What My Coffee Habit Taught Me About Mindless Consumerism

By: Andee Scarantino

(4 min read)

I start most of my days with a half pot of coffee.

I didn’t purchase the coffee I make each morning or the coffee machine that brewed it.

The machine came from my mother back in February. She told me my brother used it only once, and it had been sitting in her basement ever since.

The coffee (Bulletproof, The Original Medium Roast) was gifted to me by my friend Christian a week and a half ago. He made a point to bring it to me on his way to class after reading something I wrote on Instagram.

My frugality with coffee started because I learned to navigate early solopreneurship.

The universe has graciously handled “the last vice” for me for months, as I was committed to not giving it up. (My last bag of coffee was gifted to me by my partner, and the one before it was a gift as well.)

I quit my side jobs last November and thought if I made myself uncomfortable enough, I would become more creative and innovative. (Spoiler: That worked.)

However, in January and February, I understood my $75 per week Nespresso habit, along with ALLLLLL the fancy paper cups of coffee I bought at various places for the sake of buying fancy paper cups of coffee at various places… was absolutely not in the budget.

I spent on coffee what some people spend on a car payment, which was ridiculous.

The coffee habit had to shift.

At first, I was resentful about it. I just wanted to be my bougie ass self and stop into places and buy my coffees and overpriced snacks. I wanted to sit on my computer down at 787 and look like all the other people who futz around on their computers at 787.

But I couldn’t do that. So, I whined and brewed coffee at home.

Months went by.

I noticed myself having “pulls” to buy coffee at random times. Airports, for example, were massive offenders. Do they brew the beans with solid gold?! Also, since when is a bottle of water $4.00? So I started bringing my own bottle.

I realized after a while that my desires weren’t about the coffee or the water but about the act of buying these things.

I was pumped full of consumer dopamine every time I got a fancy cup. Every time I gave someone three bucks for some crappy bean water, I was high as a kite.

And the thing is, I like being high as a kite! “Simple pleasures,” blah blah. It just wasn’t in the budget.

Well… It’s October.

Things are much different financially than they were in January and February as I started expanding the ways I could serve others.

I can afford to buy overpriced coffees now. I just don’t.

Recently, I went to the DMV to renew my driver’s license. The license express is on the 6th and 30th, just a few blocks from a bar I used to work at. Also, near that bar and the DMV is Gregory’s Coffee. I often used to go there after a day shift at the bar to sit quietly to decompress.

After renewing my license, I stopped in and got myself a coffee, a bottle of water, and one of these Peanut Butter Banana Power Bites I like.

This purchase surprised me because I felt nothing when I made it. It didn’t make me happier to buy these things; the coffee, the water, the gooey little date ball. I felt nothing.

This is similar to what happens with a lot of cigarette smokers when they smoke again after not smoking for months.

They expect to get that “feel good feeling,” but that “feel good feeling” was only one of relieving the withdrawal from itself.

I mean… nicotine is a bitch, so most of the time, the ex-smokers become re-addicted after that, but that first cigarette for them is NEVER enjoyable. Why? Because they’re not addicts anymore.

That’s kind of how I felt after buying the coffee and bottle of water. I’m not addicted to that level of mindless consumption anymore, so I didn’t get a jolt.

I don’t confuse it for bringing me pleasure.

I’m not opposed to doing it.

I’ll definitely buy coffee when I’m out with people, and I enjoy people’s company very much.

And I’m still very addicted to coffee. That’s why I start each day with a TON of it.

But unnecessary consumption… even though I can, I’d rather not.                                                                   

Andee Scarantino
All Things Wellness, LLC

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