Remember That There Are Usually Other Choices

It’s easy to just accept the default options we are given when making a purchase. Doing so can make things less complicated (such as when installing software), freeing up our time and energy to think about things that matter more to us.

But sometimes the default options aren’t what’s best for our particular situation. In those cases, it’s good to remember that we don’t necessarily have to accept them. We can make other choices, either on our own, or by asking for additional options if they aren’t readily apparent.

Let me give you an example. Our local store sells cherries in 2-3 lb plastic bags. While I certainly could scarf down a few pounds of cherries in 2 or 3 days before they went bad — I love them that much — my stomach would not appreciate it.

So when I buy cherries, I first look to see if any of the prepackaged ziplock bags are half-empty. If not, I unzip one of them, tear off a bag from the nearby roller, and fill my own little bag with an amount that I actually can eat. There’s no need for me to pay for extra cherries that will just go bad before I can eat them.

A customer walked by recently while I was in the process of doing this. He told me that I was stealing someone else’s cherries, since they would now get less. I was dumbfounded. Cherries are priced by weight. So both myself and a future customer who perhaps couldn’t eat a giant bag of cherries would both get exactly what we paid for.

That’s when I wondered how many other people just assume that they have to buy the entire bag of cherries.

It’s easy to slip into just assuming that things are what they are, without realizing that there are often other options. So if the default options aren’t what’s best for your situation, see if you can’t find additional ones. Don’t automatically accept things by default.


  • Dan

    I occasionally wonder about the ethics of this, but I do similar things in the produce department. The reason I wonder if that I know sometimes things can be priced at a lower per-pound price if they know they will sell at least X pounds in the transaction. But my local store often has little “tote bags” of apples at a discounted price (99 cents per pound). We can’t go through that many apples in a week. I will usually remove a third of the apples from the bag before I put it in the cart.

    • Hm, the store I go to has a big sign that says $x per pound or whatever over the bin filled with plastic bags of cherries. They’re not specials, which would seem different to me too.

  • I have never even thought of doing that – what a great idea. I always end up wasting grapes because they come pre packaged. Thanks for the tip!

  • That is a pretty interesting point about that kind of food being charged by weight.

    I never really considered breaking them apart because they are in a bag. I’m not gonna lie, this really blew my mind as to why I never thought outside the box (or bag) like that.

    I always just look for bag with the least amount but i still end up getting more than I want. This is going to save me so much wasted food and money.

    Great post.

    • and yea I know that saving money on cherries wan’t the point of the post but it really opened my eyes. So that was a great example.

      • Glad you found the idea helpful. I should note that I only do that on the kinds of bags that aren’t priced. Some stores have fruit pre-packaged like that, but each bag is already priced, so it doesn’t work in those situations.

  • It’s amazing how many people don’t realize how they pay for foods. I think it’s a common mistake to think the item being sold is by package instead of pound or unit.

    • I guess that makes sense, since we’re used to things being sold by the package in other areas of the grocery store.