Wednesday, March 26, 2008


As I customarily look forward to doing a few times a week, I went to Whole Foods (formerly known as Wild Oats, here in Reno) for lunch yesterday. My little carton near to bursting with a mélange of quinoa, hard-boiled egg whites, croutons, garbanzo beans, and parmesan cheese—just naming the headliners, I snagged my customary MetroMint Peppermint Water, and, sin of all unavoidable sins, I discovered a lemon bar in my left hand and didn’t put it back down.

The Whole Foods’ checkout lines are predictably long at lunchtime, so during my long wait, my eyes kept busy scanning the different magazines available for purchase, noting that the store didn’t yet have the most current Yoga Journal.

Finally, once the two little boys purchasing pizzas, the man whose sole purchase was two jars of coconut oil, and the lady who was preparing for a juice fast, obvious by her purchase of maple syrup and crate of lemons, were done, it was my turn to pay and go. (Though I’m vexed when my grocery cashier scrutinizes my purchases and comments on them, I love examining what other people are buying at the market and making up stories about their lives or just playing Food Police and mentally judging them for making bad food choices—Oh, now that’s a whole lot of processed food, isn’t it? Tisk tisk. I know, I know: I’m bad. Should mitigate my thoughts.) My total: $13.98. Okey-dokey. Plastic will be fine, I say before I’m asked.

The clerk, one of the, um, unique types Whole Foods attracts—you know, rode her bike to work (Emissions! As if!), lives in Reno for all the outdoorsy stuff it offers, wouldn’t be caught dead in all the garish makeup I’m wearing, looking forward to her Kundalini yoga class after work—stabbed at me with dagger-eyes: We don’t do plastic. Her look screamed Polluter! You don’t care about our planet! Why are you here? In response, I crawled into my shell, peering out to whisper: Paper’s fine. She gave me my receipt, and I skulked out the door, an obvious earth-abuser, trying to hide among the green and good.

So it’s out: I’m crummy heeding the verdant frenzy that’s slamming society. I should have just divined that plastic was so out and paper so in.

Truly, I’m bothered that we haven’t always been green, thus not having to change our habits. People, why didn’t you consider that plastic bags were for losers when you initially offered them at the Whole Foods in Vegas that I’m accustomed to? Why didn’t you consider that paper was better and go that route all along? And along that line, why didn’t our ancestors commit themselves to wind power or some other alternative energy so we, their children, wouldn’t be a bind today? Why did they fill the Nevada water with all kinds of cancer-causing unhappiness, converting me to the ways of bottled water and the corresponding eco-transgressions? And cars? Why didn’t they go more fuel-efficient in the first place? Now we’re having to backtrack.

Yeah, yeah: hindsight: 20/20. Yadda yadda.

Then last evening, I was reading Vegetarian Times, sipping a surprisingly tasty protein shake, when I read that Whole Foods is the first market chain to abnegate the use of plastic bags for recycling reasons, using only paper from this point forth (the conversion will be complete by April 22).

Carrots to them. Sticks to me.


Ashley Thalman said...

i'm with you on this 110%!
good for whole foods. you know,
in russia we had to pay for our bags (similar to ikea)- it was astronomical too! like 25-50 cents PER BAG! that will teach 'em.

i have been telling my baggers for almost a year now to "pack them full" would die to see how they look at me...

whitneyingram said...

What about Trader Joes? I don't think they have ever had plastic. In fact, if you bring your own bags or totes, they enter you into the monthly drawing. That is motivation for me!

The whole green thing is very good and right. But I hate the phrases. "How can we be more green?" "Go green". It just sounds silly. I am not green and I never will be. I am white as can be and rarely tanned.

cat+tadd=sam said...

Maybe I'm all about convenience, but carrying around your own bags to and from the grocery store seems cumbersome. And there is no way you'll get all your groceries in one bag, so plan on carrying three or four. Also, am I somewhat conservative if I reuse my grocery bags for various reasons?

Just Sue said...

Oh, boy! We have purchased the reusable bags and left them in the car to be sure to have them when shopping...anywhere. And so, I forget to take them in with me until I return to the car with the paper/plastic bags filled with groceries. I'm trying...kinda.