In a time where Wal-Mart Pick-up has let us down and Costco is synonymous with chaos, it’s time we raise our glasses to (some of) the real heroes of this time … family run grocery stores. Just this morning, with news of positive cases hitting closer to home, I ventured out to my local Piggly Wiggly to restock on a few essentials. It was before 8:00 and it-was-hoppin’. (That’s a Frog Capital reference for you.) I pass this place literally every time I leave my house; it’s exactly 0.5 miles from my driveway. I know the busy hours, and that isn’t one of them. But let’s be honest, everything has changed.
Inside, I found cheerful (no doubt exhausted) workers, stocking shelves. There were sales aplenty, especially in the produce section. That’s really what I was there for, and I when it was all said and done, I left with melon, grapes, apples, veggies, and what we’ve affectionately named ‘the pineapple parade’ (3 for $5 people!) I also left more encouraged and hopeful than I’ve been in days. The perfect antidote for the terrifying images of empty shelves, is seeing the people who are busting their tail to keep us all fed.
I’m blessed to live in a small town, surrounded by grocers, pharmacies, restaurants and shops run by neighbors and friends. In this time of great uncertainty, let’s pay attention to where our precious dollars go. I’m not advocating for small over big business, because frankly, people we love are staffing both. But, what if we pause and instead of just focusing on WHAT we’re buying, we also focus on WHERE and WHY. Let’s shop with intention, supporting those who share our values rather than because of price or convenience alone.
It’s too early to know the economic effects of The Great Social Unraveling of 2020. Healthcare families are torn apart, oilfield families are desperately treading water, hourly workers across the spectrum have been sent home without answers. Dollars are not being spent like they were even two weeks ago, and it’s hard to imagine when things will feel ‘normal’ again. By spreading the wealth, literally, we can help keep each other a float.
There was an added, unexpected bonus of my shopping trip this morning, even as we all kept our distance. There I was, in the produce section, with restocking happening all around me. I happened to look over, see a store employee and recognize an opportunity that I’ve missed too often before. I said, “I know you’re all working hard, thank you for all you do.” As a society, I think our priorities are being reset for us. As life continues to slow down and simplify, I hope we all continue to embrace it. I might not get to interact with another human outside of my home today, but I had the chance to talk to her. She helped to fill my basket, and the bellies of my babes… I sure hope that I helped to fill her cup.