I stopped myself from going to the grocery store at 10:52 PM tonight.
I forced myself to remember what happened the last time I went grocery shopping so late. It seems that if I am in a grocery store between the hours of 9:00 PM and 11:00 AM, I abandon all reasonable shopping logic and revert to a technique used by psychopaths and the elderly. I begin to put all sorts of things in my cart and when the basket is about a quarter full, I begin to imagine the sum of the items and, at random, begin to trade out items and put things back.
First of all, there is a certain shame that goes along with being seen putting an item back. It either gives those watching you a sense of superiority that they can easily afford whatever they want OR a wave of pity because you are the one having to put something back.
The embarrassing thing is I don't have to put anything back. I could just as well keep it in my cart. I have a grocery stipend. However, I am the type of person who looks at that canister of POM juice and sees three dollars that could go toward an unforeseen emergency. Someone's leg just broke!? NO WORRIES, I have three extra dollars in my account because I decided not to buy a bottle of pomegranate juice.
I will repeat this ritual with several items in my cart before I am satisfied with a mediocre batch of groceries. During my last nighttime grocery trip, it got so bad that the Kroger employees began following be around the store to see if they could catch me shoplifting. However, they soon saw that I wasn't going to steal anything; rather, I was picking up item after item and then returning to each item's respective lane ten minutes later to put it back or trade it out for the generic. They began taking bets, bets, as to which item I would put back next.
For a final purchase of about fifteen to twenty items, this process takes about an hour and a half.
... I did not make eye-contact with anyone at the counter.