After doing the Your Smart Money Moves column for the past seven years, I’ve decided it’s time for me to begin to share some of my observations about life. Some of these will still have to do with money, but a few times per month I’d like to bring you something that will make you think, laugh, or just want to get involved in the conversation.
“Hunger is the physiological need for calories, water, and salt, and it’s driven by a mix of factors including your diet, appetite hormones, and emotional factors such as stress,” says Maggie Moon who is a Los Angeles based nutritionist. What’s most interesting to me is that I’ve never heard anybody say, “I’m so hungry. I can’t wait to get to the airport so I can eat.” In fact, most people tend to try and have a meal at their hotel on vacation or a quick bite at their house before they go to the airport.
Since I travel once or twice a month, I’ve noticed that Airports have become smarter in how they target people to eat when they are at the airport. It isn’t the old bait and switch of Cinnabon’s where they pump that cinammony (my made up word) smell out of the vents to waft you over for a delectable treat of cake and lots and lots of icing. Nope. Airports have gone gourmet today. They have stores loaded with fresh food such at the Food Network store where you can buy all kinds of tasty treats and practically a brewpub or a gastropub at every terminal you run through today.
Even the news stores have become more intelligent. The airport stores pretty much used to carry just flat out junk because they knew we would eat anything we could before boarding the plane. Now, they have sections filled with packaged almonds, cashew crunches, and rows of beef jerky. Of course, they all come with an 800% markup, but what are you going to do about it? Nothing! Pay up and bring your snacks on the plane so you aren’t relegated to having a thimble full of Coke with a sad 1 oz. package of pretzels.
It’s a mystery why we get hungry when we arrive at the airport. It’s not like the snacks in the Delta lounge are anything to write home about, but we have a tractor like pull to make sure we eat at least one plate of snacks and a cocktail no matter whether we ate five hours ago or if we just finished lunch. Could it be that psychologically, we put ourselves in a trance thinking that there will be no food at home or nothing good at the hotel when we get on the ground so we better eat something now? Or, do we convince ourselves that nothing good will be on the plane even if we buy a snack box, so it’s just better that we hit a restaurant and grab a snack now?
I’m no scientist, doctor, or nutritionist, so I don’t have an answer for you, but I do know this. Next time you are at the airport, just stop for a few minutes and observe what’s going on around you. Eating, eating, and more eating. We are always hungry at the airport!