Yesterday I had two visitors at the house. I explained to them that I was giving up the supermarket for 28 days. The conversation went something like this:
Visitor 1: Have you written to your usual supermarket to let them know what you’re doing and why? They might not notice you’re boycotting them otherwise.
Me: Good point, although with their intimate knowledge of my shopping habits through their Rewards Scheme, someone somewhere will know I’m missing.
Visitor 2: Tell them. Otherwise they may think you are dead.
Me: Cheers Visitor 1
While I huffed for a while that maybe the argument had been taken a bit too far just to make a point, on further reflection, I have decided it was actually a valid statement. The supermarket would no doubt prefer that a customer was dead than boycotting them. A boycott means the supermarket will not have a chance of getting the customer’s money but on death, the wealth would soon be redistributed amongst relatives who would in no time be spending it in the supermarket on £3 DVDs they will only ever watch once….
If, however, one is unlucky enough to experience an untimely demise, I think I may have discovered Heaven (to the ethical shopper avoiding the supermarket anyway). Earthy is a gorgeous local food market and café in Causewayside – there are three in Edinburgh. You can also find them online at www.earthy.co.uk They boast ‘fairly-traded, local, seasonal and organic produce’.
Upstairs is a supermarket-style shop but it immediately looks more attractive and smaller while still being a decent size. It stocks fruit and veg which Iook as if they have been freshly delivered by a farmer, to the point that I couldn’t find the carrots because they weren’t supermarket-orange but mud-covered black. I was struck by the difference in price of some of the products (for example, cucumbers and jam were more expensive than my usual) but again reminded myself that I am hopefully buying a superior product and was assured by a member of staff that I will notice a big improvement in taste. I was able to buy just about everything on my shopping list (the courgette delivery had failed to arrive at the shop that day) and found a whole lot of new products that I’d either not seen in the supermarket or just missed.
Learning from the mistakes of the past week, we did this trip as a family so that I could concentrate on shopping while the children were being supervised. At the supermarket I find that almost everyone seems to tolerate kids – the noise they make is lost within the shop and if they bump into other shoppers they are either greeted fondly or ignored. I feel under pressure at smaller places to keep them close and quiet. Saying that, at Earthy we all got a really warm welcome and the lovely café underneath the shop stocked a good range of children’s snacks and drinks. It was an exciting discovery and we all really enjoyed finding somewhere new. I also find something quite special about unpacking new products at home, with the promise that the new experience will be extended over the next few days in the meals we eat.