Mob Mentality

I never know I have mob mentality. Probably due to my sloth personality and my dislike of physical activities, my mob mentality has never had a chance to manifest itself. Well, not until recently. Finally the pandemic has unleashed my inner mobster, if not in anything else, at least in buying things. I bought so much stuff that my shelves and my refrigerator are packed to the brim, completely defeating all my previous efforts at de-cluttering. What’s the point of watching Marie Kondo’s videos and throwing away those items I hardly use, only to see all the vacated spaces being filled up again, several months later, by the panic purchases?

When one sees a fellow shopper with an armful of boxed items pushing her cart, which has been filled up to a precarious height, one admires the ardor and enthusiasm, one immediately thinks something worth possessing is being sold out, one feels the adrenaline rush to fill one’s arm and one’s cart to the same bulging extreme. I know this feeling is ridiculous, the imitation contemptible, the result embarrassingly uncivilized. I did restrain myself and my rational reasoning worked hard to quench any wild primitive instinct. Still, I bought twice or three times the stuff that I would usually buy. If I’d not had years of education to train me to repress my instinct to serve a longer, probably unattainable, purpose, I would likely have bought four, five, or six times more stuff and live my life like a hoarder ever after.

There’s a rumor that all the Asian grocery stores are going to be closed. This rumor came on the heel of another rumor that many of the the Asian grocery delivery service, which serves restaurants and stores, have stopped. This rumor came from a reliable source–a restaurant owner who’s a friend of my friend–so it should be considered true even if it sounds like rumors. But why? Considering all the other grocery stores are having booming business and are obviously having their supply chains largely unharmed, except for toilet papers and sanitizers, I can’t imagine why the Asian grocery delivery service should be disrupted. There’s no explanation.

So what I just observed is very likely to stem from the above rumors. A lady in front of me was checking out in the grocery store with her cart full of items. I was about to put my stuff on the checkout belt–I could have done it a bit earlier, but my attempt at keeping a good social distance prevented me–when I found that she had another cart full of grocery items, which was parked at the adjacent empty checkout counter, which I didn’t know belonging to her. How did she move around the store pushing two fully loaded carts? It was beyond my comprehension. Soon I began to comprehend the situation a little better when a guy stepped over to be with the lady from inside the store, with another armful of items. I realized the two of them must have pushed one cart each, the guy going back to get more stuff while the lady doing the checkout. Despite my reasoning, I felt lucky that he’s not pushing a third card even if I didn’t think anybody is capable of pushing two shopping carts at once. Then another hassle arrived when the lady started to busy herself with the plastic bags, looking into each of the bags and putting several bags on the floor. So it seemed to me that she and her male friend were not only shopping for themselves, but also for another person that was not present.

I stared in total amazement at the ten bottles of oyster sauce she bought and numerous spices in various sized packages and containers. One uses these things sparingly. I can’t even finish one bottle of oyster sauce in a year and it would take more than ten years to finish the ten bottles. If the virus crisis subsides in a month or two, she would be stuck with all the seasonings and sauces. It almost made me religious–I prayed to God to make the virus go away just to disappoint the hoarders.

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