The Elitist Exchange

Socio-Economics As Seen Through An Unfortunate Trip To The Grocery Store

Jessica Cassyle Carr
2 min read
The Elitist Exchange
This isn’t even food!
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During college, when I was in my teens and early twenties, I made little games out of visits to the grocery store. One was called “buy-a-week’s-worth-of-sustinance-for-under-$15,” another was “purchase-ingredients-for-a-semi-gourmet-dinner-and-enough-wine-to-get-drunk-for-$8.” Vend age and I were friends. Later, briefly, I liked to play “get-groceries-on-credit-and-totally-screw-your-future-self.”

Now, in my late twenties, I’m by no means rich, but I can afford—and will spend money on—frequent trips to nice grocery stores.

Last night, I needed to run an errand near San Pedro and Louisiana. I also needed to purchase wine and a movie to go with dinner, so, against better judgment, decided to to kill two birds with one strip mall by going to Hastings and Smith’s. Both badly-lit and laid-out stores got progressively more dismal as the shopping trip ensued, culminating with the line at Smith’s. There, amidst the echoes of the bullshit self-check-out, something (that I should have already known) dawned on me: When shopping at more expensive stores you actually pay to not be in line
behind a 300-pound wheelchair-bound woman (who’s probably the same age as me) buying cookies and cheese puffs on EBT, and in front of a rude, burned-out thug with six cases of generic soda, 48 rolls of toilet paper and a little bit of baby food. By shopping at places like Whole Foods I’m paying to avoid that exhibition of human misery, and to shop amongst healthier, higher-functioning people. Which makes me feel like an elitist asshole … Still, I don’t remember cheapo shopping being so terrible ten years ago. Is American society in digression?
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