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An Introvert’s Guide to Spending Money*

Written By: - Date published: 1:38 pm, December 29th, 2020 - 30 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags: , , , , ,

*Warning: the following contains material that might upset some retailers

Luckily, for retailers, Christmas shopping has been strong. NZ even set a new record for transactions at 204 transactions per second, which is almost as good as the number of visits per second to The Standard, on a good day at peak time 😉

Spending on Boxing Day bargains was down this year but still strong. Apparently, people have become more particular in their spending but still want that buzz of a “curated experience”. Somehow, this involves the neck strain of continuously looking down on tiny screens of the latest models of so-called smart phones. My idea of a smart phone is a simple cheap and small device with unlimited battery life that can send and receive TXT messages and actual calls, no more, no less. These are almost as hard to find as second hand manual cars.

To me, shopping malls are some kind of dystopian world. There are generally (as in: always) too many people and with unruly kids running amok burning off pent-up energy after marathon sessions on a gaming device and a sugar rush thanks to a junk food infusion. Malls have their own controlled microclimate, in which they carefully control temperature and ambient light levels and block all sounds from the outside world, be it wind & rain, bird song, or traffic noise. It makes you feel that time passes slower. In the surreal world of shopping malls, you occasionally get a sensory overload from shops that have ghetto blasters on full – an introvert’s senses are very easily and quickly overloaded to breaking point. I bet shopping malls also control gravity to make you walk slower but your shopping trophies weigh less. They are cunning bastards and I would not put it passed them.

Of course, I cannot avoid shops altogether. So, once every fortnight I strap on my mental medieval knight armour (none of that modern Kevlar stab-proof shit) and mount my manual for doing the groceries at one of the local supermarkets. PAK’nSAVE is my favourite hunting ground. The battle plan is, as always, to time it well to avoid traffic, a parking lot with too many SUVs and people-movers driven by people who cannot park with unruly kids that run amok, too many shoppers and not enough trollies, and long queues. However, when it is too quiet, after the rush, the shelves are severely depleted by marauding shoppers and the restacking reserves have not yet arrived. The battle plan is always (!) foiled and defeated; timing is everything in life.

After years of careful observation I have seen a pattern, it could be apophenia, but I reckon that the shortest queue at the checkouts is almost never the fastest!? I tend to select one with a check-operator who does not look like she needs a break and a pay-rise, but let’s be fair, they all need a break and a pay-rise.

Grocery shopping is unavoidable unless you do it on-line and get it delivered at home. But this misses one crucial aspect, which is the curated experience of seeing other people. For this exact reason, I love to go out for a coffee – we all need coffee – or lunch or dinner once every blue moon. It is much better than opening Christmas gifts because there is the critical element of the unexpected and surprise. For example, what will be the Specials on the Blackboard? Watching and listening to other people, with neck strain, and the general hustle & bustle of a restaurant is what draws me there, time after time, and I never get enough of it. Good honest food and a few drinks are a bonus. Good company helps too. I think it is money well spent.

If you are so inclined and a good organiser, which I am not, you can instead put on a BBQ for the neighbours. Very enjoyable, especially when somebody else organises it, much cheaper than going to a restaurant – and no issues with getting breath-tested on the way home unless you take the ‘long way’ – and not too many unruly kids that run amok. Nevertheless, I prefer the adventure of venturing out of my safe bubble that is my comfort zone, occasionally, and the cat needs a break from me too, from time to time. When I come back home, I turn on my device and check out the weather report for the next day and what’s been happening on The Standard. Life is good. And feed the cat, of course, otherwise it runs amok.

When you spend your money, which you have earned by toiling all year, spend it wisely, on something that sparks joy, and which gives you a curated experience.

30 comments on “An Introvert’s Guide to Spending Money* ”

  1. Eating generally tends to be a pleasurable experience and worth spending money on.

    Last New Years Eve I took my wife the the Christchurch Casino for a meal – their $40 buffet. The girl on the EFTPOS machine must have been new to the job for she charged us 80 cents rather than $80. I only noticed this when I happened to glance at the receipt between trips to replenish my plate, but spent the rest of the meal expecting a tap on the shoulder.

    It never came, but we went through to the gaming hall and gave all the bonus money back on the pokie machines!

    • Rosemary McDonald 1.1

      That girl on the EFTPOS machine could very well be hauled over the coals when it is discovered that 'x number of diners' does not reconcile with the day's takings.

      Of course the casino can afford it…but you're forgetting who will be held responsible for the shortfall.

      Do the right thing and go back and make good.

    • Jester 1.2

      I would have owned up at the time and advised them I had been under charged, but that's just me.

    • Obtrectator 1.3

      Isn't it actually an offence now not to point out an obvious error like this, as soon as you spot it?

