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Side Effects

Richard Quinn  |  May 4, 2020

BEING CONFINED to home—except for trips to the grocery store for “necessities”—is changing me. My frugality has evaporated, my prudent buying habits destroyed, my healthy eating falling by the wayside. What’s happening?

No doubt there is a diagnosis, but in simple terms it’s called stir-crazy—and I’ve got it bad.

I’ve made two trips to the supermarket in the past two weeks. I had a shopping list. But as a result of my affliction, I instead roamed the aisles, on occasion unintentionally violating the one-way arrows taped to the floor. I grabbed what I thought we might need, based on what I’m not sure.

On my first trip, I came home with four containers of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream, whipped cream and bananas.  What was I thinking? Little of what was on my shopping list was available anyway. Besides, as I explained to my wife, with the mask on my face, my glasses fogged up, so I wasn’t really sure what I was buying.

On my second trip, trying to fulfill my wife’s craving for chili and finding no ground beef in the meat section, I resorted to buying eight “gourmet” pre-packaged burgers for $20. Now do you see the extent of my problem? I also left the store with two bags of chips that were on sale and two half-gallons of ice cream (which no longer contain half-gallons), as well as packages of chocolate, rice pudding and two bags of pretzels.

And it isn’t just the shopping. In desperation, I rummaged through the freezer and found a fruitcake from 2018. It was still tasty. Must be the rum.

Given my new shopping habits, you won’t be surprised to learn that my eating habits have also been affected by my isolation. I’ve given up my usual bowl of oatmeal for breakfast in exchange for what the Brits call a fry-up.

I was doing some research on the effects of isolation. When I found a science site with an article on the topic, ads for Omaha Steaks kept popping up. I’ve either made quite the impression with Omaha Steaks with my recent orders—or the science site is visited frequently by dysfunctional people like me.

I also find myself checking my Amazon orders as often as I do my Bloomberg watchlist that tracks my investments, which—by the way—have been performing significantly better. I have, however, resisted checking the scale. You know the phrase “this too shall pass”? That’s my new philosophy.

Richard Quinn blogs at QuinnsCommentary.com. Before retiring in 2010, Dick was a compensation and benefits executive. His earlier articles include How Not to MoveChange Our Ways and Home At Last. Follow Dick on Twitter @QuinnsComments.

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