Meal Kit Delivery Service

I’m perfectly fine with cooking (although my roommates throughout the years will attest that I hate, with a pathological zeal, chopping vegetables) but I have always dreaded grocery shopping. I have an Excel program that automatically generates my shopping list based on the meals I want to eat that week, and I then organize my list by the different sections in the store and shop multiple times a week in order to minimize the volume of groceries needed, but none of that changes the fact that grocery shopping is, for me, a kind of mental and physical torture I must willingly and regularly submit to. So I have for a long time coveted meal kit delivery services such as Blue Apron, telling myself that as soon as I could fit it into my budget, I would give it a try.

When we moved to our new home, we received a lot of “Welcome to the Neighborhood” coupon mailers from local businesses and, inexplicably, online services, including Hello Fresh. I jumped at the chance to free myself of the burden of grocery shopping and immediately cashed in the “First Three Meals Free” coupon, as well as the “$45 off our Wine Subscription Plan” add-on, because I’m an adult.

Let me tell you, it has been worth it, but not in the “They Sponsor My Podcast” way that you’ve heard from a billion other people by now. I knew how to cook before, but I can now say with authority I did not know what to cook. Over the past few months that Ben and I have enjoyed Hello Fresh, we have discovered three different cheeses that have revolutionized our eating habits, and I have developed strong opinions on the varieties of couscous, which I had previously only eaten once in my life. I put arugula and baby spinach on almost everything now and I want to make local friends specifically so I can invite them over to dinner.

I do some arguably nefarious things to keep the price down because my proximity to grad school has made me incurably cheap. This is why they will never sponsor any podcast I create. But I consider my actions akin to coupon cutting in the internet age, so I quickly forgive myself. I rate this millennial trend three out of five stars.

Excessive Online Shopping

Between my laziness, extreme social anxiety, and eternal quest for the best deals, I find myself buying some questionable things online. I consider an online purchase questionable if it meets any of the following criteria: 1) it is sold at a store that is within five miles of my house 2) it is not on sale and I do not have a coupon code 3) it contains a living thing.

I live near a Target, a Home Depot, a Half-Price Books, and a Kohl’s, so almost everything I order online fits in the first category. I’m currently waiting for a package, scheduled to arrive today, that will have a watering can for my indoor plants. I’m sure they sell those nearby, but when I was at Target on Friday, I didn’t find them, and I couldn’t be bothered to drive literally down the street to the Home Depot, so I found a cheap one on Amazon. It was an add-on item, so I finally had an excuse to also buy the Crayola Model Magic and Rubbermaid containers that had been sitting in my cart for weeks. Those things are also sold at Target but had been out of stock when I looked last month. None of these things was on sale, so criterion number two was also instantly met. However, I do have the Chrome Extension called “Honey” that automatically searches and applies all available coupon codes, and it is usually able to get me five percent or so off, just not this time.

The only thing that has ever fulfilled the third criterion was when I ordered two live Lemongrass plants for my backyard. The picture online was deceptively large and luscious, and the shabby little tufts are not doing so well now that they’ve been transplanted, so I have some regrets about this purchase. Next time I’ll just have to suck it up and drive to the plant nursery down the road. It’s a less-than-five-minute drive. I rate this millennial trend one out of five stars.

My Local Public Library

As much as I hate to leave my house, I, like Abby, need a home away from home. When I was in Pittsburgh, I needed a place to meet classmates for group projects, a place that was preferably homey enough and comfortable enough that I wouldn’t mind staying for a few hours. Now that I’m “self-employed” in Texas, I need a place to meet potential tutoring clients, as well as random people from the internet who I hope will be my friends (a different topic for a different time; don’t @ me), a place that is safely public and innocuous enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m making a statement by suggesting it.

I own a lot of books, though obviously not as many as I’d like to, since my home library hasn’t yet reached Beauty and The Beast level impressiveness. But I don’t actually like buying books without having read them first, so I’m not moving very quickly to fill in the gaps (at least not without feeling a lot of shame). So I need a place to go where I can shamelessly fill my arms with an aspirational pile of books and then sit cozily while I work through which ones I actually want to take home.

The public library perfectly fits both of these holes in my life. I can even download ebooks and audiobooks from my local library website on those days when leaving my house feels like tedious and meaningless labor. I take my second-grade tutee to the library after school, and she runs around finding book after book that strikes her fancy, such that most of my job is done with little effort by me. The librarians in the children’s section are beginning to know me, and we have a transactional relationship that involves me entertaining a few stray children with aforementioned Crayola Model Magic to keep them from fighting over the Read-Along iPads.

I wouldn’t have thought to review this behavior as particularly millennial, except that the majority of the other people I see at libraries are either parents with young children or people around my age, or the increasingly-occurring crossover. Maybe it’s because we’re recently out of school where libraries are so universally necessary, or maybe it’s because we yearn for spaces where we don’t have to buy a latte to earn our seat. Regardless, I rate this millennial trend five out of five stars.

*This entire post has been, low-key, a plug for one of my new favorite podcasts, Anthropocene Reviewed, which publishes new episodes on the last Thursday of every month. Check it out wherever fine podcasts are sold.

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