Apparently people can find a way to be inconvenienced by just about about anything. Shocking as that might be in today’s world, it never ceases to amaze me. Of course be I might naive or aloof, but the fact remains. Anyways, here are a few thoughts on a very short recent encounter of mine.
The local supermarket is undergoing a major overhaul as large store tend to need once every so often as not to end up like this.
Well, even though the place is literally a construction zone that happens to sell stuff, I am very loyal to it (for no real rational reason) and have continued to do my food shopping there. One particular afternoon I was grabbing something for lunch to take to work when I overheard a couple’s conversation. I say conversation with hesitance because that would imply at least some crude mastery of the English language, but I did catch a few words strings together. While I cannot remember the quotes verbatim, they went something like the following.
“I really don’t like this layout.”
“Yeah it’s not the way that it used to be.”
“I mean it’s tough to find stuff; a lot of walking, I really don’t like this layout.”
Okay, maybe pretty benign to most people, but it struck a cord with me. Possibly it was the whining tone… or my own preconceptions of what the words meant to me. Being there, listening to those lines for even the brief 10 seconds the moment lasted just hit me.
Three problems I had with these statement are smaller issues, and then there is one larger item I would like to make a ballyhoo about.
First is the age old, ‘Things aren’t what they used be,’ quotation. I am probably as guilty of feeling, thinking, and saying this as the next person which is why it gets me. It’s not so much that advancement or change is always for the better, so its a bad line of thinking. When its the automatic answer, or in this case making a judgement about something that isn’t completed its just lazy. At this is more to the point. We should attempt to engage the other person when having a conversation rather than just giving out disheveled answers. Of course easier said than done when grocery shopping with your significant other on a Saturday afternoon.
The second issue I have is the ‘lot of walking,’ line. Okay, its not like (picture your largest super value discount whatever store) we are trekking through the Andes to get to the frozen dairy section. I’m not going to be releasing the next set of videos to rival ‘Body by Jake,’ but I do know that walking the supermarket is not exactly something I could sell as a thirty minute exercise program.
Lastly, saying things are hard to find is also just lazy. There are signs everywhere pointing out where things have been moved to temporarily as well as the overhead signage above every aisle. Going back to our Andes example, its not like we should need a Sherpa to guide us through the treacherous terrain of buffered tile floors.
Now taking all of the aforementioned into consideration, and the fact that once in a while I try to think like a rational human being (but not when it comes to choice of supermarket) this exchange just rattled my cage. Of course these fine people were probably not thinking of the bigger picture while shopping for their freeze-dried potatoes, so allow me to do so.
I think that it gets lost on all of us just how good we have it. Let us consider just the here and now for a minute. There is rampant hunger all around the world. Malnutrition and general lack of any food is a major problem. I am personally not heading any charitable organizations but I realize the problem, and recognize how fortunate I have been to eat well. Having the ability to go to a safe location and purchase food is actually pretty awesome if you think about it.
Now lets take the actual supermarket and all that it holds. First of all, these super grocers we now have carry just about anything someone could want. Obviously there are smaller shops that may hold better specialty items, but for the purposes of most anything we need is there. Consider the fact that refrigeration in grocery stores has only been around for 100 years or so. We are in such a small percentage of the worlds population that’s ever lived with the ability to get milk, eggs, cheese, meats, juices, let alone those extremely healthy microwavable meals, from one central location.
So we have established our blessings of having a safe place that houses enough food for thousands to eat every week, as well as that place having even the most perishable stuffs. Now go back in time just a little more than that. Even just 200 years ago and in some cases not that long, people were still hunting for the food they ate if not raising it on their own. People had to work hard to be self sufficient farmers, and raisers of livestock. After the work to get everything started, there was still the cultivation of land and beast, the reaping of both, and the preparation for what was to be stored. This was only 200 years ago! How lucky are we?
I could say that these people would have never made it on the range or forbid even further back in time. Unfair perhaps because of people being products of their environment, so a discussion for another time.
I will suggest however, that we all need to take a step back sometimes and see how prosperous we truly are in not only America, but also everywhere in the world even in these tough times. At least let us not complain about one the greatest conveniences we have ever developed in human history.