Tuesday, 11 February 2014


There is a conversation I’ve had more than once about the orders I place with a company that delivers veggie boxes.  I like that all their goods are organic, but of course you have to buy pre-set quantities, so in order to get any kale at all you have to have a whole big bag.  And if you order a red cabbage you get a huge one.  I know a bit of kale and cabbage is good for me but I don’t like them that much.  The amount I'm sent is disheartening, and lasts so long that it’s far from fresh by the time I finish it.  I can choose amounts and sizes at the regular supermarket, but can’t rely on being able to get an organic version.  Also, being mail order, I can’t be sure what the veggies are like until they arrive.  If they’re dry and fibrous or rather sour or tasteless, as sometimes happens, then I wish I hadn’t got them.  At the supermarket I can see and touch and smell before I buy, so the purchase is usually not disappointing – but not that many things are organic (or local, or ethical from the point of view of man or beast).

A couple of times I’ve mused aloud on this matter, and elicited the response, “Have you tried X supermarket?  I think you might find they would be cheaper than B&C (my veggie box firm).

Cheaper?” I say. “Who said anything about cheaper?  What makes you think X’s organic produce is cheaper than B&C’s?  B&C aren’t especially expensive as far as I know.”

“Oh,” comes the reply.  “I thought you said that was the problem.”


 It intrigues me that people are so sure of what you’re likely to say, that when you speak they hear that and not what you do say.  It intrigues me that people assume organic stuff is always very expensive.  It further intrigues me that if I’m trying to find organic food to eat, then mail order difficulties could be solved by simply buying something cheaper.  That means that in some minds the only determining criterion is price. 

I am not very good on price.  I try to find what I’m looking for – organic, ethical, local, tasty and fresh – and I buy that.  I don’t compare prices much because what I want is so rarely available that there aren’t usually many options available for comparison.  I will prioritise buying good food over buying almost anything else, because I see it as buying good health, and I have no place to be but my body while I’m here.  So looking for cheap food has never been my issue.  And yet, every time I have this conversation, what I’m heard to say is “Where can I get cheaper fruit and vegetables than these?”

I know this is not unusual but I still find it strange.  I suspect the way forward is to talk less.  I am probably saying too many words, creating a situation where the other person, buried under my random babbling as under a pile of falling leaves on an autumn day, hears that I am (still) talking, takes a random reading of the subject matter, and makes an assumption as to content without bothering to actually listen.

No prizes, lady readers, for guessing with whom these conversations take place.


Anonymous said...

I think that money is an obsession we have been trained in for the longest time. We have been trained up to want 'stuff', the more'stuff' the better. In order to get more it needs to be cheaper which is why production moved abroad. Now people are brainwashed to want more of cheaper rather than less but quality (unless it has a designer label then it's OK to spend 100s of pounds on mass produced 'stuff' that's exactly the same as the other designer 'stuff'that others have spent 100s of pounds on rather than buying unique quality products). Food suffers from the same thing...more and cheaper is better.

Sorry...I'll get off my soapbox now! lol

Pen Wilcock said...

Sounds all too believable . . . x

Jenna said...

Byron Katie says, "No two people have ever met," meaning that we only meet what our story of that other person is and vice versa. teehee

I once got a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share but found it was way too much for me to use. I decided my dollars were better spent at the market picking up the amounts I wanted of what I wanted, especially when I was picking curled autumn oak leaves out of the bagged "salad" and the seeming same box of cauliflower/5 Brussels sprouts/1 smallish patty pan squash kept arriving week after week.

Pen Wilcock said...

To all of that: exactly! x

DaisyAnon said...

My pet peeve is when I buy (for example) a large joint of meat, and the butcher says something about the cost that makes me feel extremely guilty about the purchase. Surely it's his job to sell the meat???

I'm glad you said you don't know the exact price of things, neither do I. It's not because I have too much money to notice, just that I have made choices about how I spend my money. And yes I am fortunate not to have to count every penny I know.

However, the butcher is just an example, it happens all the time.

One day I am going to give in to the temptation to say, 'You are right, I shouldn't be spending all that money, take it back' and walk out. :)

I bought something recently - some fruit I think, and the assistant said 'have you won the lottery?'

"I have no place to be but my body while I’m here"

Fabulous, you have such a way with words.

As for your commentators - if they are the section of humanity I suspect they are, they are rarely interested in such musings about vegetable shopping and their instincts are always to 'fix' the problem. No, they are not 'listening'. :)

Pen Wilcock said...

Gosh - your butcher and fruiterer won't be winning any marketing prizes, Daisy! x

Rapunzel said...

Ah Pen, it pleases me that you don't put your focus on what things cost, but rather on their quality. This seems wise to me in more than one way, and good veg is a better investment than so many other things I can think of.
One thing I do like about having my own wee job is that my thrifty mate does not so much as squeak about the price of groceries if it is MY checkbook coming out, haha. When it's his he's a fierce bargain hunter, and I much prefer prganic whan available, and maximum freshness to bargain prices. As I've no "health" insurance at all I simply cannot afford to be sick.

And you're right....they've already decided what you're going to say, so they're not really listening.

Strange strange world we live in. Personally I find life here on this planet hysterically funny much of the time. I think you are one who has chosen to take life rather seriously. Have you got any idea when you made that decision?

Pen Wilcock said...

Ah, you speak my mind, friend. About the laughing stopping, I think one thing with two faces has flattened it: fear - of God and of the destruction of the Earth by human rapacity. I fear the increase of war, the worsening and deepening of erratic climate, the ending of resources. And I fear the high standards and high expectations of God because I am a lazy and comfort-lovng soul with a penchant for tranquility.

Anne Booth said...

Pen - I think God has a penchant for tranquility! I think you share that penchant and that is lovely. It comes from God - so it is something to rejoice in! I know, thinking of the fear of God, that the fear in me is because I can feel deep down that God has high standards and high expectations re, for example, caring for my parents, and I never feel I am doing a good enough job. But then I see how kind my husband is, and how he keeps saying how well I'm doing, and I realise - I fear a God of my own imagination - an unsympathetic and fearsome idol, and one with cruelly high expectations and standards - but I meet the real tender, loving, kind God through the love of my husband. I love it that God became incarnate. he became incarnate as a baby - the least frightening human being in the world - and grew to be Jesus, who was happy that Mary sat at his feet, who slept in a boat whilst storms raged, and who (& this is as much for me as for you!) told us not to be afraid. It seems to me your husband loves you very much as you are - and that is the way God has chosen to show you a tiny part of how you are truly seen and loved . I think you should enjoy your comfort and tranquility as a gift from a God who, loves to give it to you. And in the same spirit, I am, after doing lots of errands today and getting cold going to shops for parents, am going to let myself have a cup of tea and a little read of 'I capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith xxxx

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) God bless the reading and tea-drinking! xx