelves?  And which chip is best? Regular?  Rippled?  Barbecued? The pressure starts to build.

And what’s worse: if you pick the “wrong clothes,” you will be ostracized by your peers at school and forever cast off as a pariah. The anxiety becomes palpable.

For someone with anxiety disorders like myself, shopping is a mixed blessing. The brain “Floods” when it is hit with a sight and sound input overload, and crowds of strangers are everywhere.  It takes every weapon in my arsenal of coping tools just to get through a day at the mall.  But I did not come here today to tell you that.  I came here to offer my list of  “THIRTEEN TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR SUPERMARKET/MEGASTORE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE.” (I know the title is long, so sue me.)

1 . While it is recommended that you squeeze the melons to test for freshness, it is NOT RECOMMENDED that you squeeze the people in the produce section to test for the same.

2. A general coping mechanism employed to ease nerves is picturing people in their underwear – and this is fine to do when shopping. However, it is NOT FINE to actually show up at the store wearing nothing but said items.

3.  It is INAPPROPRITE to assemble a group of shoppers using handicap-assist carts and organize a drag race, even if you do have a checkered flag.

4. After the cashier asks you “paper or plastic” and then checks you out, they usually GET ANNOYED when you come back and say “I changed my mind. Start over.”

5. It is UNWISE to – when a store is having a buy 1 get 1 free sale – walk up to the checkout counter and say “I just want the free one for now.”

6.  When craving a ham sandwich, it is FAR SAFER to buy the ingredients and make it at home than in the middle of Aisle Five.

7.  It is UNWISE to ask if the “Dinner for One” frozen meals come in smaller sizes.

8.  Fellow shoppers sometimes get ANNOYED if you are on a long line and you ask someone to save your spot because you just had a big meal and need to use the facilities.

9.  Trying on underwear is FROWNED UPON; especially if it is currently being worn by someone else.

10.  When trying on clothes in a dressing room, it is RUDE to laugh loudly and holler, “I can see you!”

11.  If someone leaves their gum behind, just PASS IT UP – no matter how good it looks.

12.  You sometimes get STRANGE LOOKS when you sing songs from “Evita” while in the hardware section.

13.  Some shoppers like to use the debatable practice of sampling items such as grapes. And while a store might overlook this once in a while, they WILL NOT overlook it if you show up with a fork and start sampling pies. Trust me on this.

And whatever you do —- SMILE!


About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

3 responses »

  1. Colleen says:

    Thanks, you did make me smile. You might want to go to and check out Barry Schwartz’s talk on choice — his is not as funny as you but it is very intriguing.

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