A few months into the covid-19 pandemic, when social distancing ordinances and lockdowns became commonplace, I noticed that a lot of people were online shopping. OK, fine, no shit Sherlock, what an observation, but it really did feel like those of us who managed to maintain gainful employment during the disaster that was 2020 were buying a lot of unnecessary product, well beyond Clorox wipes and toilet paper, for some inconceivable reason—we were purchasing fire fits only the cashier at the grocery store would ever get to see, clothing we refused to remove our sweat pants to try on; we thrifted nonessential items online knowing full well that an essential worker had to deliver to it, potentially endangering himself like he does all day for, ideally, more responsible shoppers. (That last one is all me.) And then, after a while, the desire to buy a bunch of worthless junk subsided—quarantined existence leveled out, for better or worse, and time was filled with baking bread or binge-watching TV. And yet, my dear friends, 10 months after retreating into my apartment, I feel the capitalist pang of desire filling my soul once again. I scour the internet for things I don’t need until I want them, and then I fight the urge to buy them. This time, I’m concerned I’m no match for the consumerist culture I was born into. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I really want a luxury lunchbox.
I don’t know exactly how I stumbled up the Modern Picnic monstrosity you see before you, but I know I can’t stop thinking about it. For just $149.00, I can be the proud owner of a “Black Faux Crocodile... modern reinvention of the traditional lunchbox made of a premium vegan leather exterior with an insulated interior in a chic and classic silhouette.” It is glorious, I can eat out of it, and I think it might be a solid investment—save for the fact that I no longer have an office to commute into, and therefore have no real need for a lunchbox. Even the picnic the brand name suggests feels far removed from reality: what, I’m going to go on a picnic alone? Do I need to buy two of these suckers to dine—at a safe distance—with a friend? I’m most certainly not going to do that. And let it be known that the only items I can justify spending over $100 on are plane tickets, health care, and 40-year anniversary box sets from beloved German cold wave bands. The lunchbox does not fit in any of those categories. And yet, I love the damn lunchbox.
So, should I take the plunge? Should I buy this lunchbox, or should I recognize my impulsivity for what it is: the pandemic slowly smoothing out my brain, inspiring me to make dumb decisions?