15 July 2005

to market to market

I must rant a bit about the hassle that shopping for food has become.

the olde-tyme method of shopping, wherein one went to the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer, all along the same road, and your milk was delivered to your door bi-weekly was certainly a bit of a hassle. enter the supermarket, fabulous time-saving invention in which one could do all of this in one stop! so efficient! so lovely!

except that now we go to the natural supermarket, the cheap supermarket, the farmer's market, the local meat farmer for organic meat, the big "regular" supermarket and perhaps a few ethnic markets in between. and if we're lucky enough to live near Trader Joe's, that's one more. not to mention the inevitable Target run. oh-oh- and Costco, of course! at each place, one must navigate the hugeness of the parking lot followed by the hugeness of the interior of the store, followed by the check out process.

self check out? 15 items? cash only? endless lines with slow checkers—a few stores have been better than others in my experience, with Wegman's and Trader Joe's having the best customer service and Food Lion dead last. but this isn't about individual store experiences, this is about the aggregate moving around. we've come full circle from olde-tyme days, and now we long for the individual small-scale local folks where you can walk down the street on your way home and be done with it.

My potential future landlady assures me, quite happily: you never have to go to the supermarket! best butcher in Wales down the street from the place! music to my bacon-craving ears.


Ruth said...

I'm with you here. I drive to Ellwood's, then drive across the street to Kroger's, which—with the monster parking lots—is just a little too far away (and too pedestrian unfriendly) to walk to, unless one's doing it just to make a point. And so on, and so on, for all the stores you listed. And all this leaves no room for comparison shopping: you have to guess, or go by previous experience, to figure out whether to buy organic cilantro for $5, or hope you can get the polluted kind for .50. Or make multiple visits to the same stores on the same day.

And did I mention that the two Krogers I regularly shop at, only a few miles apart, have signigicantly different products (and organization)?

Shoot me now.

I did walk to the Kroger's near my house once, but it's almost two miles, and given that the heat index is hovering at 115 for the secdond day in a row, that's not going to be on my agenda anytime soon.

Does this mean, by the by, that you have a house almost in hand?

sageblue said...

with ya sister, though i don't have as many of the food issues...one supermarket is generally fine by me, though there are other occasional trips.

what both you and ruth point to are issues raised in the book i finished on the plane going to and from whistler--suburban nation. written by two architects, the book clearly delineates the effects sprawl architecture have had not just on the environment, but on such things as community-building, raising children, and the economy (e.g., most suburbanites HAVE to have 2 cars in order to function because suburbs force them to with poor low density developments, poor public transport, and inconvenient (for hoofers) shopping centers). i enjoyed the book muchly.

Liz said...

Yes, this is a depressing subject. I'm thinking of adding it to the list of things I actively don't think about. Before I do that though, what book were you reading?