Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 7- $1 a day

I walked 50 minutes round trip (I don’t have a car) to my nearest Safeway specifically to buy a 5 pound bag of carrots advertised on sale for 99 cents only to be told when I got there that they were sold out. I searched the produce section for something comparable in value and nutrition, but couldn't find anything so I stood wistfully in front of an Oreo cookie display, debating with myself over whether it was a good idea to spend $3 on Oreos or not. In the end I escaped the cookies and trudged back home hanging my head like the Peanut’s Charlie Brown. It’s weird how depressed I felt about 99 cents worth of carrots. Those carrots were important to me. I was depending on them for some nourishment, for some vitamins, for a bit of freshness in my otherwise starchy menu.

This brings up the issue of the inaccessibility of fresh foods to the poor. Low income people in America are less likely to have access to a variety of fresh produce in their neighborhoods. They usually have plenty of fast foods to choose from so they are covered if they want sliced potatoes and hand-held apple pies dipped in hot grease. The corner store or liquor store may sell some basic produce (e.g. apples, bananas, onions), but the prices are jacked up and thus unaffordable. Interestingly enough, I have read that Canada, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand have a greater availability of supermarkets in their lower income neighborhoods. So my guess is that the scarcity of fresh food in markets must be primarily about America’s preoccupation with the Almighty Dollar.

At any rate, since the carrots are on sale for Saturday/Sunday only, I am going to go to Safeway early tomorrow and as God is my witness I will get my hands on those carrots. Of course, by then I will have spent almost 2 hours procuring carrots, but now I’m doing it for the principle of the thing.

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