Everything Must Go

I think it should be a requirement that all newlywed couples pay a visit to Ikea---extra credit for a weekend outing---sometime during their first month of marriage. Really, there's nothing quite like it to guarantee an abrupt end to that sickening post-honeymoon behavior you've been exhibiting up until now---"I love you, husband!" "no, I love YOU, wife!"---and give everyone within hearing distance a break from their barf bags.

Besides, forget those vows you made: if you can handle a visit to Ikea as a married couple, you've proven you can handle anything. Pulling out of the parking lot without having signed any divorce papers over a plate of meatballs and lingonberry sauce? Success! Yup, even when one of you swears he picked up the 5 x 8 TARNBY rug you lugged all over the store like a dead body, only to find out that it's actually the 6 x 10 TARNBY rug when the cashier scans it five minutes before closing, WHAT THE HELL YOU TOLD ME YOU CHECKED IT WAS THE RIGHT ONE.

Hi! Guess where we went last week!

**********************************************

Speaking of rampant consumerism, by the way---weren't we?---have you ever bought something just because you felt sorry for the person trying to sell it to you? I tend to do this all the time, you see, and it's starting to become a problem. Once I bought a necklace in a market in Burma because the man selling it told me HE NEEDED TO EAT THAT NIGHT, and you just try not buying a necklace---even one that turns your neck green within the first 24 hours of wearing it---after someone tells you that, you know?

Anyway, the other week at the Metreon Farmer's Market---which is not so much a Farmer's Market, incidentally, as what your high school cafeteria looked like that time they tried to do an International Food Fair, right down to the photocopied flyers and the people sitting behind makeshift tables, selling empanadas out of coolers (so in summary, it is awesome)---I bought some mustard because I just felt so sorry for the man selling it.

There was something about his overenthusiastic proffering of free samples---"Try the curry mustard! Go on! Just try it! No, please try it! Oh, you'll try it? Wonderful! Thank you! You like it? I knew you'd like it! Now try the cognac mustard! Go on! Just try it!"---that struck a sad chord in me. Well, that and his graying temples and pleated pants. I couldn't stop thinking about him while I ate my pulled pork sandwich and in the end, I told my friend I needed to go back and buy some mustard. "I just feel so sad for him!" I said, and she nodded sagely, fully understanding the injustices of the world, particularly whichever ones had befallen this poor desperate mustard man.

Anyway, whatever, turns out his mustard was EIGHT BUCKS, which I didn't find out until I'd  requested a jar (a tiny, tiny, tiny jar!) of the curry mustard---"honestly, the free sample you gave me was so delicious that I just had to come back!"---and which rather made me think that eh, the mustard man was probably doing okay after all, most likely because of saps like me. Does anyone else do this or am I destined to singlehandedly support the sad-eyed mustard men of the world with my frequent Pity Buys for the rest of my life? And incidentally, does anyone want a jar of curry mustard for Christmas? Uh, no reason.

1
Amanda Blog and Kiss
Sep 30, 2009

You really have to watch out for those pleated pants. They fool everyone.

2
Raz
Sep 30, 2009

I get suckered into those buys, and then I never have enough money left to buy the Big Issue. So really it's a self-defeating act of pity anyway.

3
Nicki
Sep 30, 2009

Uh. I get it. I'll also buy out the neighborhood kids selling chocolate bars, Girl Scouts, and those poor college kids living in a van selling magazines over the summer. It's like I have 'sucker' tattooed across my forehead.

I've gotten somewhat tougher since living with S. Yesterday, I overheard my daughter tell the alarm salesman that he should leave before I eat him alive.

4
AbbieBabble
Sep 30, 2009

Oh my goodness, all the vendors at the Metreon farmer's market are like that. Whenever I went there for lunch last year, I felt like I had to promise them that tomorrow, I'd buy lunch from THEM. They're just so earnest!

5
Amy --- Just A Titch
Sep 30, 2009

It never fails that when I go somewhere food fair-ish that I get into a conversation with the saddest little seller you've ever seen and feel so obligated to buy what they're peddling. An entire flat of rotting strawberries to help your kid get a new backpack? SURE. Curry mustard sounds scary though.

6
Rebecca
Sep 30, 2009

I do it ALL. THE. TIME. I end up coming home with the stupidest stuff! Last week it resulted in the purchase of a $12.00 bottle of "Dry Pear" wine from a apple orchard. I knew it was disgusting when I bought it but I also knew least disgusting of all the options. So I bought it. The worst is when it happens with clothes simply because I feel bad leaving the dressing room empty handed (I think you have written about this problem before). It's all related.

