Well we have now reached the half way point in our month of not shopping at major supermarkets. My son is very skeptical that we will make the month but I am feeling rather confident with two weeks left.
There are three purchases that we buy in bulk that I am now feeling as if I am buying constantly which are Milk, Mineral Water and toilet paper. I seem to be almost on a daily basis shopping for milk as I said before I am unable to buy it in large cartons and the kids drink it almost as fast as I can buy it. I am really missing my skimmed milk too but can’t bring myself to buy the expensive small cartons of skimmed milk. We have now run out of toilet paper and again can only buy this in small amounts so that is becoming a regular purchase. And I have run out of my supplies of mineral water so can see that now may be a daily purchase. And yes I know we have great water here in Scotland. I know that but I confess that I love the bubbles. I am addicted to the stuff and have been since I first tasted Perrier when I was a teenager and its something I can’t give up. Still I guess its good exercise lugging all the bottles of millk and mineral water home.
One thing that is frustrating me is trying to get my favourite brand of tea. My husband and I love Twinings green jasmine tea and we have run out. I have tried many local shops and none have it. I confess the need for tea has been my first real thought that I might cheat and head to a supermarket. I have instead decided to try out green tea with pomegranate not sure it will be the same but will give it a go.
What has been good about the experiment is that we are using up our store cupboard which as we turn to spring is great as we eat up all our winter supplies. This is then going to allow us to buy food for spring though it has made me question why, when we have so many stores on our doorstep, do we have the need to stock up our cupboards? Its a discussion point for us and may be one of the lessons of this experiment.
Eating wise I would say it’s been really good and I don’t feel that we have eaten less well as a result in fact it has made me look up cook books and try new recipies. Although sometimes I feel that I don’t have the time to shop daily I have enjoyed it. The huge difference is that shopkeepers know me, my husband and my kids. I have just been in the butchers to buy tonight’s tea and they want to know how my husband is getting on with his play. When I was in the fruit and veg shop in Melrose they asked how my son was and if his cold was better. The butcher again knows that my daughter loves Lorne sausage and has it for breakfast every saturday morning but she’s the only one who likes it and they don’t mind just cutting the one slice just for her.
These are things that the supermarkets don’t provide. Yes they have the choice, yes they have the parking convenience and yes you can buy in bulk. But they don’t know you as much as Tesco’s has all the data from their clubcard at the end of the day you are only a number to them. They don’t care that my daughter loves Lorne sauasage nor would they allow you to buy it individually. Nor do they or any of the other supermarkets care about your cold or that you do well in your play. Perhaps you think that doesn’t matter. Well coming from a large city to the Borders its a huge attraction for me. I love being part of this community and confess as I did my shopping this morning on this glorious spring day I had a warm feeling that I was part of this small part of the world.
Work wise we work with a number of local retailers and we are currently looking at a campaign for one who faces great competition from the big four supermarkets who have moved into the town in the past couple of years. I have been looking into local shopping campaigns and have found some great examples. One in the states is a bookmark that you get in a local book shop which says.
Thanks for shopping at your local independent Bookshop
Here’s what you just did
1. You kept pounds in our economy.
2. You embraced what makes us unique.
3. You created local jobs.
4. You helped the environment.
5. You nurtured community.
6. You helped keep the high street healthy.
7. You created more choice.
8. You took advantage of our expertise.
9. You invested in entrepreneurship.
10. You made us a destination.
I have to agree with all of the above points. So this weekend rather than just getting in the car and driving to the supermarket what could you buy instead in your local shops?