My Whole Foods Discount Is the Best—Worst?—Mostly Best

Before I started working at Whole Foods last December, I was only an occasional shopper. I went in when I needed something specific, like broccoli rabe or gluten-free cupcakes for a friend’s party. I never wanted to buy more than a few items because I didn’t trust myself. Everything in the store seems like such a good idea—organic, all-natural, so good for you—that I kept myself confined to only the essentials out of financial necessity. My secret fear was that I would go into a shopping trance and wake up in the parking lot with half my bank account missing on a week’s worth of groceries. Like many secret fears, it was based on letting out the worst side of myself.

The Cost of Attending a Weekend-long Improv Comedy Festival in New York

Last summer, I looked out at the audience while performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and saw an entire row of people asleep. That’s what happens at 6:45 a.m. at the Del Close Marathon, an annual weekend-long improv marathon with more than 50 hours of continuous comedy on multiple stages. We were okay with this because we had also crammed a handful of Pittsburgh improvisers into a tiny New York apartment, saw some really great shows, and had a blast.

Working as a McDonald’s Party Hostess Changed My Career Path

Like millions of teenagers, I worked at McDonald’s in high school. I was mostly tasked with cleaning or working the cash register, but a couple months in, I knew what would be best for me. I wanted to be a birthday party hostess.

The Unemployed Extrovert

American culture encourages gregariousness and socializing, and being an extrovert makes going to parties and striking up conversations with strangers nearly effortless. But when you’re the type of person who goes out more often than you stay in, you realize that there’s a cost to being an extrovert. When I lost my job, I had to learn to balance spending as little money as possible with accepting that socializing and stimulation is essential for me to function.