      In any case I'd have stumped up. I've lost my wallet on four different occasions (twice here, once in Hawaii and once in Hong Kong). It was returned to me, contents fully intact, every single time. When the Fates have built that sort of credit balance with you, you don't go trying to up it unnecessarily.

  2. Treetop 2

    I find this time of year great to buy manchester and good quality. I picked up 3 bath mats $10 each which would have cost $35 each. Then I found hand towels buy 1 and get 1 free. It is not hard to match colours up.

  3. alwyn 3


    That is the second time you have used that word since Xmas day. I have never seen it before, and I admit I had to look it up in the dictionary.

    I may be exhibiting the characteristics it describes but I don't think that the time interval is a coincidence. Its appearance is clearly due to that event. Was it in your Xmas cracker instead of a joke?

    As an example of what I consider to be a smart phone I would recommend my own. It was made by ZTE and happily makes phone calls, lets you send and receive texts and takes surprisingly good photos. No Apps of course and you remain free of Google but at a total price of $5.00 I think it is all I, or anyone else, really needs. It has been running happily for some years now. I only had to get it because WA dropped 2G support back in 2017. Bastards. 2G seemed fine to me.

    • Andre 3.1

      Does it have a rotary dial?

      • Treetop 3.1.1

        It could have a speed dial function.

        It was a sad day when I gave up my little reliable screenless Nokia. I have kept it, it could be worth something more than the $19 it cost. It was still working well when I retired it.

      • Treetop 3.1.2

        I checked up rotary dial. In the US they still operate and probably here as well. At least your fingers would get a workout.

    • Incognito 3.2

      It’s a great word! It has appeared in 6 comments and 1 post on this site, but I came across it in a great article that McFlock linked to here: https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-22-12-2020/#comment-1772131.

      As an introvert, I don’t ‘do’ Christmas crackers; I never get those ‘jokes’ anyway 🙁

      I used to borrow my Mum’s old Nokia phone. It had no camera and no Apps, as it was just (!) a mobile phone. The battery charge literally lasted weeks, maybe it was a dilithium crystal battery. It still works but has become obsolete because of network ‘upgrades’. It was almost perfect!

      • shanreagh 3.2.1

        As an introvert, I don’t ‘do’ Christmas crackers; I never get those ‘jokes’ anyway

        Oh I don't know Incognito…….although my Christmas cracker did not have a joke in it (for shame) my partner's did and I really perhaps was a bit OTT my reaction to his cracker joke

        Knock knock

        Who's there?


        Arthur who?

        Arthur any mince pies left?

    • RosieLee 3.3

      But can you get the covid tracer app on it?

    • mikesh 3.4

      I still have somewhere an old 2G Nokia. I am told Vodafone are the only provider still supporting 2G. Is this true, or are there others?

  4. ken 4

    Don't waste your money on good or bad shit……grow your own.

    • Treetop 4.1

      What sorta shit is it that you grow?

      If it is gherkin plants I touched a stalk on a nice plant doing well and it broke on the stem. I barely touched it. Still learning to grow some veges. Garden needs some sun as the tomatoes are not looking to good. The cooler climate veges are doing really well this year.

    • gsays 4.2

      As I have found out, the golden rule of the goat is true.

      Suddenly untethered, the goat will always eat the plant that you value most.

      Last time, it was the lemon tree. This time, it was an ornamental tomato that was showing a LOT of promise…

    • mary_a 4.3

      @ ken (4) … I take it you are referring to the green 'weed'?

  5. gsays 5

    I forget who said it, but it stuck with me, every dollar you spend is a political decision.

  6. Anne 6

    Lunch time is a good time to go to the supermarket – say around 1:00 and 1:30 pm. People are getting hungry and rushing off home. The best thing about it is you can then go to a nearby café and have a spot of lunch yourself and listen into other people's conversations while reading the newspaper courtesy of the café. Surprising what you can learn from them.

    As far as the check-out is concerned, you need to traverse all of them and choose the one with the least amount of goods in the trolleys. Usually works unless you have some moron who waits until the last moment to pull out their credit or eftpos card and them can’t find it.

    • Incognito 6.1

      What do you do when there’s one trolley that is filled to a pile high and another queue with a couple of half-filled trolleys? Toss a coin?

      • Anne 6.1.1

        Yes – a metaphorical one. Sometimes you wins and sometimes you loses.

        Not really worth the effort is it.

    • Jester 6.2

      It seems to be Murphy's law, that I always choose the slowest checkout.

    • RedBaronCV 6.3

      8.00pm on a saturday evening. No customers plus restocking for sunday is underway. Checkouts – all two of them are free. Of course nothing spells "no mates" more openly if you have nothing else to do then.. Other wise there is usually a checkout lull between 9.00am and around 9.30am weekdays.

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