Above is the usual grocery shopping route of a person on the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). The grocery store is laid out to guide the shopper past all their wants and desires: cases of Coke or Pepsi, canned food, frozen dinners, frozen pizza, crackers, corn and canola oil, sweat cereals, donuts, syrup, sweet baked beans, and maybe a celebrity magazine as you check out. “Oh, wait,” the SAD shopper may say while standing in line reading the most recent scandal, “I forgot some hot dogs and marshmallows for the cook out tomorrow” and then leave their cart parked to run back for the final ingredients in their balanced weekly diet.
The above diagram illustrates how much easier my shopping route is than the route of the average S.A.D. shopper. I zip around the shop’s periphery and I’m done. See this post illustrating my family’s food habits to understand how such simpler shopping path is possible.
Actually, I exaggerated. My family’s food supply is a bit more complicated: we buy whole animals for our freezer from 2 0r 3 different local farms, and we get some local vegetables through a community co-op delivered to a neighbor’s home. We also raise chickens and have vegetable gardens. Best of all (for me), the above happens magically through the industrious and loving hands of my ethnically-Polish farm wife. I only need to help out occasionally but at those times, I am happy for our short shopping route.
That’s my American food-shopping life. But for many years shopping was much different for me. In Kyoto, Japan, my neighborhood had a traditional market district. That market consisted of one long street with dozens of open-faced shops where I could buy all my weekly foods. In India and China I shopped in less elegant, though more colorful markets where produce were laid out on blankets and I haggled prices with sellers as I watched skeptically as they weighed and counted out each item. It was time-consuming but memorable.
I remember coming back to the USA after 11 years abroad and being overwhelmed by the choices in the convenient US grocery stores. But amidst the huge variety of canned, boxed and processed foods, my family has voluntarily limited our choices to make life more sane and healthy.
Question for Readers: Do you have any unusual shopping habits?