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Can they make the grocery store a Judgment-Free Zone?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

You know Planet Fitness's slogan--The Judgment-Free Zone? I had to censor myself with that little slogan at the grocery store this morning. We're on the leading edge of a two-day blizzard, so of course the store was overrun with people stocking up on necessities. The milk aisle looked like locusts had hit it. The frozen pizzas were decimated ... as was the beer. Bread and bottled water were going down fast. I picked up my milk, Splenda, broccoli, fish, hamburg, and bread, and got into the checkout aisle.

Right next to me, a woman was struggling with a teetering shopping cart, loaded over the top with survival rations. God help me, but I couldn't tear my eyes away. I kept scolding myself and reminding myself that the supermarket should be judgment-free, too. But, still ... There were 6 packs of Little Debbie snacks, two large bags of Oreos, corn flakes, Rice Krispies, Doritos, chips, crackers in 7 varieties, nothing fresh or unprocessed or even not in plastic packaging. A cart loaded OVER THE TOP with the stuff! Perhaps she was shopping for a day care center, I thought. But, no, THAT would be too awful to contemplate! Was she shopping for herself? Oh the horror! For her LUNCH??

Jamie Oliver, West Virginia doesn't need you nearly as much as Stratham, New Hampshire, at this very moment!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think it is funny when the cashier at the grocery store exclaims that I have all healthy food in my cart!
    2434 days ago
    Definitely understand your interest! Sometimes I wish people weren't so defensive so you could help someone in a situation like that...
    2446 days ago
    I do this too. And thanks to the comments about frozen pizzas not lasting through a power outage, I'll remember to buy fresh foods that can be eaten as is and will survive without electricity. Apples, pears, celery, broccoli and potatoes don't need refrigeration - although that is where I tend to store mine (less the potatoes). Great blog. Gotta admit guilt here.
    2446 days ago
    I mainly look when they pull out the food stamps. I'm totally supportive of welfare and food stamps but I get po'd when I see the crap some people are buying for their kids. Where I live you can even go to fast food as long as you have to do some preparation (like the pizza has to be cooked or something similar) and use food stamps. The old system of giving out cheese, flour, beans, etc. was lacking in vegetables/fruit but it at least gave the staples, leaving some money to buy those.

    I do love how people check out my basket (I'm still way overweight) and when they see the healthy stuff I sometimes get the look - you know - am I the cook for someone else etc. :) But like HJFogarty says, if something like ice cream makes its way into my basket, I know every now and them I'll get it. In fact, Friday night Safeway had Boston Cream Pie marked down to $5 and I picked one up for my neighbor who loves them. The lady in line behind me made some comment on how she loves them but they were too fattening and then just stared - I didn't even bother to waste my breath on how it wasn't for me because, really... But it does show how the judgement is always there for the overweight so knowing that, we really should try to be vigilant to not judge others. emoticon
    2448 days ago
    I find it more funny that people should prepare for a blizzard and possible power outage by stocking up on frozen pizza. For one, how long is that going to keep in a freezer that's not working due to no electricity? And secondly, how are they going to heat it up?

    At least the lady at the checkout had all dry food. It might not be the healthiest, but it won't spoil and doesn't require cooking or heating up.
    2449 days ago
  • CMMCK1952
    The only way I even see someone else's cart is if I happen to grab theirs instead of mine.
    2449 days ago
  • SARAHTH001
    I always look too. I remember having carts like that. It makes me feel bad that I fed my kids that way. Everything was from bags, boxes and cans. I am just really lucky that they eat healthier now and won't eat that junk as long as I did. The worst is Costco. I hope it's not just for them.

    I thought I was the only one doing this!!!
    2450 days ago
  • MAY1787
    I completely relate to this! I don't judge when a person has a few items that are completely unhealthy, after all, we all need to indulge now and then but I DO judge when I see a cart like you saw. Someone will be doing chest compressions on whoever is eating those goods in the not too near future.
    2451 days ago
    This one cracked me up. Thanks for sharing.
    2451 days ago
  • SILLYHP1953
    You are funny! I'm sure there were no fresh or unprocessed foods because she was afraid the electric would go out and they would spoil...what do you think?
    2543 days ago
    I know what you mean. The stuff people eat. My step dad buys only two things for 'food' because Mom refuses to buy them - his cola and alcohol.. He is on water pills but rarely drinks water, its all pop and coffee..
    Its impressive seeing the quantity of junk bought at Costco..
    2544 days ago
    haha sue! I know it is so hard - but I catch myself doing it too - after years of being that same person - I now feel bad knowing that they are going to be paying for eating all that crap in the years to come - that over processed food and just junk in our bodies that struggle to process even natural foods. . .the sad thing is that most of that crap tastes good or atleast we are fooled into thinking it does. . .lol I try to buy healthy and think ahead - but that icecream does seem to fall into my cart often! lol however it has always made me smile when gearing up for a storm that could knock out power - all those frozen things and products that could spoil easily are the majority purchased! lol

