I run a lot of errands to the grocery store. I pick up items like milk for my kids or spices for an upcoming meal. Almost always, though, I find myself at the checkout line looking directly at chocolate bars and sodas. I find myself increasingly drawn to buy them. I pick up a payday or a Kit Kat. I consume whatever it is by the time I get to the car. I feel a sense of entitlement to these items because I went on the errand. I earned these things.
And that is what an impulse buy is for me. It is something that I feel entitled to under the right circumstances. The rest if the time, I only look at those items, able to resist their intense attraction.
I think about the many other impulse items in my working and waking life. I think about the distractions after a nice bout of email responses. I think about a little Twitter fix or a few text messages. These are the sugary sweet moments that I feel entitled to just like those chocolate bars.
I feel as though that is what Facebook has become, what nearly all social games are. They are the things that we do in-between the really important stuff, on errands from the rest of our life. It is only when the social networks become more than impulse foods that our judgement becomes truly clouded as to what is healthy and what isn’t. When the junk food becomes what we fill up on, priorities get skewed.
It isn’t as though I am saying that it is all junk. I just know how sweet and addicting finding a voice outside of my own physical sphere of influence can be. I know how easy it is to spend hours looking into old friends or going down the rabbit hole of followers of followers of followers. If it is more than an impulse buy for me, the impulses win and there is no plan. I never get back home to make the recipe or fill my children’s bellies. And that isn’t the way I want to live, not online and not at the grocery store.