Saturday, October 31, 2009

Falling off the wagon

Musings from the Greenhabilitator...

"I have to do this." I thought as I unscrunched my face and tried to camouflage my disgust. Deep breath. Here we go.

"Welcome to Walmart" said the greater. I managed to grunt and force a half smile, making a bee line towards the kids department.

After weeks of looking at thrift shops, we were still without the serious snow gear that our 5 year old daughter needed to survive the cold, hard winter here in the mountains of Colorado. We got three feet of snow earlier this week (yeah, in October), which made for awesome sledding over our two days off from school. Unfortunately, the two older kids had to take turns using the snow suit and boots (lucky for us they're the same size).

Today when we dug out I made the decision to break the Compact and get Macy the gear she needed, rather than hoping it might come to me serendipitously.

Walmart is probably one of my least favorite places on earth for a variety of reasons, but it's the only store in our little mountain town. There was a time I could brag that I hadn't set foot in a Walmart in several years. Not that boycotting Walmart somehow made up for the love affair I had with Target. But that's neither here nor there.

Today I was disappointed in myself for not finding a second-hand option, I was grumpy that I had to shop at Walmart, and I was just feeling like a poor eco-hero in general. Somewhere in my distress a strange thing happened. I said "screw it". If I was going out, I'd go out in style. (I was totally getting the whole "an alcoholic can never have 'just one' drink", except I'm a reformed shopoholic.)

At any rate, we picked out gloves and a snow suit, then headed to the shoe department to find some snow boots. Out of her size, darn. We took a spin through fabric. Nothing too fabulous. Any kitchen gadgets I "need"? No.

My 4 year old spotted the plastic pumpkins for trick-or-treating, "Can we buy those mom?" "Uh, no." I told him in that "Are you smoking crack?" tone. "But why not?" he asked. I think I answered something to the effect of "Because we don't buy cheap plastic crap that you use once and clogs the landfill for ever." Meanwhile I was admiring a glass pumpkin cookie jar / candy dish type thing, thinking how I'd put the kids' candy in it. Ooooh and it's only $5.00! But what am I going to do with it the other 364 days of the year? Why would I possibly need a glass pumpkin?

I laughed to myself.

Here I was actually trying to break the Compact in a blaze of glory and all I could get myself to buy was what I originally came for. What I really needed.

Imagine that.

I was reading a blog post the other day about "falling off the wagon" (only this was in regards to the diet wagon) where the author said~
"Here’s the thing...we still live in the same world we inhabited before The Reformation, and an important part of making really lasting change is developing the capacity to be a little flexible sometimes, and then climb right back onto the wagon."
I think I'm starting to get that.


Tameson said...

huh, in NH I have NEVER seen snowpants in Wal-Mart. I usually end up at Target.

karen hanrahan aka mother earth said...

you will hear me say " bless me father for I have sinned - it's been 90 days since my last big box store shop"

Green Bean said...

I totally smiled at this post. I had to go to Target a few months back to get something, I can't remember what, that I was unable to find used or at any locally owned stores. At first, I was surprised that people still lived and shopped like this. I forget, living in my green bubble as I do. A couple minutes later, I was like Whoooooo! I might as well buy some stuff while I'm here. Like you, I ended up with just what I came for . . . and a pack of gum. Now that's livin on the edge.

Eco Yogini said...

lol, it's nice to hear other stories about "greenies" falling off the wagon. :)

Daisy said...

Reassure yourself by looking at the other end of the tunnel. When you finish with this snowgear, it won't go to the landfill. It'll go to a second hand store, a thrift store, or you'll give it to another child. You still have a chance to be green with this purchase - later.

Rosa said...

Yeah, I just gave up on little-kid cold weather gear. People hand it down to people they know, the only time I've found winter coats for kids at garage sales (I'm in Minnesota) they were the colors/styles that were popular when I was a kid in the '80s - and fell apart in the wash.

I've added kids longjohns, boots, waterproof gloves, coats and snowboots to my list of things the world *does* need more of.

Pure Motehrs said...

Is shopping at Walmart greener than buying online from a store with better business ethics (think Patagonia) and asking for no plastic packing? I realize there is fuel involved in getting it to you - but didn't fuel get it to Walmart and did fuel get you to Walmart? Just asking. Would like to hear the argument for/against a trip to a big box store. Trust me, I'm not as green as I used to be now that I live in London. I went from Pure Mother to Diluted Mum. At least I walk and bike more! But everything is wrapped in plastic and I can NOT be a locavore. I would live on meat and potatoes - and we don't eat mammals in our house. Most fruits and veggies are shipped in. :-( It was easy eating local in California!

Kellie said...

@PureMother - I think the difference for me is cost. I am happy to pay a few more dollars for organic food, or pay a bit more for something locally made instead of buying the mass produced equivalent from Target. Unfortunately the cost difference for the snow suit is just a lot larger. Places like Patagonia sell them for $150, so the $15 one from Walmart was more in my budget.

If the snow suit was for me, I'd definitely see it as more of an investment since I'm likely to be the same size for years to come (hopefully!). For a growing 5 year old who is hard on her clothes I just don't think I could justify spending $150.

I certainly agree though, that a place like Patagonia would be a greener option!

Andrea said...

I have had great luck finding all my son's winter gear on ebay-great prices on patagonia, lands end and ll bean!


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