It looks like I’m going to have to do all my shopping out of the area and online, because it appears we are being redlined.
Redlining is generally well-known as higher insurance rates in certain areas, but I came to be more familiar with it as lower-quality in goods and services provided to certain areas.
For instance, back in the day when I was dating my actor friend Jim (he played a priest in Richard Geer’s Primal Fear, had a bit part in one of the Jurassic Park movies, a recurring part as a bailiff in some law thing and parts in a couple other movies I can’t recall) and we both lived in Long Beach, he’d shop at the market three blocks from my apartment. I, on the other hand, trekked ten blocks in the other direction to shop at a different branch of the same market. When he asked me why, I pointed out the closer market was towards where the area went down – where the very poor, alcoholics and drug-addicted lived, while the further market was near the rich part of town -- Sandra Bullock, married to Jesse James at the time, had a house in that area, overlooking the ocean.
I educated Jim that, if he looked at the produce in the poor area, he’d find tired looking produce, meats that smelled, and expiration dates already expired or due to expire within a day or so, while everything in the further market was fresh and beautiful, with expiration dates so far in the future that the produce would be consumed well before time ran out.
Lately, I’ve been noticing the same thing occurring at my local market.
Even though Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour was a popular product, sold out as soon as they restocked, it hasn’t been in stock for so long that I’ve had to turn to Amazon as a source. And the Ambrosia apples I last bought were disappointing in flavor. They weren’t sweet. And when I shopped this morning, the Ambrosia apples were bruised and ugly. After picking through, I was able to find three I could live with, so hopefully they taste sweet as that’s my evening sweet fix.
Finding nice looking potatoes has been getting difficult to where sometimes I just pass on potatoes all together. And today, with an urge to make potato salad, I was able to pick through and dig out only five small potatoes. The same with zucchini – ugly, shriveled, bruised, so I passed. Not to mention, the cherry tomatoes I purchased last time went bad practically overnight.
I had to also pass on eggs, as I prefer Eggland's Best. They had only three cartons in stock but, when I saw the condition of the egg section, broken egg oozing from the Eggland's cartons, I got grossed out and walked away.
The okra finally looked nice and fresh today. Only, I wasn’t in the mood for okra. But of course, as soon as I got back to my unit I began thinking “I should have gotten the okra”, but I wasn’t about to head back to the market.
Plus, the market has reorganized things to what I can only assume is an anti-theft measure. Certain items are contained in a boxed-off area, in front of the meat counter, where the butchers can keep an eye out, plus there are now cameras in that area.
I felt watched and decidedly uncomfortable when I picked up toothpaste, deodorant and orajel.
Same when I was last at Walmart and wanted to try a product I’d seen advertised on television – Maybelline Tattoo Studio Brow Gel.
They had it in stock, but behind lock and key. I had to call someone over to unlock the case AND, after she’d taken it out of the case, she put a clear plastic lock box on it, which lock box was unlocked by the cashier when I later checked out.
I can’t blame markets and retail stores for wanted to try to thwart thievery, but we’re not all shoplifters, druggies or so less than that we should be the dumping ground for undesirable produce. Produce that should be donated to the needy, rather than sold in the market.
At any rate, when I needed to replenish a different Maybelline product recently, instead of going to Walmart, putting myself through the locked case and lock box process, I ordered online.
And now dissatisfied with what I'm seeing in the local market, looks like I’ll be driving out-of-the area to Sprouts this week and probably planning to do all my grocery shopping there in future.
In the back of my mind, I remember seeing a sign for a Farmer’s Market at one of the malls. I may have to look that up and make it a weekly jaunt.
BTW, I recently looked up my formerly very handsome boyfriend Jim on Facebook, and he has really let himself go. He’s married, has a son in college, a teen daughter, a younger son, has earned himself three Masters Degrees, gotten fat, grown a beard and looks very much like Santa Claus.
Shocked at his appearance, I did not leave a message or friend him.
Weird how some of us change so much, while others get older but look fairly the same.
Ricard Geer still looks great.