In this post, I thought I would share some pictures of what a day is like when we buy groceries. It is not like most other people’s grocery shopping days. And yes, it does take us most of the day. In-between the beautiful pictures is a rather weird commentary about shoes.
The grocery shopping extravaganza can begin one of two ways. If we are going to the Champion store near us, we walk both ways and can use our trusty hand-truck to haul our goodies. If we are going to Carrefour a little bit further away, we take the bus back so our buying power is limited to what we can carry. We prefer the Carrefour for the lower prices and huge selection. Today we are off to Carrefour. It is a 30-40 minute walk, 2.2 km (1.4 miles). Regardless of which store we head to, we begin with packing reusable cloth bags in our backpack.
I am going to dis the USA here for something (I’ll keep it short). I have a very strong opinion on this and I really hope you do not find this offensive but I feel it needs to be said. Why the heck are Americans (except for California where a bag ban is working extremely well) still using cheap disposable plastic bags destroying our planet, killing wildlife, and using valuable natural resources? We have visited countries Americans would consider 2nd world, at best. Even citizens of these countries have willingly adopted cloth reusable bags and do their part to reduce landfills and save resources. What is so hard about having a few cloth bags in the trunk of your car? We have seen entire countries ban the use of plastic grocery bags. Do people stop buying groceries? No, they don’t. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. Please stop.
Ironically, the 100 billion number comes from a document produced by WM (Waste Management), one of the largest trash disposal companies in the world and certainly the largest in the USA. They get paid for hauling away your trash. In fact, they billed almost US$15 billion and employ 45,000 people to move your trash. And, even they are saying people should stop using plastic grocery bags. (Rant over)
We walk a lot. I love to walk. For as far back as I can remember, to roam off for a long walk meant an enjoyable day. Now we walk out of necessity as well as for enjoyment. We have no wheels. Some cruisers travel with folding bicycles. Others have scooters. Stowage space on a boat is limited. Stowing folding bikes seems to me to be a headache for the occasional times they might be used. I think an electric scooter might be a good option but in all honesty, I think it would result in a trip to the hospital for me.
Living in the USA, I would see very few people walk. Perhaps, I need to phrase this differently. They walk for exercise. I often saw people walking in the neighborhood or in the local park. But, they will drive to the grocery store a half a mile away. They will also drive the couple of miles to the park for the walk. And this cracks me up; people who will drive to the gym to walk on the treadmill. The icing on this proverbial cake: they want a parking spot by the gym entrance. I too was guilty of driving too much when living there. When I made an opportunity to walk a long way, I loved it.
I have two-mile shoes and over two-mile shoes. My two-milers are basically my flip flops. I can easily walk for an hour in flip-flips. I’m pretty sure I could run on a treadmill wearing my flip-flops but, we’ll never know (keep reading). For more serious walks, I have a nice pair of New Balance athletic shoes. These are my serious walking shoes. They are comfortable and my feet don’t ache at the end of a long hike.
I detest shopping for shoes. To be honest, shopping for any type of clothing is very low on my list of priorities. In the past, when I found a pair of comfortable shoes in a store, I purchased at least three pairs. I did this for work shoes also. For work shoes, I bought black, brown and cordovan. Most times I purchased two of each color. These were good quality shoes meaning resoling more than once is an option. I’m pretty sure the last time I purchased dress shoes was about 15 years before I retired. I’m also pretty sure nobody ever noticed my shoes only ever change color but never style.
I can recall quite clearly the day I purchased my shoes. It was somewhere in the early 1990’s. It was in Nashville, Tennessee at the Johnson and Murphy shoe outlet by the airport. I had a couple of hours to kill before my plane left. I purchased three pairs of laced wingtips. This was a historic day for me because I knew I wouldn’t have to shop for dress shoes for a considerable amount of time. It was also historic because I purchased all three pairs of shoes on sale at half-price. Yeah, baby! I think I did a happy dance on the way to the airport. At the time, I didn’t know these would be the last dress shoes I’d purchase. When I retired some 17-years later, two of the pairs had holes in the soles even after being resoled about three times each by our local cobbler. I think I got my money’s worth.
Buying multiple pairs of shoes all at once has many advantages. Chiefly and most appealing for me, it drastically reduces the time spent in shoe stores. When a pair wears out, there is a replacement pair in the wings that I know will be just as comfortable. This is also what I do with Athletic shoes. I will buy a pair, if they are still very comfortable after a few weeks, I will return to the store or go on-line and buy at least two more pairs. I never have to worry if the shoe manufacturer discontinues the style I find to be the most comfortable. Or at least I don’t have to worry for quite a few years.
On a side note here, I can only recall once in my entire life buying a pair of shoes on the fly. We were in Panama City and the doctor wanted to put me on a treadmill as a part of my check-up. He said I could not do it in my flip-flops. I tried to convince him I can do anything in flip-flops. In a previous life, I used to be in sales. I can be very convincing. And besides, if I hurt myself they’d be a doctor close at hand. Very sound logic, or so I thought. He didn’t buy it. Rather than drive the two hours back to the boat, we purchased shoes for me at the adjacent shopping center. We purchased the cheapest shoes I could find. They are blue and cost me $35. They are so-so shoes that met the purpose of the day. I find I can wear them for walks between 2-5 miles when I’m feeling fashionable or blue. For longer walks, I still fall back on my New Balance shoes.
Alas, my faithful New Balance shoes just bit the dust. Soles, being an integral part of the shoe’s design, have decided to divorce the shoe. Without soles, the basic function of the shoe is somewhat impaired. Now knowing how much I hate to shop for shoes, you can imagine how something like this can be devastating for me. But, doomsday is a little bit further down the road.
I have one more pair of New Balance shoes left. They were stowed on the boat under our bed. This is the last pair of a four-pair shoe purchase. So, doomsday is still out there but not today. I’m pretty sure this last pair was purchased about 15 years ago long before owning Cream Puff.