Friday, March 28, 2014

Agism, Guilt and Judgemental Cashier Ladies

EcoYogini shares on being judged....

Last week I bought apples. Not any ole apples, but ORGANIC apples. Honestly, I spent, it felt like, HOURS standing there debating whether I should actually purchase these exorbitantly expensive apples or settle for "Canadian" apples, or suck it up and have no apples until next weekend when we could get to the Farmer's Market.

Finally, I decided that my health needed fruit, I was buying non organic bananas cuz the organic bananas looked like shit so I would splurge and purchase three expensive organic honey crisps to last me until (this) weekend when I could get to the market.

I know there is this entire movement trying to impress upon Nova Scotians that buying local and organic is not actually more expensive.... but it is. Andrew and I don't make boatloads of money, but we do have boatloads of debt (all "good" but debt nonetheless) so we need to be careful about our grocery choices while keeping somewhat healthy. It's a tricky balance that often results in some Kraft Dinner once or twice a week (Kraft Mac&Cheese for the Americans peeps).

While at the checkout we make a bit of small talk with the cashier. Honestly, we always make small talk with the cashier. Well, not like weird creepy customers, but mostly we make eye contact and smile which results in the cashier saying stuff to us. To which we answer. It's all very Maritime-y (and probably "small town" ish even in a city like Halifax).

Then the cashier scans the apples. And says something... which I missed and had to say "pardon me?"... to which she repeated loudly: "These better be good apples" in a disgusted voice.

Honestly, at this point I thought she was referring to the fact that they seemed to have a few bumps on them. And I said "yeah I know, eh?" (ps- Canadians don't say "eh" after every statement. Please note that "eh" is really only a "right?" confirmation replacement. And not every Canadian says "eh". Personally, I acquired "hey/eh" while living in Montreal and spending every waking hour with my best friend (ex) who's from BC who uses it).

Back to the apples. The cashier then repeated "No, I mean these apples better taste amazing considering just how expensive they are"+ the.most.judgemental.look.ever. It was like I was looking at my MOTHER, the way she was looking at me and JUDGING my apple purchase. I had no idea how to respond. I mean, how do you respond to that without telling the lady she's being a judgemental d-bag? I think I smiled sheepishly and just said something about "oh yeah, those organic apples ya know". To which she made another disapproving comment about just how expensive they were and we moved on.

But I left there feeling like crap and a little stupid about my choice. Part of it is the embarrassment of being fortunate enough to have the money to buy organic produce. Cuz they WERE really expensive. I do think part of my psychological makeup is influenced from growing up in an uber blue collar, practical, we didn't have a ton of money and scoffing at those other fancy schmancy people who did, family. Honestly, I feel a bit guilty even though we aren't at all in a great financial place.

Another part was the agism. It's not like I'm that young anymore, but often older women tend to treat me as if I am a silly child. Part of that is my bubbly, not so serious personality. Part of that might be because I don't have children of my own. It's annoying as hell though.

And finally... I hate being judged for my environmental choices. Yes they cost more, but Andrew and I make sacrifices and educated decisions about where we spend our money. Stop judging us.

And those apples are effing DELICIOUS.


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Green Bean said...

I beat they are offing delicious! ;-) Ironically, the last time I bought apples at the supermarket, they were organic and local. The cashier opened up my reusable produce bag (yes, I'm all hippie that way) and said "wow, these smell great! You can tell apples that are local and fresh by the fact that they smell so strong like this." I was honestly expecting the answer you got but let's share the one I got. Enjoy your yummy apples.

maggi g said...

loved the post. try being 65 and buying all organic....why should you bother at your age? how can you afford that on your retirement? it goes on and on. I tell people I plan to live about another 15-20 years and I intend to be healthy enough to take care of myself without any help, thank you very much. ive been a tree hugger, bunny hugger all my life and don't plan to let anyone bother me. take care of yourself and your husband - with or without children - and don't let anyone bother you. keep up the good work.

shannon said...

Funny how some of us yanks think most other countries are so much more enlightened. But I kind of have to say, where I come from that kraft pseudo food product would get you a lot more frowns than the apples. Just saying....

