Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30th, 2011 - Day 21 of 60

When I was a young chap, my grandfather would take me to the stock car races.  We'd make the 40 minute trip, often stopping at the donut shop on the way.  I will always remember the feeling of those old wooden bleachers on my butt, the smell of the spent fuel, the smoke that would linger in the air, and the ear-splitting sound of all that horsepower mingled with the screams from the crowd.  There was the wonderfully terrible food:  walkaway sundae, candy apple, Pepsi-Cola, etc.  All of those sensory stimuli creating a melange of memory.  Mostly, it was about being with my grandfather.  It was always a treat to see him and be with him.  Wish he lived longer.  Still, even though I am not quite the demographic for NASCAR, I still smile when I see a stock car race and think of him.

With that in mind, I'd like to make my short post about the supermarket.  We all have to go and we mostly dread it.  The whole place is a consumer trap designed to get you to part with your precious funds.  They love to put things in odd places that are right in your way so you have to look at them.  They'll stick "banana hangers" right in the midst of the cereal aisle.  The put some things in multiple places.  The thing you want is never in the logical place.  For example, cotton swabs are nowhere to be found in the "Health and Beauty" section of my store.  You'd think they'd be right next to the cotton balls.  Nope.  They are only in the "Baby" aisle, as if only a baby can use them.  Makes no sense to me.  It also makes no sense why there needs to be an entire aisle for soft drinks, an entire aisle for breakfast cereals, an entire aisle for snack chips, etc.  I guess choice is what we are about, but that is really a lot of choice.  Of course, I am confident there is a reason for the way the store is setup.  We live in a modern world where business moves at the speed of thought.  Real-time facts and figures are the norm.  Inventories are updated by the second.  Trends are spotted and marketing research never ends.  And all I want to do is buy food.  You can't do that at most grocery stores today.  There are more products than you can name, all struggling to get your attention.  You are not a person, you are a "customer", but not in the real sense of the word.  You are the target for marketing.  You behavior is watched, studied and evaluated.  Those "Bonus" cards you get at the store (you know, the one where you can't get the best price unless you use it?) keep track of what you buy and what you may buy.  It is all brilliant.  Then, at the end, when you pay your $280 dollars (after you just came in to get milk, bread and a frozen dinner) you get a few coupons spit out at you.  You just shopped and they are already planting the seed for your next adventure.  Those coupons are printed just for you, based on your spending habits.  They offer 10% off razor blades or half-off tampons and $3 off Purina Baboon Chow.  You know the drill. 

Alright, here is where I say the things that make you stop furrowing your brow:  All machines and medicines work best when you operate them by the rules.  There are guidelines, best practices and how-to guides.  My suggestion for "operating" the modern supermarket is to use the "NASCAR method."  People always chide stock car racing as a bunch of guys going around in a circle.  My usual reply is that they'd crap their pants if they were "just" going around in a circle at 200 miles an hour a scant six inches or less from a few other guys doing likewise.  Still, we need not be that dramatic.  As "boring" as going around in a circle really fast might be, it is a good example for modern shopping.  As you know, we want to eat "food".  We want stuff as near as it comes out of the ground, off the tree, from the vine, etc.  The less processing, refining, fortifying and adulterating, the better.  In order to do that, you need to drive your shopping cart like a NASCAR driver: go in a circle.  Stay to the outside of the store in the big loop.  In general, until they change the design after reading this blog post, most supermarkets still stick to the tried and true design.  You'll usually find the produce, deli, meat, fish, dairy, frozen foods and bakery in the "outer ring".  Some stores may change that, but most seem to be that way.  Many stores have multi-aisle frozen foods, but most of that isn't "food".  If you are lucky, your outer-ring frozen foods are the veggies, fruits and meats.  By sticking to the outer ring, you will find most of what you need.  Now, of course, there are times when you need cleaning products, mustard and a votive candle.  Then you must make a "pit stop" to the proper location.  But, you shouldn't drive into the "pits" without a purpose.  You'll lose laps and lose the race.  We all want to win this race.  So, stick to the track, only veer into the pits when it is planned and only for what you need and then get back out there racing!  You'll probably bring home less crap, save money and enjoy the process more.  And, in the end, when they give you those coupons, I'll bet you they'll never give you one for organic apples, organic greens or organic nuts.  Maybe if you go to one of those upscale stores, but probably not.  The race they are in is the race for profit.  We're not in that race.  We are in the race for health.  And, after it is over, we all bring home the checkered flag.

Next lesson: How to perform drafting with your shopping cart and not get dirty looks.

See you at the track.

I am 35% percent through the 60 days.

Weight:  151.6 lbs.
Big jump.  Not sure why.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed

1 comment:

  1. Well, Frank... my second attempt at a juice fast went better than the first. I lasted from after dinner Friday until breakfast Sunday (so roughly 36 hours) and didn't feel bad this time until bedtime Saturday night. I picked up a few more insights, so I think the next time I try it (and I have no idea at this point when that will be) I would be able to manage an entire weekend. I am in awe of people who can do this for long periods, people such as yourself. (Boy, I have learned how weak my will can be.)

    For now I will go back to just adding juices and smoothies and regroup.