And you know, no story that begins this way ends well. (And let’s keep in mind that Food Lion has launched a new brand strategy. Lower prices, better shopping experience, and revamped produce are supposed to be a part of this. Well…)
Let me back up. I skipped my grocery shopping on my usual Sunday because Deb was over, and I waited til today, when I really had no food left, to do it. I’m not a poor person, it would be a lie to say I was. But I’m a recent graduate who’s on a fairly tight budget. I usually do my grocery shopping at Super Target, and I save the special stuff for Harris Teeter and Whole Foods. I say “special stuff” to mean my vegetarian supplies. I’ve been a vegetarian for like 5 or 6 years, after I went to Elon and was not at all impressed by the quality of the meat they served in the dining halls. No shade, Elon was totally great otherwise, but I saw some questionable meat items come through those dining halls. Anyhoo, I drink a lot of smoothies and eat some tofu-type things that require those special trips. At any rate, I thought I’d head down to Food Lion to save a few bucks on groceries. Part of my thing with being a grown-up is actually packing my lunch to save some money. (Plus it makes lunchtime at work so exciting when you know you cooked something delish that all your coworkers can be jealous of.) I went, armed with a list, and a resolve to get all the stuff I needed for another of my famous crock pot creation of the week.
First mistake? I didn’t know where the closest Food Lion was, so I GPSed it. The GPS took me to an unsavory part of town. No problem, I can blend!
I went straight for the dairy to find my favorite brand of Greek yogurt, Fage (with the total split cup girl!). No Fage. Okay. My eager attitude is beginning to dwindle. But my resolve would not be tarnished!
I headed over to the soup aisle to grab some things for my crockpot. Some coconut gel stuff in particular. Couldn’t find it, and asked a gentleman in a uniform where to find it.
Me: Excuse me, where could I find the coconut cream canned stuff?
Food Lion Guy: ::finishes his text conversation:: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Finally, I headed over to produce. Saw some tumbleweeds blowing through, some floppy looking potatoes, and some sad-looking apples. I poked down the snack aisle to see what the Oreo aisle is looking like, however? And there were so many varieties of Oreo, one called a “mega-stuf”, that I was stunned that I’d never heard of! But to find 5 non-rotting Russet Potatoes was a task?! Wth?!
Okay. ::deep breath:: Just because someone is poor, doesn’t mean they need to be relegated to stores that aren’t clean, with poor lighting, poor customer service, and with a wider variety of Pop-Tart and Oreo, than of apple. The disparity between the poor and the wealthy as far as obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, Type II Diabetes, and heart disease is concerned is staggering. And part of the issue is that it seems like folks with a lower socio-economic status aren’t afforded choices. Check out the produce section of a Harris Teeter, a Whole Foods, or a Trader Joes. There are choices! And the choices are between fresh, fresher, and maybe, once in a blue moon, a little too ripe. My point is, folks like me, folks who want to save a few bucks, still deserve a choice when it comes to what we put in our mouths. I don’t think I will be returning to that Food Lion, however, in the next few days, I will be drafting some constructive comments to the manager, and I hope that my obnoxious letter will even raise some awareness about the fact that people in my tax bracket deserve better as it pertains to our sustenance.