Gillian Wesley said...

We all make choices on how and where to spend the little that we have. I wish more people realized that the price tag (of food and otherwise) rarely reflects the true cost on the economy, environment, and health. Good for you for sticking to your guns, and I'm happy to hear the apples were well enjoyed!

CallieK said...

Maybe you misread her intent- it reads to me like she was not judging your choices but rather the organic movement itself. which might be an age thing too or maybe just irritation that she worked for a place that stocks what she perceived as over priced apples. Try not to take it personally.

Shannon, Kraft Dinner in Canada does not contain the same ingredients as the american version - I still wouldn't call it healthly food but here it contains mostly enriched flour(pasta) and modified milk ingredients and a lot less of the weird chemical additives that are in the US version. Apparently Kraft recently removed the dyes that make the cheese sauce neon orange as well.

Eco Yogini said...

Thanks everyone! @Shannon: honestly KD isn't the healthiest and I wasn't really sure if the Canadian version really was similar to the American... my initial thought was no, but CallieK thanks for confirming. That said- definitely not our proudest food moment.
@CallieK: yeah... she was judging me. but it's good advice to let that go :) said...

It's funny how we let people get under our skin, isn't it? You know you make choices that are best for you. The cashier should do the same. Maybe a bit more "Thank you for shopping at ___!" and lot less Judgey MacJudgerson?

I'm sorry you felt bad for your choice at the moment, but I'm glad that more people are making the choice to go local or organic (or both!)

I'm so happy the apples were yummy! :D

Mindful Echo said...

A) Kraft Dinner FTW
B) Organic and local, unfortunately, does seem to be more expensive. It's easier on the budget when things are in season but, in my opinion, it's a worthwhile splurge.
C) I'm totally guilty of judging people for the purchases and KNOW I inadvertently give people dirty looks when I see them buying bottled water. At the same time, I often guiltily hide my indulgences under the more sensible items when I load them onto the conveyor at the grocery store. Still, silently judging, while still not good, is not nearly as bad as vocalizing it. I can't believe the cashier said something.

One time a cashier chastised me for flipping through a tabloid while I waited. No, I don't have a vested interest in "Brangelina," but even if I did, he didn't have the right to say anything about it.

It sucks that you were treated like that. At least you know your purchase was worth the money, eh?

Betsy Escandon said...

Great post, Eco Yogini and love your comment, @Mindful Echo! It's hard not to silently judge others (while overlooking our own rationalizations and shortcomings). Still, a cashier vocalizing her judgment is pretty surprising. Good for you for trying to make a conscious choice!

Christy said...

I hear you! I hate shopping for produce in the supermarkets, and try to only do that in the off season, but when I have to I search out a) organic/local food b)local food and then c)organic food, in that order. Of course my choices are more expensive, but I believe in being political with my spending patterns, and I believe in buying for my health and the well-being of those who raise my food.

But I have lost count of the number of times a cashier has tried to talk me into a cheaper choice, telling me about the special on the conventional produce and giving me the side eye on how much I'm paying for what I'm buying. Umm, none of your freaking business, thankyouverymuch! I'm trying to see it as them just helping me to know the good deals out there (which I appreciate) but I can't help but feel some judgement, and I don't have time or energy to launch into a tirade about conventional produce, pesticides, GMOs, local diet, supporting local businesses, etc.

The other thing that gets me when I shop, if I can continue the soap boxing, is when I bring in reusable shopping bags and mesh bags for produce, or don't use plastic bags for my loose produce because I've left my mesh bags at home, or a reusable cup, etc and the cashiers roll their eyes at me, or even complain that it is more work for them. Or worse, when they go ahead and use the plastic because they either haven't heard me or don't want to abide by my choices and then express their frustration audibly. Grrr.

Latest experience, in Starbucks (I know, I know), bringing in my reusable mug, and they insisted on writing my order on a disposable cardboard sleeve so the barista knew what to make (long line up), which they then tossed in the garbage because I didn't need it for my own mug. ?!?!?

On a side note, I totally don't think I say "eh" all that much, except when I do, which may or not be all the time, and I'm from BC, haha!


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