There's nothing like a pandemic to make you want to avoid the grocery store like the plague...Literally! In the past 90 days of quarantine we've gone to the grocery store once, Target once, and the pharmacy twice. When I say we're avoiding the grocery store, I mean it. We stocked up on staples before the "stay at home" order went into effect. We focused on frozen vegetables, canned food, dried beans, grains, flour, etc. Furthermore, I've realized that I really dislike that store. It's not where I do the bulk of my shopping anyway, but a convenient place for staples... But this Coronavirus... It has somehow managed to draw into focus my priorities. If I don't like that place, why do I go there? Because it's convenient? But is it? Is it really convenient? It seems pretty inconvenient to go consistently to a place I dislike to give them my money. It didn't use to be quite like that. It crept up on us both... We used to do more than 50% of our grocery shopping at the local farmer's market, often up to 75%, and just used the grocery store to fill in with things like coffee, toilet paper, tofu, tempeh, and the like. As busyness set in, there were more quick trips to the neighborhood grocery store. You might try to defend me by suggesting that we were probably saving money. We weren't. The grocery store in my neighborhood doesn't have great sales or stellar quality. It's really pretty average, didn't save me money, and doesn't have the "world's best organics." So, what gives?
Being forced into quarantine, we've all been forced to decide where we spend the effort going. It's
because we're limited. It's also because we know we're going to wait in lines that are completely insane only to find out that we can't even get what we really want anyway. Plus we will have risked contaminating ourselves with an illness that is claiming more lives every day! All that for a place I actually don't really like? In my neighborhood, Inwood, there's a farmer's market every Saturday...even in the winter. Come rain, shine, or pandemic, my farmer's market is there...And so am I. I love it there. I feel good about supporting local farmers just upstate of me. I also feel really good about what I am putting into my body. I feel good literally walking there and placing my body in that physical space. This highlights a realization for me that I think I've been coming to in other areas of my life... I really don't care to place my physical body into spaces that don't feel good. How simple is that? Why wasn't I able to conceive that in such a simple way before now? Perhaps I wasn't ready for the idea.
Last week on Saturday, we went to the farmer's market where we could easily purchase produce, eggs, bread, meat, and cheese (for anyone that consumes those things). We bought what we needed, and went home. Later, I realized that I needed an ingredient and decided to walk down the street to a local shop that is a gourmet grocery, independently owned. I supported them and visited a little shop that I really enjoy. I avoided a place that I do not enjoy. Simple.
When we emerge from this crazy, alternate universe we've been spewed into, there are some businesses that will not be there. Some will literally never open the door again. My neighborhood grocery store is pretty safe, I think. The teeny, gourmet grocery in my neighborhood? I doubt they're safe. It would break my heart if they closed. Likewise, if my local farmer's market shut down, I would be devastated.
Show me your money, I'll show you your values.
Sounds harsh, doesn't it? Sometimes reality stinks. If I really look at myself, I have to be honest that outwardly, it looks like I value a dimly light place with a tiny organics section and too much shelf space devoted to a brand I literally refuse to buy... WHAT?! Well, it seems pretty clear to me that I either need to make peace with becoming someone I don't really appreciate and adopting a new set of values that I also don't like, OR put my money where my values are...
I choose the latter.
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