Tammy Swift, Published December 21 2013
Swift: Whirlwind romance leads to heartburn, empty wallet
This is a difficult letter for me to write, especially after all we’ve meant to each other. The past week has been a whirlwind romance. I didn’t know I could still feel this way about someone. But then I fell for your obvious charms.
Your shopping cart that would allow me to push a full-grown Shetland pony up and down your commodious aisles. Your handy 24-pack of Scope. Your friendly and well-toned team members, who shower me with coupons, dole out free samples and offer to fetch me boxes.
Sh-sh-shhhh. Shush, my darling. Don’t stop me from saying this as it is difficult enough. But I think we will have to break up. Here is your 3-carat diamond engagement ring, which I purchased on impulse during your “buy one get one half-price” special. It was only after I got into the parking lot that I realized I would need to sell my car to pay for it.
Also, here is your child-sized leather recliner and your three-pack of Waterpiks. At some point, after it was much too late, I realized that I don’t have children and I only have one set of gums.
I can’t really explain it. I just seemed to lose my head when I was around you. I found myself screaming with joy through your gourmet foods aisle and buying the family pack of black truffles. I bought a wheel of cheese that could double as an ottoman. I seriously considered purchasing a riding vacuum cleaner, even though my townhome is two stories and only 900 square feet on the ground floor.
And that truly gets to the heart of our problem: Communication. We want different things in this relationship. You are a wonderful and perfect place for the family of six or the business-owner who needs to buy a U-Haul of pudding. But I have only so much love – and cash – to give. I am only one woman.
I realize that your prices are incredible, but it’s the volume that gets me. It takes me three weeks to finish one pan of lasagna. The only way I knew I was approaching middle age was when I finally bought my second container of salt. My freezer is tiny. And yet there you are, luring me with the sweet siren’s call of a walk-in dairy section. I don’t need enough eggs to feed an Egyptian army; I just need to make an omelet.
I hope we can still be friends. I will still drive by your brilliant red sign and look at you longingly. I have already plunked down the cash for a year’s membership, so we may occasionally see each other casually.
If I ever need to provide all the food for a cotillion, a royal wedding or a presidential inauguration, I may return. But I will be seeing other people. People who understand that my consumption is small and my bank account limited. People who are willing to sell me just one tube of toothpaste at a time.
So please don’t hold it against me. You must move on. Something tells me you have many more paramours in your lifetime. You are highly seductive and – in many ways – impossible to resist. I hope we can still be friends.
And I truly, sincerely mean it when I say this.
It’s not you. It’s me.
Tammy Swift writes a lifestyle column every Sunday in Variety. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org