Shopping Stress

Dad and I went shopping the other day to pick up some supplies for our family vacation. It should have been easy. We were looking for toilet paper, bug repellent, and sunscreen. Easy, right? It turned out to be both stressful and funny.

We usually purchase our paper goods from Sam’s Club, so we only  have to replenish those supplies a few times a year. We had forgotten how difficult buying large quantities of toilet paper is. I watched as Dad walked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth between two displays of Charmin toilet paper. Then I laughed as he reached for his phone so he could pull up the calculator app. He was trying to determine which to buy: 36 = 93 rolls of Charmin Ultra Soft for $20.98 or 24=108 Ultra Strong at $21.98. The engineer in him, the man who runs family seminars on how to properly load the dishwasher, finally announced, “We should get the Ultra Strong.” I was fine with either. I just won’t buy Scott.


Our next stop was Walmart, where we intended to buy the sunscreen and the bug spray. After deciding on a cream instead of spray, and SPF 50, it was simply a matter of comparing price and reading the labels. It was an easy decision to choose the store brand over the name brand.

The final purchase was bug repellent, because we don’t want to come home covered with mosquito and tick bites. We took off towards the skin care aisle since it was not near the sunscreen. No luck. Then we moseyed over to outdoor toys and supplies, but still no success. Finally we decided to try the camping department, which was the winning move.

This was very stressful. Several brands bragged about the amount of deet in their product: 15%, 20%, 40%, or 100%, while others touted the fact that they were “deet-free.”

Out came our cell phones to determine which was best for our precious bodies. In the end, we left the store without any repellent, determined to get to the bottom of the situation with the help of further research.

It was then that I was reminded of Grandpa’s cousin, Misha, who came to visit one year from Russia. I remember how impressed he was by the product choices on our store shelves. While I would never, ever want to live in Russia, particularly with Vladdy at the helm, it would be nice, at times, to have less choices. This is why I hate to shop!


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