As I was waiting in line at my local TJ Maxx I watched a woman scurry over to the checkout counter. “Can I leave this here?,” she asked, rolling an oversized piece of luggage into a corner next to the carts. A few minutes later she reappeared. “Can I leave this here too?,” she asked laying a toy on top of the luggage. While I waited in line the woman returned two more times creating a nice little stack of items she wished to purchase.
I thought it was odd. Why not just take a cart and dump your stuff inside as you shop? The store was quite large and she was gathering stuff all the way from the far back corner and walking it all the way to the front of the store. It seemed like a ridiculous waste of time.
Eventually the cashier got annoyed with the pile she created and suggested that the woman take a cart. “Oh no I couldn’t,” she said. “I can’t be trusted with a cart. I know my limits and try to stick to whatever I can carry.”
In theory it was a great idea. Shopping without a cart forces you to think more thoroughly about each and every purchase. You have to really want something to lug it around the store with you.
It was clear that this woman wanted to avoid unnecessary purchases, but she’d found a loophole with her own plan to save money. Sure she didn’t have a shopping cart, but she certainly wasn’t carrying everything she intended to purchase in her own two hands and walking around the store with it. If anything she was buying more than a cart would hold, because the luggage would have taken a significant amount of space and left little room for anything else.
I really wanted to stick around to see how many items she finally purchased, but instead I grabbed a bite to eat inside the mall. Thirty minutes later as I walked back through the store to get to my car I noticed the woman was still shopping and her pile at the front of the store had grown into a sizable mound.
I completely understand the desire to trick yourself into spending less, but this woman’s approach was clearly not working. I’m sure she burned a few extra calories shopping this way, but I don’t think she spent less money.
What do you think? Do you have tricks for saving money? Do you ever find yourself creating loopholes so you can continue to spend?