On my last shopping trip to Target in mid-March, I felt very aware that this was probably the last time shopping would look relatively normal for a while. Everyone else seemed to be navigating the aisles with the same thought, casually, just casually restocking on some of the essentials. We were all grabbing whatever we could get but trying to make it look like a normal shopping trip, nothing out of the ordinary, please don’t get too close to me, thank you, I’ll just sneak by you in the aisle here.
On that trip, I purchased enough canned diced green chiles to fill an Olympic swimming pool. Why? Because the shelves in Target’s grocery section were still full of them, and it seemed important to get a lot of one thing instead of a hodgepodge of individual cans. Coming home with one can each of pinto, kidney, and black beans just felt less productive, somehow, because that’s not the way that stockpiling is supposed to look. You’re supposed to have rows and rows of orderly canned goods and MREs stacked on abundant shelving. So I took my trillions of diced green chiles and headed for the self-checkout.
Two months later, I have used exactly zero cans of diced green chiles in my cooking, mostly because I don’t think I actually like them that much. We’re lucky to have several shops in our neighborhood running great contactless pickup operations, so fresh produce is available when we need it. I could add the chiles to my scrambled eggs, but I always forget to do so (or I reach for the jar of giardiniera instead). For now, the chiles will sit stacked in my cabinet as a reminder of the strange psychology that can overtake someone who’s in a grocery store they’d prefer not to be in, wondering how far into the future this haul will need to last, wondering how long the shelves will stay this empty—but not, apparently, wondering who on earth needs that many canned green chiles.
What have you stocked up on needlessly? What’s gathering dust?