Nov 6, 2010

count your blessings--30 days of gratitude--day 6

Tonight, PJ, Cara, and I did our grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, which is very unusual for us.  I am a loyal Earth Fare shopper and organic grocery buyer.  So, what exactly possessed me to head to Wally World tonight? 

I normally refuse to enter Wal-Mart.  I refer to our Wal-Mart by the not-even-close-to-politically-correct moniker "Crackhead Wal-Mart."  There is no good reason for this except that Wal-Mart is always crowded with people not paying attention to where they are driving those squeaky carts, and it's always really dirty.  I feel like I get "grocery store feet" even though I'm wearing my shoes.  Wal-Mart is also lumped in with McDonalds as an "evil big corporation" (I am all about some quotation marks tonight).

I had good reasons for changing our diet this summer from convenience foodlike substances (a term stolen from Michael Pollan) to organic, local foods.  I was passionate about our new diet.  I shopped at a true local farmers' market where I bought real produce and meat from actual farmers, I made almost everything we ate from scratch, and we cut out most of the refined sugar.  Then, school started, and life got a little a lot busier.  It took me a few weeks, but I worked out ways to make this diet work for us in real life (read: during the school year), and shopping at Earth Fare was a big way to make things easier.  As the weeks wore on, I think I sort of forgot that I was shopping at an organic grocery store.  It was just grocery shopping.  I didn't pay as much attention to labels and ingredients because I didn't have to; Earth Fare has a pretty strict food philosophy

However, we are feeling a leetle strapped for cash (just like everyone else in this recession/recovery), so I thought we could forgo organic this week.  Cheap groceries, just this once.  And where do cheap groceries come from?  Of course!  Wal-Mart! 

It started almost as soon as we walked in the door, in the produce section.  I stared at the prices for bags of apples.  Did you know Wal-Mart has organics now?  I belabored the decision; the organic apples were a dollar more than regular apples.  I put the regular apples in the cart.  And then I obsessed over the pesticides all through the specialty cheeses.

"Peej, can I switch these for the organic apples?  Do you care?"

Everything else that went into the cart was organic if at all possible.  I read all the labels.  Rotel tomatoes have calcium chloride in them!!  WHY???  Can't I just have my mexican style canned tomatoes with no preservatives? 

We ended up probably spending more than we would have spent at Earth Fare.  I left Wal-Mart feeling like I had committed a moral crime, like a hit-and-run or something.  What had I done to my carbon footprint?  How had I injured the local farmers?  It was a terrible feeling.  I am complacent no more.

So, thank you, Wal-Mart, for reminding me of all the reasons that I love Earth Fare.


  1. Walmart is one of my least favorite stores. Sometimes the cheapness is just so tempting though.

  2. Although I don't shop there on a regular basis, Wal-Mart has gotten a lot better about offering organic and locally-grown options. One by one they're eliminating our reasons for wanting to avoid shopping there.

    I agree with you about the big corporation vs. local/smaller store ideas - however, you sometimes have to consider how many jobs the big chain stores create. There are positives and negatives, you know?

    Kudos to you for trying to feed your family clean food. I do the same for us, and it's not easy... definitely not convenient.

  3. @Nathan: Walmart may be broadening their selection of of organic/minimally processed foods (becaused they know customers want it), but it will never be able to get rid of all the crazies (remember the one off Harris Blvd in the University)

  4. I kind of feel icky when I leave Wal-Mart, so I stay away. I'm thankful that the community i live in allows me to. It makes me sad that there are some small towns that don't afford that option...

  5. @PJ: Oh yeah, good times. They've moved that Wal-Mart about two miles up the street, re-opening it as a "Super" Wal-Mart. Of course all this means is that now there's more space to pack in the best that University City has to offer.

  6. @Molly: I am so thankful that I live in a place that has many options. In those small towns with no options, I wonder if those other options went out of business when Wal-Mart moved in.

    @Nathan: I agree that there are pros and cons to Wal-Mart, Earth Fare, and just about anything else in life.

    I am definitely not bashing anyone who shops at Wal-Mart, eats at McDonalds and participates in American society. This post is pure tongue-in-cheek opinion.

  7. i LOVE earth fare! i adore the non-packaged food section where you can just scoop up stuff from the bins. it makes me so happy. the grits are to die for.

  8. Thanks so much for writing this! It can be alarming to read what's in the labels of "simple" foods like tomatoes. That's why we do our best to make healthy shopping easy. :D We're lucky to have great shoppers like you in our stores - again, thanks for this entry!


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