Tuesday, October 26, 2010

a grocery store pre-nup?

The mysteries of this world continue to astound me.

Today, on my way to visit with one of the very original and amazing and colourful Raging Grannies, I realized I’d left the house a little late and, even with my electric bike, would not have time to stop at the locally owned middle eastern food store for snacky foods to go with our tea. Instead, I took the shortest route and stopped at Thrifty’s.

Thrifty’s used to be one of those little, locally owned and operated gems. They sourced produce from local farmers, and paid a fair wage. I don’t know if they still do any of that, but today I learned they’re not much interested in the reuse “R” of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

I had locked my bike outside, remembering years ago when the very first mountain bike I ever bought, a bright red shiny one (the purchase inspired by Pee Wee and his Big Adventure) was stolen from that very location (it was a very sad day), and worked my way inside as politely as possible given the great hurry I was in. I got all the way to the deli counter and realized I’d left the plastic container in my bike’s saddle bag, raced back out to the bike and back to the deli counter, saying “excuse me” as I went.

My request for dolmades, as many as would fit into the container, was refused. “We can’t take those back,” the deli clerk said, referring to the plastic container. “I don’t want you to take it back,” I said, “I want you to fill it up and give it back to me.” To no avail. It turns out Thrifty’s is all paranoid about legal implications that may arise if I become sick after eating something they’ve put into my own container. I said I’d be willing to sign an agreement to protect them and, when that attempt failed, wondered aloud when we became the United States with all its I’m gonna sue you madness, and asked the clerk if she understood that plastic is made from oil, and what about that gulf of oil fiasco?!?! She’s just doing her job. I get that.

To their credit, Thrifty’s sells dolmades for 25 cents each and veggie samosas for only 99 cents each. This is kind of amazing. For two dollars a person can get a decent lunch. And the deli clerk, when asked about ingredients, was able to produce a list quite readily.

As I left the store I wondered how it is that Thrifty’s can sell genetically engineered, chemically fertilized products without concern that customers might one day file a class action lawsuit linking these to their growing health concerns, but they can’t fill a perfectly functional, and clean, reusable container.

One day maybe I’ll be a Raging Granny. It’s my understanding that it’s not necessary to actually have the grandchildren, just the rage. I’ve definitely got that, and it’s good to know there are so many creative non-violent places to channel it.