Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Peek into a Store--a Grocery-free Summer Challenge update

As hard as it is to believe, it has been nearly a month since I've been grocery shopping.  It's true.  Last time I went grocery shopping was May 23, because we went to a church retreat Memorial Day weekend, so I didn't have a chance to do a last minute trip before my Grocery-free Summer Challenge began.  And I don't miss it a bit.  Okay, maybe a teensy bit for the convenience.  This past weekend, for example, we ran out of milk on Saturday, but I didn't make it to the market, so we didn't have any milk until there was a milk vendor at a Lansing City Market (where I've primarily been shopping), which was a Tuesday.  And we ran out of Miracle Whip during a sandwich binge the kids apparently went on, so we're out of it until I start playing with homemade versions (with ingredients I either have on hand or things I can obtain at the market).

But overall, I'm not sure I'll ever go grocery shopping at an actual store again.  I had to go into a store today to return pop bottles (Michigan pop, aka soda, bottles have a $0.10 deposit on them), buy rat traps (I saw a shadow in my living room the other night that was either a rat or a demon, but I'm not going to entertain the notion that there was a demon in my living room, especially since I heard gnawing noises behind a shelf the next night), and make a deposit at my bank which is in the store.

It was awful.

Rather than the warm, inviting experience of comfortable lighting, vendors that I know by name and know me and my buying habits, and wonderful smells that I've come to expect at the market, it was too bright with horrible blatantly artificial lights, completely impersonal (I didn't even see a staff person, let alone interact on any sort of level.  Even when I checked out, they mostly just had machines for self-checkout rather than a human), and smelled like chemical cleaners and an underlying smell of decay.  I don't think I was the only one to notice these things either.  At the market, people tend to seem to be relaxed, maybe even enjoying their shopping experience.  At the store today, everyone I observed seemed tense, stressed, and in a hurry to get the heck out of there!

As I passed by 10 for $10 (get the 11th item FREE!  Mix or match!) sales displays in the center aisle, I wasn't even tempted.  It was all crap.  Nope, I'm going to spend my food dollars at Lansing City Market, buying things like a ton of strawberries from a variety of vendors (gotta try to freeze a year's supply this year!) or milk from MOO-ville Quality Creamery or bread from Aggie Mae's or a variety of delicious gluten-free baked goods from Nan at Sweet Seasons Orchard.  And that's just my shopping list for tomorrow!

The longer I go without grocery shopping at a store, the more I wonder if I'll ever go back.  Why, when everything I need can be found at the market, with a heck of a better shopping experience and with the joy of knowing that I'm truly doing my part to help the local economy and small businesses?


  1. I envy you the ability to do that. I am on EBT, and it's hit or miss whether the local markets can take those payments. Some can, some use vouchers, some vendors just can't do it. ( I'm in New Mexico. It's weird out here sometimes.)
    Enjoy those Michigan markets!

    1. I'm on EBT as well. I just make sure I go to markets that do take it and am fortunate that there is such a nice one that does so close (about a mile) to my house! When I issued this challenge, someone tried saying it was darn near impossible to do in a city, but I'm finding quite the opposite to be true!