Size Matters

Women frequently say (to men anyway) that size doesn’t matter. But size matters. It always does.

My quest

The other day, the Houseguest was on the line, calling me from Trader Joe’s where she was doing her big food shop. In spite of our last unfortunate experience co-shopping at Trader Joe’s, she had invited me to tag along with the understanding that I wouldn’t rush her. However, in light of the previous debacle, I decided it was probably safer to let her go it alone.

Anyway, she was calling me because she had found some jojoba oil (I really need to Google how to pronounce that). I had unsuccessfully been on the lookout for some for awhile. But you would have thought it was reserved for the anointing of kings because I couldn’t find it at any of the regular stores. See, I’ve been battling a troublesome skin condition along with dry skin, which was now affecting my ears and making them extremely dry and irritated. After having tried the natural approach for a while (i.e. doing nothing) with poor results, I began experimenting with various oils and ointments trying to find something that worked but with little success.

I didn’t know if the skin condition was causing the dryness or the dryness exacerbating the skin condition, but I figured moisturizing more aggressively couldn’t hurt. So I bought a giant bottle of baby oil and started slathering it on repeatedly throughout the day, which perturbed the Houseguest. She is of the opinion that one should apply skin products in moderation and that the over-application of lotions, oils, and ointments can only lead to further skin issues.

“It’s dab, dab, dab. Rub, rub, rub — gently! You don’t bathe in it till you’re glistening!”

I took exception to her mischaracterization of my baby oil usage. Okay, I used a lot of baby oil, but it’s not as if I was soaking myself in it like I was trying to break out prison by squeezing through a pipe.

Naturally, I didn’t listen to her advice and took the American approach — if a little bit doesn’t work, you’re obviously not using enough. Of course, I did get that nasty ear infection after I went hog wild with the baby oil. But in my defense, the doctor never determined the actual cause of the infection. Either way, I was no longer satisfied with the baby oil’s performance; I’d read about jojoba oil alleviating some skin conditions and figured I might as well give it a try.

To buy, or not to buy

Anyhow, back to the phone call. The Houseguest wanted to know if she should pick up a bottle of jojoba oil on condition of immediate reimbursement. Being on employment hiatus, I asked her how much it cost, and she replied it was $8. Eight dollars seemed a bit pricey considering my restricted budget. For that price, I could get a decent-sized pizza. I wanted to know if it was a large bottle. Yes, she replied, it was the large size, in fact, they only had the one size for sale. Now, I didn’t know if jojoba oil would help my condition or not, but if I was paying $8, at least I wanted to get my money’s worth in volume. And if it worked, I’d be set for a while.

With slight misgivings, I authorized the transaction.

I think there’s been a mistake…

When the Houseguest arrived back at the casa with her haul, she began unpacking her many canvas shopping bags. She was eagerly showing me all her purchases and commenting on the awesome deals and the exciting new things she couldn’t wait to cook herself. Meanwhile, I was busy digging through her bags like a badger looking for grubs, but I couldn’t find my jojoba oil.

“Oh, I hope they didn’t forget to bag it,” she said worriedly. “Oh, no, here it is.”

She set a small bottle down on the table.

small bottle compared to a large bottle
I think we have different definitions of what large means.

I squinted. No. Surely not. That couldn’t be it. The bottle was positively minuscule.

“That’s it?”

Yes, she assured me.

“I thought you were buying the large bottle?”

She informed me that it was, in fact, the large bottle.

“I think we have different definitions of what large is,” I replied. “We need to work on your adjectives.”

“It’s an essential oil. That is the large size! They usually come in tiny bottles. What did you think I was buying you? A gigantic tub of the stuff?”

Actually, for $8, I kind of did.

The value shopper

See, I like to get value out of my purchases, particularly when my cash flow is weak, so when I buy something, size and price is a definite consideration. If it’s a smoking deal, I go for the jumbo version. Think of it this way. When our ancient ancestors had the chance, they’d kill a mammoth over some smaller animal. Then they’d smoke the meat they couldn’t eat to tide them over for the lean months. This way, there was no waste, they’d have plenty to eat, and they wouldn’t have to go out and tackle another mammoth for awhile. When I buy a carton of beef jerky at a warehouse store, it’s the same principle. Kind of.

Of course, buying in bulk when you’re a single guy isn’t always the best strategy, and it caused me some issues back when I was a Costco member. With limited freezer space, I could only get a couple of bulk frozen items for variety. Trust me, after you’ve eaten the same goddamn burrito for lunch and dinner twelve days straight and you’ve still got half a box of them to get through, you start wondering if it’s worth it.

Father knows best

When I lived with my dad, he definitely was not impressed with my bulk purchasing habits. One time, I walked in with a giant box of 500 letter-sized envelopes that took up a lot of shelf space.

box of 500 envelopes
Okay, maybe there’s more than 485 left…

“Why the hell do you need 500 envelopes?” he had said frowning in disapproval. “You don’t even write letters.”

“Other official correspondence,” I sniffed feeling slightly miffed that my father couldn’t see the cost-saving value in my purchase. True, I hadn’t written a letter since my Uncle Hughie had returned to Europe in the late ’80s after twenty years of living in remote African villages. Plus, I didn’t need them for bill paying as I now took care of that online. But that was all beside the point. I would never again be caught without an envelope if I needed one.

“You better hope there’s reincarnation, son. Because I betcha 50 years from now, you still have a box full of ’em. ”

All right, so he might have had a point. I bought them in 2009. Dad died in 2012, and six years later, out of the 500, I have about 485 envelopes left. Anyway, it was still a good deal.

Better than this “large” bottle of jojoba oil.

Copyright: photodeti / 123RF Stock Photo

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