A wise man once said that alcohol is the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. Although the unrelenting eight-hour hangovers you see looming over the heads of Torontonians every Sunday morning may agree with him, bulk food purchases are an equally addictive vice that provide the same impenetrable high and extended bout of severe anxiety as those seven double vodka sodas you accidentally had on a Monday.
For some, a magical place may be where gym memberships are affordable without selling your organs on the black market, where you never have to hear the words, “I’m gluten free” or, “I read the book before the movie” ever again. For others, however, nothing is deemed more magical than a place where you can dance down aisles of gummy bears and mixed nuts. Where barrels of quinoa are mere steps from those giant jawbreakers you broke your teeth on as a kid.
But it’s not all sunshine and chocolate marshmallow clusters. With the unabashed bliss of bulk food shopping comes a dark, malevolent side. Here are the 10 emotional stages of a Bulk Barn shopping experience:
Maybe you just came from Loblaws where the price tag on trail mix appalled you. $7.99? And for what? A measly 350g? It doesn’t even contain pecans! You’ll go through that in one post-workout binge eat.
Or perhaps you’re trying to MacGyver your way through another Pinterest post, making tiny panda shaped desserts out of nothing but Rice Krispies, toothpicks and 3 cups of your pride.
After carefully considering your man trail mix store options (overpriced mixed nuts are ALL the rage these days) you find yourself standing in front of Bulk Barn with a deep sense of wisdom and self-satisfaction. Today is the day you will save money.
You enter feeling like you’ve made a very adult decision. After all, why go to three different grocery stores when you can go to the land that offers bottomless barrels of everything you could possibly need? A place where you’re not constricted by the grocery store confines of predetermined quantities. Damn the man and his, “recommended daily intake.” If you want 3lbs of dill pickle popcorn salt then who’s going to stop you?!
“FREEDOM!” your mind screams. This is the foundation of our great country. The right to freedom of speech and to purchase as much almond bark as you damn well please.
There is no escaping this stage. You came in for nuts and some hummus, should be easy. NOPE. Because on your way to the mixed nuts there’s quinoa and that protein powder you’ve been meaning to get, and B12 vitamins, and since you’re being wise and healthy, why not try almond butter for the first time? Fit people ALWAYS post pictures of almond butter on Instagram, so it must make you immediately skinny.
And hey, since you’re being healthy, you deserve a reward. Chocolate covered almonds? Well those should be ok because it’s DARK chocolate, so it’s good for you. And sour wine gums and gummy coke bottles and mini Crispy Crunch bars and Cherry Blasters just so you have something for guests when they come over to your very adult apartment.
Is that a Spongebob Sqaurepants piñata?! Well that’s worth the $29.99 for the entertainment value alone!
After being pulled in 17 different directions you inevitably start to recognize items you haven’t seen in 20 years. Your internal monologue may go something like this: “Are those Airheads? I didn’t even know they still made Bubbletape! Chupa chups? I used to eat those and pretend to be a Spice Girl. It would be an insult to my childhood if I didn’t pick some of those up. ARE THOSE ROCKETS?! Get in my mouth you pill-like addiction”
This is the stage when you inevitably forget why you came into Bulk Barn in the first place and realize you are already holding 10 bags and none of them contain the only two things you were supposed to purchase.
45 minutes has passed. You’re hot, constantly bumping into people as you stumble down the store’s narrow aisles. You’re lost in the bulk food desert and everywhere you look is a food mirage, demanding you start sampling everything. I mean, the things they cover in chocolate, those can’t all be good right? And what are OMG’s exactly and isn’t it your duty as a consumer to make sure they’re fresh?
At this stage, it’s not really about want anymore. It’s about need. You need to make cupcakes from scratch for the first time in your life today. Do you have a bird? No. Are you buying that organic parrot seed anyway? Yep! Tamari almonds? It would be an abomination not to! Pure Madagascar vanilla extract? Not even sure what the difference is but it sounds so posh it'll probably make those cupcakes taste like they're made from PURE GOLD!
Perhaps the most defining emotional stage of the Bulk Barn shopping experience is Bewilderment, You’ve completely forgotten where you are. You’re holding 23 bags, 19 of which are various kinds of dried fruit and you have no idea where they came from. Are those prunes? What are you, a 92-year-old Portuguese woman? It’s not even Thanksgiving, why are you buying ingredients to make miniature turkeys out of Malteasers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? You don’t even know how to use the oven in your condo; can you make full sized cupcakes in the microwave?
$160?!?!? But you just wanted enough trail mix to get through an episode of Game of Thrones without the usual accompanying sugar-binge and self-loathing.
Well, Bulk Barn got you this time. You leave with three different types of cranberries and having completely forgotten mixed nuts. You tell yourself that next time, you’ll opt for the 350g bags of trail mix designed for the spineless consumer….
… Although, you have been meaning to make that three-tiered cake shaped like a Chinchilla that you saw on Pinterest last week....