The last drop


Twice a year, I wander around the house changing the time on some of the clocks.

A few of them adjust on their own, which Iím thankful for. A few of them donít, which is fine. And less than a few we donít glance at as often, which is why I usually end up with two or three AA batteries along for the wander. Nothing like being far away from the drawer where the battery stash normally resides, only to realize thatís when you need one because a clock you never look at isnít working.

This year, I began my walkabout and began wondering about how I happened to have only a couple of AA batteries left in the package. Started out as twenty. Felt like I just bought it. And ultimately a bit of this and a bit of that led to it occurring to me that I never seem to see the package half-full. Once in a great while, I do have a new package. But most of the time itís just about empty. And it seems to stay that way for a while.

The first theory that came to mind is fairly simple and direct. I buy batteries when I need them. In fact, there are times when I need them that I wait. Example of what I meanÖ Iíve stopped playing video games because the controller needed new batteries. That isnít a great sacrifice, since I only play two or three times a month. But expand that to include swapping them from another television remote. Or spending an hour trying to find a different flashlight that might still be working rather than just writing ďC batteriesĒ on the shopping list. You get the idea, you make it work and you donít buy a new package of batteries.

This delay means that when you do actually buy batteries, you go on a spree of changing them in game controllers, remotes, clocks, flashlights and more. It means that whenever a new package arrives in the house, itís immediately called upon to supply a dozen or so needs. Thus, the result becomes that as soon as you buy batteries youíre basically out again.

I thought that was an interesting idea to bat about for a bit, until I needed some orange juice this morning. Of course, the container was almost empty. And that shifted things. Because we all put back the almost empty container with barely anything there at all.

I had been thinking about batteries and wondering about how I move them around, change what I do for that and other things, and generally just forget to pick something up until I absolutely need it. Orange juice though, thatís a different story. Thatís being too lazy to toss the bottle into the recycling, so maybe you can make it look like there was something left.

I think there are various reasons we donít replace items in our house. Convenience and cost are the likely top causesÖ with some items requiring a special or unexpected trip in order to make a purchase, or others that are simply too expensive at that moment. At times, a pressing need may come into play, where not using something for several weeks doesnít create a rush to purchase it.

Whatever the reason, it strikes me as odd that there are different realities for how we set the priority of replenishing things around the house. And in the latest rush to make every trip to the store one with purpose and need, those reasons become a bit more planned and distinct.

I had a few batteries left after changing the clocks this weekend. So, Iím good and wonít be heading to the store. If you could help a guy out though, pick up some orange juice for me if you get a chance. Thanks.


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