OWINGS MILLS, MD–The insecurities of Wal-Mart shopper Anita Dolger, 40, were laid painfully bare Monday, when her deepest fears and self-doubts manifested themselves in her purchasing choices.
"One look at [Dolger's] shopping cart betrays her deep-seated anxieties about everything from her family's financial outlook to her ability to hold her husband's interest sexually," said psychotherapist and bestselling author Dr. Shari Berman. "From the looks of her cart, that poor woman is hanging on by a thread."
Roughly half of the items filling Dolger's cart were beauty aids, revealing a woman gripped by the fear that her looks are fading. In addition to a tube of Rembrandt whitening toothpaste and a bottle of L'Oreal shampoo for "flat, limp hair" were no fewer than six skin-related items. Among them: a container of Almay Kinetin Age-Decelerating Daily Lotion, a package of Biore pore-cleansing strips, and Tan In A Bottle bronzing spray.
"Based on these three items, it appears that Dolger feels her facial skin is not firm enough, clear enough, or tan enough," said Berman, as she nodded gravely. "If she feels this way about her skin, just imagine how she feels about the rest of her body."
Berman said that Dolger, despite being only a size 11, clearly feels insecure about her weight.
"Let's see… diet soda, sugar-free candy, low-carb meal-replacement bars. We've even got a pair of control-top pantyhose here," Berman said. "This is not a woman who likes what she sees in the mirror."
Judging from the presence of the book Personal Finance For Dummies, Dolger also seems to feel insecure about her family finances.
"Mrs. Dolger's choice of books would be unremarkable if her husband hadn't recently taken a pay cut at work," Berman said. "With two young kids and no real gameplan for paying for their college education, she can't be feeling too happy about that. Then there's her concerns about her own career, which has been nonexistent ever since the birth of Corey, her oldest child. Not good."
The various stresses appear to be taking their toll, as evidenced by Dolger's selection of a Pure Moods CD.
"Pure Moods is one of those 'As Seen On TV' CDs that's a compilation of all this really soothing easy-listening stuff," Berman said. "It's got [Enigma's] 'Return To Innocence' and that 'Sail away, sail away…' song by Enya. Basically, music for women about to lose their shit."
"Looking into this blue plastic cart is like peering into her soul," Berman said. "I see fear for her future and shame over her current economic status in this roll of Sam's Club bargain-brand toilet paper. In these scented candles, I see a desire to escape life."
"What's this?" Berman continued. "Do I spy a springform pan? Anita can just add that to all the others in the cupboard. I know she dreams of being a great chef, but that pan won't change the fact that she'll never muster the lifeforce necessary to cook a gourmet meal."