My Inner Monologues As I Buy Embarrassing Products

Sometimes buying things is exciting and fulfilling — those fancy, smart-people books, that dress you’ve worked hard to fit into, that new end table you’ve saved up for — and we can’t wait to bring them up to the register with a smug little smile. There are other things, however, that make us just want to throw a fistful of crumpled-up twenties at the cashier and run, bag in hand, back to our happy places. And nothing makes buying these products better than the concise little shame spiral we can work ourselves into while standing at the register.

Junk Food

Inner Monologue: Why, yes, I am buying a jumbo bag of gummi bears and a tube of spicy Pringles, and, no, I am not taking them to some kind of sexy, high-carb party. I am going to eat them, alone, in my underwear, while I watch Mad Men reruns, and it’s going to be one of my better nights in recent memory. I’m sure all of you have incredibly cool, exclusive, star-studded events that you’re going to tonight when you get off the afternoon shift at Wawa, but until that happens, you’re just going to have to ring up the peons for their snacks.

Awkward Thing That I Actually Say: The spicy ones are the best, I think.

Alcohol

Inner Monologue: Am I getting enough mixers? Although, really, how many mixers do you need for bottom-shelf plastic-bottle vodka? I feel like Hawaiian Punch and Tang are a king’s feast. Plus, one more bottle of soda and I’m spending more on mixers than liquor. Should I get wine? What is classy? Pinot… Zinfandel? What’s the one with the kangaroo on it? That one has never steered me wrong. I could just get Boone’s again… but that’s basically Mad Dog, and I’m trying to step up my game. Screw it, I’ll just get Andre.

Awkward Thing That I Actually Say: Umm, where do you all keep your three-dollar champagne?

A Big Box of Super-Absorbent Tampons

Inner Monologue: Yes, yes, zitty teenage boys next to me, I am menstruating. I am participating in the process that allows our species to procreate. This is like The Lion King, and this is the circle of life, and you are Simba, and I am the family of gorillas that raised you, and that judgmental cashier is the Victorian-era hunter that tries to kill me. That’s the plot of that movie, right? Anyway, stop looking at these with such giggly disdain in your faces because one day you will have sex with teenage girls and it’s going to feel like Christmas morning every time she needs to go and get these.

Awkward Thing That I Actually Say: I’ll also take this king-size Snickers bar.

15-Dollar Sparkly Minidress From Forever 21

Inner Monologue: Why is this woman telling me about the return/ exchange policy on this sack of plastic? It is clearly going to be covered in gin and tears by the end of the night, no one is ever going to see this again. “Yeah, I changed my mind about this glittery tube sock you guys are passing off as a dress, I would like to return it.” Right. I’m sure that happens every day. Can they just start being honest about the stuff they sell and market it accordingly? “These are disposable clothes, single use only. Good for 1 (one) humiliating one-night-stand.”

Awkward Thing That I Actually Say: Great, I’ll keep that in mind. Also, do you guys still sell those rhinestone-covered combat boots? Yeah, I’ll take a pair.

Condoms

Inner Monologue: There we go, everyone stare at me like the emotional vultures you are and peck me to death with your judgment. I’m sorry some of us are still enjoying the fruits of our youth; I’m sorry I still have some blood running through my veins. It’s okay, though, because I’m not even actually buying these. Well, I am, but it’s just that… well, I’m a clown and I’m late for a child’s birthday party and I ran out of balloons for the balloon animals. So I have to get these… in a pinch, you know. It’s cute, the kids have the choice between snake, worm, and… penis.

Awkward Thing That I Actually Say: Oh, I don’t need a bag for those. Not… not that I’m going to use them all right away, I just… you know… I have a big purse. Don’t like to waste plastic. Yeah, thanks. Thanks.

Tabloids

Inner Monologue: I don’t have to justify myself to anyone, I read books with many-syllable words all the time, I’m allowed to find out if Kim Kardashian has a baby bump or not. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if you guys think I’m stupid for reading this. I think that I’m intellectually curious, and I have a broad range of interests that spans from linear algebra to Olivia Wilde’s breasts. You don’t know what I’m going to read after this. It could be some John Locke or Rousseau, although if it’s Nicholas Sparks while I’m crying, that doesn’t make me any less of a person. Ryan Gosling has so many striped t-shirts, and if I’m not here to look at them and say how nice his arms look in them, it’s like they never existed. LIKE THEY NEVER EXISTED.

Awkward Thing That I Actually Say: Man, that Emma Stone is really just having her moment, isn’t she? TC mark

image – Keith Williamson

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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