Culture of Want and Grocery Shopping

Awash in a sea of people wearing head to toe North Face and driving brand-new Subarus, it’s easy to think that the Boulder lifestyle should be achievable for everyone when it really isn’t.  Boulder is beautiful, sometimes frustratingly so; the people of Boulder are also beautiful, and they have a lot of beautiful… stuff. Sometimes I spend an hour at Goodwill just to regain my sanity and remind myself that no, spending $68 on a t-shirt is not normal.  Phew!  People here are crazy, you guys.  The nearest Dunkin’ Donuts is over 50 miles away, although there is a rumor going around town that Dunkin’ is coming to Denver.  I will do whatever it takes to get there!

Sometimes, though, it’s just so easy to want things.  Riding my bike on a chilly day I might think:  Man, that awesome Nissan Leaf would be really great right now!  Or passing by the umpteenth coffee shop filled with people busily typing away on their laptops and sipping espressos… I want that life!  Well, to be honest, I do actually want the life of a writer, but so far that hasn’t happened yet.  More frequently, however, I just want the lifestyle of a writer with its (so I imagine) trappings of funky coffee shops and lattes.  The actual work of a writer is so much more difficult than that.  So difficult that even though I profess to love writing, I have not actually dedicated significant chunks of time to, you know… doing it.  I think about writing a lot, but thinking isn’t doing!

Anyway.  I think the whole culture of wanting really extends to our grocery shopping as well.  Especially in the natural foods aisles, there are just so many beautiful products!  Even though we rationally know that the packaging of a product doesn’t really have anything to do with what’s inside, we still get suckered in by advertising.

I was walking around the natural aisle of King Soopers today (yes… that is the actual name of an actual grocery store) and I paid specific attention to the pastas, cereals, tomato sauces and such that I would buy if price were no consideration.  Without fail, they were absurdly expensive, and made me curse my decision to major in English and then in religion.  Where was my inner accountant when I needed her?  Nowhere, that’s where.

These olives look amazing.  I am 100% sure I could eat the whole jar right now.

Here is an example of two products that would really tempt me if I had kids.  Or… well, okay, they really tempted me anyway!  But $4.99 for 12 fruit strips isn’t so great a deal for someone like me, because I would eat four a day.  On the other hand, it’s a better deal to buy the box of 12 rather than one or two individual strips (different brand, non-organic, also in the natural foods aisle), because those are $.49 each, slightly more expensive than their organic counterparts.

One last example – a jar of pasta sauce for $7.79, on sale from $8.19!  I bet you it doesn’t cost that much in Italy.

I’m interested to hear how other people resist advertising in the grocery store.  Do you give in, or just plow ahead on your shopping mission?

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