maybe it's a good thing for grocery stores to run out of things (occasionally)

last week, i went to the local co-op grocery store of which i am a member. among other things, i needed cilantro and poblano peppers. they were out of cilantro. they also just don’t sell poblano peppers at all.

as i walked around the store getting other things i wanted, i got more and more angry. i thought, “wtf is the point of a local grocery store if they don’t carry shit? i’m willing to pay a little more to support a local business, but not if they’re not gonna carry what i want… this is why people shop at giant chain stores so they can get what they need/want for cheap.”

i bought the things i needed that they did actually have and went home.

as i was cooking later, i started to chill out a bit and had a realization. maybe it’s actually ok that my grocery store ran out of something. especially in the produce section. the more i thought about it, the more i realized that the other option is for stores to either stock perfectly (which is impossible) or to overstock. and overstock results in massive amounts of food waste. this is what most grocery stores actually do. it’s also a big part of the culture of our industrial food system to have everything available all the time. the prevailing sentiment is that goods should be available to us regardless of how much energy, transportation, time, or waste is involved in the process.

i think i’m actually ok with my grocery store running out of stuff. but i think there’s gonna have to be a culture shift if this idea is going to ever be more widely acceptable.


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11:15 9:40