Getting Stuck In a Takeout Hole

nicole refrigerator

In the past two weeks, I’ve spent $98.31 on restaurant food and Eat24 takeout.

This is not including my three-day trip to Portland, by the way. This is food I bought just for me, to be eaten alone.

What happened? I got stuck in a takeout hole.

A “takeout hole,” which might be a term I just invented because I didn’t see anything like it online, is when you run out of food and can’t make it to the grocery store for whatever reason. Being human, you still need to eat—which means you order one takeout meal after another as you try to figure out when you’re going to be able to buy groceries.

The “hole” part is because the takeout food also lets you postpone buying the groceries. I spent several hours, over the past two weeks, waiting for various takeout orders to arrive. I could have spent that time putting on shoes and walking to the little convenience market down the street, which is more expensive than buying food at the grocery store but is less expensive than paying $24 to Eat24, and you can get a lot of sandwiches out of a bag of white bread and some peanut butter.

But then the takeout arrives, and it generally lasts for two meals, which means you find yourself right in the same place 24 hours later: done with work, hungry for dinner, and way too hungry to go to the grocery store and buy everything and come back and put it all away and then cook. You’re so hungry all you can do is sit in front of your laptop watching Netflix.

In my case, there were a few unanticipated circumstances: first, I planned to take that trip to Whidbey Island before I went to Portland, so I was very good about eating all of the perishable food in my apartment so it wouldn’t go bad while I was away. (I even ate all the non-perishable food too. Just to be thorough.) I could have pulled myself out of the takeout hole and gone on a quick grocery run, but then I got sick and ordered even more takeout.

And then, when I came back from Portland, you know what I did instead of buying groceries? Signed a lease on an apartment (day 1) and went on a long walk (day 2). I am sure that FitBit would say “Hey, guess what is even healthier than walking around? NOT BUYING RESTAURANT FOOD.” But that’s why they don’t have talking FitBits yet, and why I picked sushi instead of standing in line at the self-checkout.

But I’m going grocery shopping today. I have to. The takeout hole ends right now.

 

This piece is part of a series examining our financial vices.

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