Monday, June 2, 2008

You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?

My first real adventure in the Valley was going to the grocery store on Sunday. Even walking through the parking lot, people were staring at me. Obviously, a very pale-skinned redhead looks out of place in this region of the country. On the bright side I don’t seem short here!

Once I entered the store, I was quite surprised at how unfamiliar the store seemed. I grocery shop at the HEB in Austin and generally the layout of the store was similar at the HEB in San Juan. However, despite the familiar appearance of the store, the types of items available for purchase were quite different. I immediately realized how spoiled I’ve become in Austin. First, there wasn’t any Stonyfield Farm Organic vanilla yogurt. I was sad that they didn’t carry my favorite brand. Second, no vegetarian frozen food. At least I couldn’t find any. And I certainly wasn’t going to be that gringo chick asking about the hippie food. And the deli!? Where was the Boar’s Head Brand meats and cheeses?

I think it is interesting that people criticize low-income individuals for being over weight and often for having poor overall health. My trip to the grocery store yesterday alerted me to a significant obstacle. Not only would it be difficult for many people to afford organic food products, the local store doesn’t even offer them as an option. What do you think?

After cruising around the store and contemplating the implications of the HEB offerings, I headed to the check out line. The clerk said, “Hola, how are you?” And I responded “Hi, fine and you?” He then immediately said, “you’re not from around here are you?” I responded, “No I’m from Austin.” He asked me if I was going to the beach and I explained that I was here for an internship. After he finished ringing up my purchases, including the can of organic corn I discovered, he had two more questions. “Do you need help taking your groceries to the car?” and “What about an escort to the beach?”


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the fight I had with the vice-president of Whole Food's sustainability, renewability, and organic foo-foo something, where I said that Whole Foods basically excluded poor people from having morals.

Except for the part where she invited me to the beach.

Instead, we just made passionate angry love in the backseat of her Prius.! said...

Hey, sounds like my E. Riverside HEB. Nothing organic, plenty of fatty, sugar-filled options lining the aisles. No surprise that diabetes is rampant in lower-income, non-white populations.