Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Buying Just One: Tuesday's Reflection

Tucked in a drawer in my garret office are four packages of printer ink. The only problem is the printer I now own does not use that ink. Recently, I needed to buy a new printer. My old one served me well for the past six, seven or maybe longer years, so I didn't mourn when it was apparent I needed to buy a new one. Plus, I was surprised at how much cheaper a new printer is compared to the last time I bought one. 

But now what do I do with all these packages of ink? I think I bought a couple at Target so I will try returning those, but I certainly don't have the proper receipts for Office Max or Staples or wherever I might have bought them. Because this specific model of cartridge is no longer easy to find, I buy one or two whenever I see them. Thus, I now have a surplus. (Anybody need an HP 74 black ink cartridge?)

Buying in multiples used to be my shopping strategy. A huge package of 24 or even 36 rolls of toilet paper or a large package of chicken breasts, which I then separated into servings for two and popped them all in the freezer. Two for one deals attracted me, along with subscribing to a magazine for two or three years, in order to save more. 

No longer --or at least not as much.

I could say the change related to having less storage space, and that is true to a certain extent. I am good at organizing and being creative about space, but after living in this house for three years, I know how many rolls of toilet paper we can accommodate at one time and the largest laundry detergent container the delegated spot on a laundry room shelf can hold. 

Space is only part of the answer, however. 

Another part is my age. How do I know I will live long enough to enjoy The New Yorker for three more years? Does it actually make sense to have ongoing automatic withdrawal to support Minnesota Public Radio when I might not be around to enjoy it?

I know this sounds bleak, and I hasten to add I am in good health and have no reason to believe I won't be reading The New Yorker in 2020, but this is a stage of life when life is not taken for granted. I am more aware of the shift in the hourglass: more sand in the bottom than in the top, and the sand is draining into the bottom much faster, it seems. 

That awareness affects my attitudes and my actions, even buying toilet paper.

An Invitation
What have you changed in your life that used to seem normal or routine? I would love to know


  1. It is interesting how our perspective changes on just about everything as we become older!I have always loved shoes, and have considered myself stylish at one time. I now only shop if I really need something—style and variety don't enter into it. There is no fun in window shopping either!

  2. I remember when my mother stopped being interested in shopping. She had been a great shopper--loved clothes and all the accessories--and it was so surprising and even upsetting when that part of her changed. And now I find myself feeling the same way.


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