7
Erin @ Fierce Beagle
Sep 30, 2009

I once ordered three magazine subscriptions from a girl who came to my door. I tried to pretend I wasn't home, but when I looked through the peephole, she was hopping back and forth from one foot to the other in the cold.

Then she came in and deadpanned her spiel, which I found sad/funny a la Napoleon Dynamite (a movie which I hate, incidentally) so I ordered three magazines I didn't really want. I canceled the order the next day, but only because it was an anonymous online kind of cancellation. I didn't have to bring her back and sit her down and explain my decision or anything. I couldn't have canceled if I did.

8
Heather
Sep 30, 2009

I have a personal policy that I DO NOT make pity purchases. However. A few months ago, I was looking for a watering can, so I ventured into the local old fashioned hardware store where I was greeted by TWO old men who looked like they hadn't seen a customer in ages. They personally walked me to the one watering can in the store (an ugly plastic forest green one), and joyously handed it to me. They were so proud to have helped a customer and so proud to have met my need, that I broke my rule and bought the ugly watering can.

9
Laney
Sep 30, 2009

Oh it is so refreshing to know that someone else does this.

Though, I tend to take it to the next level and create a heart wrenching back story for the person, which then prompts me to whip out my wallet.

My over-active imagination gets expensive sometimes.

10
erose
Sep 30, 2009

I do the same thing. I also once drunkenly gave a bathroom attendant ALL of the cash I had on me (about $40) because I couldn't stand the fact that she worked in a bathroom.

11
Amy
Sep 30, 2009

Well, do you need me to buy the mustard from you?

12
Sensibly Sassy
Sep 30, 2009

oh my goodness I am a total pity buyer. Just your description of this mustard man makes me want to track him down and buy a case.

13
Mariam
Sep 30, 2009

Oh, dude. I went to the Metreon Farmer's Market a couple of months ago, thinking it would you know, somehow resemble an actual farmer's market.

Anyway, this guy was trying to sell me the most overpriced and worst quality saffron in a teeny tiny bottle, telling me it was the best saffron in the world because it was from Spain.

And I was like, hello, I'm Perzhian, do you know who you're talking to? We are the inventors of saffron.

(Nothing against Spain, in fact, I love Spanish food. Go Spain!)

I didn't buy any saffron that day, but I admire the guy's drive. (And that goes for everyone selling something at the Metreon Farmer's Market.)

14
jennifer in sf
Sep 30, 2009

Argh. That "Farmer's Market" is near my office and I seriously just had to back out when I got a look at all the desperate hawking of goods in there. And the one time I actually ventured all the way in and bought something, I felt like I had SERIOUSLY dissapointed all the other vendors. That's a little too much guilt for a damn empanada.

15
Elizabeth
Sep 30, 2009

If there is an old farmer at the market I have to head in the opposite direction IMMEDIATELY or I will end up buying every single thing the old dude is selling.
The old farmers get me EVERY SINGLE TIME.

16
Jen
Sep 30, 2009

I am so a victim of the pity buy; I have what is pretty much the most unflattering shirt in the entire world to prove it. But the farmer's markets, ah, the farmer's markets; they get me every time. I so badly WANT to like some of their stuff. The one get-out-of-pity card for me is that I'm a vegetarian - I don't feel bad about passing up the local meat purveyor.

17
Rebecca
Sep 30, 2009

HAHAHAHA....your description of the Metreon farmer's market is gold. So true.

I'm sort of glad it's there just in case i run out of broccoli mid-week.

18
Kelly H
Sep 30, 2009

OMG..I thought I was the only one!! A few years ago when the funds were so so so low, I was a day or two before payday and only had *so much* in my bank account and had to get a few groceries. At the store that day, some young men who looked to be recently out of a correctional facility were selling some kind of cream (?!) that you put on your glasses and when you wash them or steam them they miraculously um...do something...they don't fog up maybe? I can't remember. Well any way, I felt so proud of these former criminals for having a ligit business and to sell it in a grocery store that I broke down and bought the $10 bottle of goo. I didn't think I had enough for groceries and I buy a $10 bottle of goo?! Yep.

19
Katy
Oct 01, 2009

I once bought health insurance from a kid selling it with a clipboard in a train station(I call him a kid because he looked about 12)- just because I'd seen him approach hundreds of people to no avail. I did return it a few days later, of course, because healthcare is free in the UK; but that was almost a very expensive pity-purchase!

20
Shannon
Oct 01, 2009

I call that "street vendor compassion sadness" and I get all too often. It's a terrible affliction, but I think it's better than not caring it all... I just wish it didnt have to cost so much.

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