September 29, 2002

Last week, I went to

Last week, I went to our local Bread and Circus for the first time. That's our local Whole Foods store, i.e. organic, GMO-free, hippie food. Well, that's how I thought of it before, at least.

When I went in, it was more or less to look around---I was thinking it'd be a tiny little store, not really much for me since I don't buy everything organic and I'm not really into the wacky alterna-grains and such. But, I dutifully wandered the aisles to see what was available.

To my considerable surprise, they actually stocked almost everything I would look for in a grocery store. Some things were much more expensive than they would be at the supermarket down the street, but most things were just 10--20% more. I was starting to balk at the expense, when I realised that that was a bit hypocritical of me.

See, I consider myself an environmentalist, but the way I figure things is that rather than forbid or require certain things, we should merely internalise their costs into the economy. If one company's process causes pollution, they should have to pay for cleanup. That will probably mean that non-pollutive processes will end up being cheaper and more common, but if it's still cheaper to pollute and clean it up, well, that's not so bad either. Once all the environmental and social costs of a given mode of production are factored into the market cost of the product, the market will do an excellent job of accounting for people and the environment in picking the most efficient way to do something.

So back to Bread and Circus, and organic (etc) foods and other stuff. They may cost a little bit more, but according to my model, this is what we should be paying anyway. If everyone were using these methods, the costs would probably go down some (especially on things that are whole multiples more expensive in 'organic' than they are in a standard supermarket), but the idea is certainly there.

So I bought a pretty full basket o' stuff. I got organic pasta sauce, organic tortilla chips, organic cereal bars, and recycled-paper paper towels and toilet paper. The towels are at least as good as any other brand I've had, but I'm a little worried about the toilet paper (haven't tried it yet). I mean, if there's one thing I want chemical softeners in... but who knows. While two of the brands looked awfully scratchy, the one I got had quilting in the paper. If they turn out to be bad, I'll not feel bad about throwing them out. On the other hand, at $1.50 for four rolls, they're comparable with standard toilet paper, so if they work I'm happy to stick with them.

Actually, that's pretty much my philosophy on any of these things---as long as they taste/work the same or better, and cost the same, less, or not too much more, why not go for the environmentally friendly variety? Not to mention the novel experience of seeing ingredient lists less than five items long, all of them recognisable. It might even be good for you.

Oh, and one more thing---I just had to try out Dr. Bronner's magic soap. The man was a little crazy, and there is a cryptic diatribe on every paper soap wrapper... pretty cool. And hey, the soap seems to work just fine. A bit on the expensive side, though.

"You can't really get an education if it begins with the premise that there's some book or doctrine that's too dangerous for you." --Janet Cooper-Nelson Posted by blahedo at 4:15pm on 29 Sep 2002

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