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time travel from the norms
Daily musings #618- Sunday, 6 November 2022
I have not been to our neighborhood Walmart Supercentre in nearly three months coupled with the fact that I have been traveling for the last several weeks.
I was in for an enormous surprise on today’s shopping visit. The whole layout had been changed to a more modern-looking format. This is a format that is already prevalent and tested in the US, but hey, we Canadians get these layouts about ten years late, but then again that is not the point of today.
It is the feeling that I was in a brand new store. The comfort from the local store that I have been frequenting for over 15 years was gone. Yes, over the years the layout had changed, a little here and a little there. Seasonally goods move around from one area to another area. But these are little things.
There were two factors. Firstly, I was constantly looking for the stuff where I used to find them earlier. Slowly walking through the aisles I am now registering the new layout and it is going to take more than a few visits to sink in and register in muscle memory. Secondly, we are in really different times. After years of slow inflation growth, the prices were shocking. Everything was repriced. Literally, it was like I had time-traveled to a different time in terms of prices.
Being on the autistic spectrum, one of my strengths is the fact that I knew the prices (and the trends) for a variety (hundreds) of grocery products in different shops fairly accurately. Now, I have to reprogram all these prices at different shops all over again as these prices rapidly evolve. Moving locations adds a level of complexity to this due to the newness of patterns that I have to now register on top of the price changes. In reality, these things don’t matter, but it is discomforting.
We as humans are indeed wedded to our comfort zones. It is nice to know what is where even in a large shop. It is nice to have predictable prices that we can evaluate to apply our decision-making rules. Today I experienced the discomfort zones and it was a different experience. But then again, we are programmed over time to move back to our comfort zones by repetitive programming of the same information where we are once more no longer surprised as it becomes the status quo. And we can revert back to muscle memory.
I enjoyed my discomfort zones today and I am guessing you do so too in certain contexts and situations.