Your employee laughing in the face of my family’s decision to be a conscious consumer does nothing more than embolden me to continue and reconsider my decision to shop at your store. Yes, we are THOSE people who you see checking out the labels of virtually everything we buy.
Is it organic? Was it farm-raised or wild caught? Grassfed? Product of USA? Locally grown? These are just some of things we’re looking for when we read those labels.
Consider our horror when we stepped up to the seafood counter to purchase some jumbo shrimp to use in a stir-fry. I had just perused the frozen fish case to see that all the shrimp was a product of Thailand and farm-raised. We’re already not really down with fish-farming practices and further more, I’d rather my seafood come from the United States. I know, it’s a strange thought trying to keep our dollars employing our fellow countrymen and women but it should be important to all.
Turned off by the Thai shrimp (I love Thai food by the way but this doesn’t count), I turned to the fresh seafood case to see two bins filled with “Wild-Caught Product of USA Gulf Shrimp”. The decision was made in that instant. As I waited for a few minutes before the employee working the seafood counter so rudely returned to her post, my decision to buy these U.S. shrimp was not wavering at all. How could you not want to support the livelihood of the people on the Gulf whose lives have been turned upside down thanks to BP?
I told the woman I wanted a pound of the gulf shrimp.
“They’re frozen pretty hard. You should just get the bag out of the freezer case behind you,” she fired back across the counter.
“I don’t want those,” I explained. “I want these ones in the case.”
“They all come from the same place. It’s all from the same package,” the fish lady insisted.
My hackles were raised in an instant. “So why does this shrimp in your case have a ‘Wild Caught Product of USA Gulf Shrimp’ label on it?”
“Not sure,” she spit back. “It comes out of a giant box that says its from Thailand. It’s all from Thailand just like those bags of shrimp in the freezer case behind you. You should just grab one of those bags.”
“So you’re mislabeling the origin of the shrimp in your seafood case,” I hotly quipped back at her.
“I guess. All I know is it comes out of a box that say ‘Product of Thailand’ on it. I mean, I thought it was weird too when they told me to do it but whatever. It’s not that big of a deal,” she shrugged off, once again pointing me to the bag of frozen shrimp from Thailand behind me.
It was at that point Talina and I both decided to head up to the service desk and speak to the store manager. After explaining the situation the manager on duty immediately headed over to the seafood counter and went on a fact finding mission back in the deep freezer. As it turns out, the woman was reading the label from the wrong set of boxes. Indeed, what she was looking at, was the pre-bagged frozen shrimp from Thailand. The gulf shrimp was clearly labeled product of USA.
In front of her manager, she apologized as she bagged up our shrimp but again asked why it mattered so much where the shrimp came from. I simply explained we don’t like to buy our seafood from overseas, instead supporting the U.S. fishing industry. Talina quickly added we also like to try to keep our money in our own country and thus keeping our fellow Americans employed.
You could tell this concept, among the others, wasn’t clicking in this woman’s head and it probably never will. It is tough trying to be a conscious consumer especially with corporations like Walmart making it so easy for consumers to get their hands on anything they want without much thought of what went into getting it into their hands. That’s why we stopped shopping at Walmart and we hope to never go back.
We support local farmers by purchasing locally grown meat and produce. Fresh eggs come from our very own backyard chicken coop. When we have to, we shop at stores that sell locally grown food like the new Fresh Market and even Schnuck’s. I wonder if we’re really that much of a rarity when it comes to yearning for a knowledge and understanding of where our food comes from. If we are, and you continue to question my buying choices, we’ll take our food dollars elsewhere.
Nathan & the rest of my Half-Acre Homestead Fam
- Are you a conscious consumer? Do you read labels and look for products that come from a particular place? Are there certain things that you avoid or does it not really matter to you? Share your thoughts and leave a comment.
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