My Frustrations About Shopping (And Not Shopping) Local
June 24, 2021
I debated if I should write a post on the topic of shopping local, mostly because I’d rather talk about make up, perfume, shopping, or anything except current events in the area where I live. Yet, I sometimes feel like I should talk more openly about my life and how imperfect it can be.
Currently I live in a rural area outside a small town in Arizona. It’s beautiful where I live. The scenery is something I really enjoy as well as the piece and quiet, but there are many downsides to where I live. One of those downsides is that I cannot always shop locally for food.
I talk every now and then on this blog about my allergies. In addition to allergies to the vegetation and agriculture near where I live, I also have food allergies. These allergies make it difficult to find food in the area where I live. Fortunately, I can normally work around these allergies, but for the past few years it’s become increasingly harder to do so. The reason is because the food I’m allergic to has become more common ingredients in foods I normally eat.
Since I’m struggling to buy food in the area where I live, I have to travel to another county in order to find food I can eat. There, I can find food from a variety of grocery stores, and the grocery stores that have locations in and around the area where I live have a better selection of foods to pick from. Also, there are grocery stores that offer food that are allergy friendly.
The sad thing is there are more people moving into the area where I live, but there isn’t enough grocery stores nearby that can accommodate food allergy sufferers like myself. The town council of the town near where I live has talked about grocery stores and the lack of them, but it mostly comes down to the fact that, even though there are more people moving into the area, there aren’t enough for chain grocery stores to put a location in the area.
Because of this, it’s become harder for me to enjoy living here. I understand there aren’t enough people living in the area to support buying from a new grocery store, (I lived in the area long enough that I could’ve told anyone who ask me that there aren’t enough people) but it has become more of a problem that makes me wonder if living in the area is good for me. Especially since my allergies are the worst near where I live.
The thing is I feel pressured to “shop local” and “support your local businesses”. My family and friends don’t encourage me to shop local, mostly because they know I have serious allergies and I need to do what I need to do in order to stay healthy, but I feel pressured because of the encouragement by people in the town to shop local. I also feel nervous around certain groups of people where I live because they’ve asked people if they shop local and, if they answer no, they will start to pressure them to shop local. It doesn’t help that these people are business owners in the area.
Because of the pressure to shop local, even though I’m a local, has worn on me and made me second guess shopping outside the area. But, I have no choice and I need to leave to find myself food that won’t make me sick. It makes me sad and extremely frustrated to see that there has been an attitude change in the area that makes them push locals to become patrons of their businesses, even if they don’t carry the foods or supplies that someone needs. It also makes me frustrated that this is not the run in with people who want everyone to shop local over the course of my time living here.
Many years ago, when I began to realize and discover how serious my allergies truly are as well as other serious health problems, I would tell people I used to talk to in the town about my health problems. They weren’t willing to listen to them and even accused me of faking my illnesses in order to get out of obligations and other things they felt was very important for me to be a part of, including shopping at the local grocery stores. Over the years I separated myself from them, but that didn’t stop them from talking about me and what they thought about me to others in the town. Today, some people still believe these rumors while others distanced themselves from them for similar reasons I did. Even thought this happened many years ago, I still get nervous about telling someone in the town that I don’t shop local for my food.
Over the years I began to distance myself from talking to most of the people in the town for the exception of a handful of people. They know I don’t shop locally, but they also understand my worry about being too open about my struggles to find allergy friendly foods to others. For the most part, not being able to shop locally for my food has been a frustrating and time consuming nuisance that I put up with because that’s the season I’m currently in in my life. Yet, knowing how temperamental telling someone in the town my struggles with food allergies has made living in the area more stressful that I think it should be.
If anyone is struggling with a similar problem about shopping local, don’t feel like you’re alone. You may be the only one in the area with the problem, but you’re not the only one in the world with this problem. And don’t feel bad that you can’t shop local because of something happening in your life that prevents you from doing so. People can be very mean spirited and cruel when they assume you’re doing something you’re actually not. It’s more than ok to distance yourself from them. It’s actually the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. Instead of trying to convince them what’s going on, let them go and focus on nurturing healthy relationships with people who actually want to be around you, care about you, and you feel the same about them. Doing otherwise will drain your emotional energy trying to encourage people who don’t care about you to care about you. This will also cause those who actually do care about you to feel embarrassed and foolish because your actions say you don’t care about them as well.