As you leave your last night class, you start to see the snow flurries. You think that school will be closed and that you don’t have to go to your 9 am. That also means the dining hall might not open and the only thing you have in your room is an open bag of chips.
This calls for a quick shopping trip. The first thing you grab is the last bag of bread and carton of milk. Why on earth do they all go? Why did you even grab the bread and milk when you could have gotten some microwaveable food? There are a couple of reasons according to science why we do this.
Stockpiling is all in your head
This article from How Stuff Works talks about the psychology around stockpiling. Basically, why you mentally feel the need to buy a bunch of stuff. Bread and milk are known as perishable foods, after a week or so they can go stale. Well, that expiration date is key. By having food that you know will eventually go bad, your brain tells itself, “hey, this storm’s gotta end because I’m all out of fresh bread.” Your brain is calming itself with the thought that the storm will be over soon and your life will return to normal.
Maybe I’m overthinking this, but maybe we could be buying all this perishable food simply out of habit. As humans, we go through a routine every day. We walk or drive the same way to class, we may even sit in the same seat daily. Routines make us feel comfortable. When a storm hits, it messes with this routine. We can’t go to class, drive our car, or go shopping. So before the storm hits, we go in to retrieve what we need to survive – bread and milk.
Helping a neighbor
Other times, we just want to be a hero. We might buy bread and milk to help others in this time of crisis. If your next door neighbor forgot to get what they need or couldn’t get to the store, you got their back – that is if you share food.
Whatever your reason is buying bread and milk is something that happens. Remember, if you see snow on the forecast – run to the store as fast as you can.