Women are usually the ones who succumb to the lure of the big bulk stores, buying pump soap by the gross and canned tuna by the case, but this time a man has gone and done it. A male friend visited a big bulk store, bought industrial size cans of tomatoes and beans, drove home and made 15 gallons of chili.
He has a picture of it on his cell phone and is happy to show you. A big gleaming silver pot sitting on the stovetop.
"Where'd you get a pot that big?" I ask.
"Turkey fryer," he answers, with a look that says he thought I would have known that.
Does the guy have a large family that will eat 15 gallons of chili, you ask? He's married to a slender wife and they have one toddler boy and a baby girl.
Does his wife like chili? Hard to say, she's a little stunned right now and having trouble making sentences.
Does the toddler like chili? He did until Dad added two entire cans of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and thereby gave the chili a four-alarm flame rating.
Is the fellow who made the 15 gallons of chili a hungry guy? If he was, he's not anymore.
It's really not a mystery. It is just a case of one more shopper falling prey to the enticement of the big bulk.
My sister-in-law shopped the big bulk stores when their two boys were at home and bought shampoo and conditioner in bottles so large you had to wear a back brace and use both arms to hoist them. Ditto for the big bulk mouthwash. Honestly, I don't think the boys could lift it; I think they sucked it out with a straw. The size of everyday toiletries my sister-in-law stocked was astounding, but I will say this: those boys had clean hair and fresh breath you could smell a block away.
Bulk stores make you crazy. They make you crazy by design because when you are crazy, it is easier to separate you from your money.
Why yes, I really do need a gallon jug of Hershey syrup and a 10-pound box of Ghirardelli brownie mix. "Throw four of them in the cart honey we're saving money now!"
Bulk stores make you think big and buy big. And then you regret big. Take the crate size box of fresh spring mix lettuce leaves. It is the never ending salad, day after day after day, week after week. For six months those lettuce leaves refuse to wilt, discolor or go limp. You're at a loss as how to get rid of them. "Who would like some lettuce on their cereal this morning?"
You buy a small, sensible bag of lettuce leaves your family can eat at one meal and they turn brown between the grocery store and the refrigerator. This is the law of buying bulk: the more likely you are to get sick of the product you over bought, the longer is it likely to last.
The friend with the chili is still enjoying it. His wife is packaging it in containers to store in their upright freezer which, coincidentally, they also sell at the big bulk store.
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