The zombies will be along aaaaaaany second now.

The zombies will be along aaaaaaany second now.

I went grocery shopping yesterday which I typically do at the dollar store near my apartment for the basics. Usually grocery shopping is a start-of-the-week task that I do on Mondays to avoid the crowds, but my schedule was disrupted by the weekend’s film shoot so it was Wednesday before I actually stepped foot inside the store.

The dollar store near where I live is actually remarkably nice: they carry a wide selection of items and it is clean and bright and, with the exception of fresh meat, usually has just about everything that I need. It even includes a fairly comprehensive produce section that is an accurate gauge of what vegetables are in season.

Except that yesterday it wasn’t.

By the time I made it to the store that evening, the produce was nearly all gone. It’s possible that the store was understaffed due to the fact that it was a holiday week or that they were between shipments of vegetables and fruits, but the surreality of walking to the back of the store and discovering empty display modules was eerie and a bit of a reality check. Suddenly the entire store took on a post-apocalyptic, “Soylent Green” sort of feel. A tiny, imaginative, part of my mind wondered whether this is the way that grocery store shelves would look for now on  and, if so, whether I could handle that.

I realized, with a certain amount of surprise and embarrassment, that I’d never given much thought to the generalized abundance of the American grocery store. Grocery stores, to my mind, were always fully, magically, stocked. If I walked out without buying something it was because I didn’t find what I needed or it was too expensive for my tastes- not because the shelves were empty.

And I am privileged to do so. And not everybody in the world- or even in this country- are so privileged.

Here, on the eve of Independence Day, it seems like a good time to recognize the things that I tend to take for granted: that grocery stores are full of groceries and that streets are generally in good repair and that we can expect to live in relative peace and safety and freedom. And if we aren’t happy with our personal state of affairs we can lobby to change them. And if we speak up we can expect to be heard, or at least, we can expect to not be silenced.

I mean, I know we have a special holiday just for thanks-giving; a holiday that especially celebrates abundance and feasting, but why wait? I don’t just eat once a year, I eat every day; so why should I only be grateful once a year? Maybe I should be grateful every day.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 3, 2014.

One Response to “Aplenty”

  1. I’ve seen a variety of dollar stores. And, recently, I heard there might be reason to be suspicious of the bargains you find there. But, I leave you to research that “gossip.” I know some dollar stores have a nice variety of party and kitchen supplies, paper products, candy and some snacks. And, others have that produce and grocery section you mentioned. But, from what I saw of the “fresh” food, I was a little skeptical about buying. I strangely felt like I was in a homeless shelter and that the food there was intended for poorer folks than I. Or, the produce was on its way out. It just didn’t look good. There were bugs and puddles around. And, as for the other food stuffs, it was mostly foreign and/or loaded with bi-products/preservatives that aren’t the best to consume in bulk. But, I did find a few nice surprises there.

    I prefer to walk a little further (hopefully not too far) to get food from the grocery store if it’s not too pricey. I suppose in Cali’ things do get a lil pricier more often than not, ay?

    Oh, and if you think grocery stores are stocked or overstocked, have you ever been to a Jerry’s? I only know them to be available in rare places, including northern Illinois. I forget the town. But, that place was WAY overstocked. They had forklifts and workers piling more fruit into bins than the bins could hold. There was surplus rotting on the floor. It’s insane. Prices were both good and bad. Watermelon was crazy bad. And, mangoes were a nice bargain. But, the place is such a reality check after shopping a “normal grocery store.” Is there a happy medium? I am not sure. But, there is definitely something out of whack with supply and demand. The same goes for places being flooded while coastal California cities suffer brush fires.

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