So today I had to go grocery shopping, an inevitable chore of running a household, of course, and one long overdue after I cleared out the pantry and fridges last week.
It was one of those trips that did not align easily, in fact it was a stressful culmination of a failed online shopping attempt, desperate childcare pleas, a very very full car park and queues at the checkouts. I got home drained, late, lugging ripping thin plastic bags and a very expensive docket receipt.
Perhaps I could just call it a ‘bad day’ but instead I think it was a MOMENT, the kind of experience that is insightful and eye-opening, demanding change.
You see, I’m sitting here reflecting and I can see so clearly that the supermarket and I are no longer compatible.
The bad habits of the supermarket… like it’s awful tendency to overpackage food in an already plastic laden industry… the manipulative marketing… the irritating inability to find what I need… well these habits just really really bother me now.
I feel slightly abused by being forced to pay increasing out-of-my-control prices, leaving my credit card bruised. Specials just aren’t that great anymore, clearance items (which used to be my specialty) barely takes 20% off.
I’ve changed, I’ll admit, since we first got together. I am an avid label reader, and I no longer shop selfishly but cater to the needs and tastes of many. I am juggling a newly diagnosed long list of food intolerances, added to an existing long list, and I find my time in the supermarket frustrating and upsetting.
I used to enjoy grocery shopping (but despise unpacking it so much I’ve been known to leave the still-bagged tin cans on the kitchen floor for 3 days). Now I dread each trip. I feel that I compromise my ethics with every product I pull from the shelf.
I’ve spent the afternoon pondering and the truth is that we as a society are very dependent on the supermarket. Even when buying the majority of groceries elsewhere, through the independent green grocers and butcheries, and the farmers markets and smaller shops like the bulk bin outlet and health food store…. we need the supermarket for incidentals. I cannot stretch the family budget to buy the delicious quality Olive oil from our local growers, although I’d really like to. I haven’t found spices and herbs so cheap elsewhere.
And this is why after we have broken up, we will still remain friends, the supermarket and I. I’m still going to have to pop in every now and then for a quick dally.
This may not instantly solve my issues on what to feed our family, or indeed drop our weekly food bill *sob*. But I’m hoping to see less packaging in our bin, less stress in my heart, and less time wasted in a brightly lit building completely designed to be alluring, tempting.
I feel like life is about to get interesting…