The Obligation to Buy Something

I have a certain complex that some people find weird. On the other side of the coin, I am sure other people find it justified and practice it as well. To put it simply, I can’t frequent certain businesses without buying something because of my fear that people will perceive me as rude.

Take for example yesterday. I frequented eight stores in a wild goose hunt to find potato chips. Seven of the stores I went inside did not have the sole product I was looking for. Out of those seven stores, five of them were either convenient stores or pharmacies. Right when I walked in the person working the counter saw me walk in and look like a complete idiot as I searched fruitlessly for the #DoUsAFlavor Lay’s potato chips. When I realized that I was at a dead end I couldn’t just walk out of the store. I felt compelled to buy something, either a pack of gum or a bottle of water.

I can’t help it. I feel like the store employees think of me as a weirdo, a shoplifter, or a cheapskate when I walk in a store and then immediately walk out empty handed. In order to avoid this uneasiness I usually always make sure to purchase something.

It gets even worse for me at an establishment such as a restaurant or bar. Many times I will have already ate or had planned to eat a nice meal a little bit later when a friend asks me to please meet them at a certain restaurant. Feeling like I can’t refuse I drive to the restaurant telling myself I am not going to order anything. But then like clockwork I enter the place, take a menu, and order something. I hate myself for it but I can’t resist. I don’t want to be that guy who goes to Red Lobster and when the server comes to take the order awkwardly say, “Ah you know what, I think I am just here to hang out.”

Most servers won’t even hide their disgust for such a stunt. If you pull that you can expect an eye roll and the silent treatment for the rest of the time you are sitting in that booth. I can’t handle that. I don’t want the scorn from the restaurant staff and to be honest I am just too nice of a person. I want to make everyone happy, even if it means at the expense of wasted money, an overload of calories, and a killer stomachache.

Same goes for a bar. If someone pleads for me to meet them at a certain neighborhood hangout I feel obligated to order something even if all I wanted to do was drink glass after glass of water at my apartment. Whether it be a beer or a fancy non-alcoholic drink I feel compelled to spend money on something and tip the bartender. It is just my self-conscious and people pleasing nature that takes over.

Supermarkets and stores in the mall are places where I feel comfortable walking out while not paying a dime. But if I walk into a small convenient store where I am watched from the time I walk in to when I walk out or if I enter a service industry location you can bet my wallet is coming out. I don’t know if this will ever change. Don’t Blink.