Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Needs Assessment

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. That's what the Barenaked Ladies told me. I have to agree with them, and not just because it's the polite thing to do since they're Canadian and all. It takes a certain amount of killer instinct that I just don't have. Don't get me wrong, I can purchase with the best of them. If I know what I want, I can go right to the store, to the aisle, to the shelf and take whatever food, widget or commodity I need to the checkout stand and then bring that purchase straight back to my house and put it into the stuff rotation that goes on constantly at my house. Finding the best deal? Comparing prices? I panic. More than one size of mustard to choose from? I'm hopeless.
That's why I'm so glad to have a wife who will hunt and gather for me. Finding a sale or using a coupon is a badge of honor for her. Buying that slightly larger squeeze bottle of mustard that comes as a two-pack saves us enough money to buy more mustard when we run out. I understand the math, but once I'm standing there in front of all that grocery or electronics or chinos, I get all flustered. My instinct is to grab the brightly-colored, brand name and escape with a shred of dignity.
That's probably why I like shopping online so very much. Point and click. My process can only be called into question if I have to box that thing back up and return it because I never really needed it in the first place. But that's so embarrassing. What will those people in the returns department think of me? It's better just to hold on to that second fur sink and hope that eventually I find a use for both of them.
My wife, on the other hand, returns things all the time. She is completely comfortable with the customer service desk. She knows how to print out labels and ship things back to whence they came because they weren't the right color, size or fragrance. It's a super power that amazes me. She makes full use of all manner of methods. We get our groceries from a variety of different venues, depending on the week, or the season, or the availability of certain items. She knows where they come from, and if they aren't there, she'll keep shaking the tree until the right thing drops out.
It's not a flawless system. Sometimes all that magic gets a little backed up, but mostly the supply line remains unbroken. I can't remember the last time we ran out of mustard. Or fur sinks.

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