    Thanks for sharing - I enjoyed your blog.
    2544 days ago
  • MONTY68
    Hi Sue

    I love your blog, it is so difficult at times not to judge or assume something. Years ago, I read a article about judging others and the authors idea is was if we were walking in the other persons shoes, we might be doing the same thing we judged. However, That idea is hard some times to use, especially with what you experienced at the store. Our reaction would be to want to say something. The sad part is that could be a normal shopping experience for her. So, the only thing one can do is bite our tongue and go away frustrated.
    Thank you for sharing and lets hope that snow lightens up. Stay warm and safe.


    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2544 days ago
  • JANEDOE12345
    I used to rush to Stop 'n' Shop to buy oranges and potatoes, until I figured out that the incidence of scurvy occurring during a snowstorm is extremely low in Connecticut. Sudden onset nutritional deficiencies now seem unlikely so now I just check the cat litter. I would rather starve to death than be asphyxiated by Funky Catbox Syndrome.

    2544 days ago
    Same here and the younger they are the worse their carts are. Packages and packages of nothing but junk food. I have seen carts with no healthy items at all. My son and I were once were behind this beautiful girl and for some reason my son said, "She is really pretty but a man would starve to death with nothing better to eat than what she had.

    The people who surprise me the most - people who can stand canned spaghetti type meals. Just the thought gags me.
    2544 days ago
    Oh, the Horror! emoticon

    How can people LIVE that way? Not very long I bet! emoticon
    2544 days ago
    I'm glad that you were able to get your groceries without problems. (Sometimes I am appauled by what my DH puts in his mouth but that's another story.) Thank goodness I shopped on Sunday because our stores were getting bare yesterday. It's beautiful here. We had rain this morning, then sleet/ice, and now it has just started to snow. I'm sick of listening to the news so I'm not sure what is still predicted. The powers-that-be are advising us to stay inside and the police and national guard are taking "necessary" people to their jobs. The good news is thaat, with so much time inside, I'll be ready to start the taxes soon.

    2544 days ago
  • RD03875
    When is the Superbowl? First of the month purchases? I look at other people's carts too
    2544 days ago
    Hmmm. I'll admit that I check out other peoples carts but generally don't have a problem keeping my thoughts to myself. It really is scary what you see in some peoples carts. But it also makes me take a closer look at what I actually have in mine...and some times that scares me too.
    Even Bob wouldn't eat some of the things that you mentioned, and most of our actual meals are fresh/from scratch, but I have more cookies and treats and crap in that cart that I truthfully find kind of embarrasing....But Bob won't give them up, so what do you do.
    I do admit, so far I'm pretty pleased with how my daughters feed the grandkids so far....but I remember being scolded by my mother on some of my food choices for my I'd refrain from saying much generally tends to backfire.
    One thing I never understood though. When you think you might possibly have power outages in the middle of a storm...are 6 gallons of ice cream a really good thing to buy?
    And after piling their carriages high the day before a storm, why do you see those same people the day after the storm,with carriages once again piled high? did they really eat all that food?????
    2544 days ago
  • BEBE1964
    A definite hold your tongue moment! I watch my daughter buy soda for my grandchildren, rather then water every time we are out somewhere together.
    I make suggestions that they may need more water, etc.. lol! Yes, this one is tough.
    Sad, really.
    2544 days ago
    I am always amazed what people put in their cart at Costco, no one should eat 100 bags of chips
    2544 days ago
    I must admit I do observe what other people put in their trolleys, quite interesting past time when you are in a long line up! I am the only one who uses recycled bags here. The bags are from the supermarket I shop at. I also buy biodegradable rubbish bags! A lot of people don't realize they exist as a lot of people say they use plastic bags to shop with and use them as their rubbish bags. The only problem with this logic is these bags are not bio - degradable.
    2544 days ago
    My, my, my! The older I get the harder it is to be quiet!! LOL I struggle also and just try to avert my eyes! LOOK AWAY FROM THE JUNK FOOD!!!! (which I used to buy emoticon )
    2544 days ago
    YIKES!!! But you are right...judgement-free zone!! I was in a convience store the other morning at 7a.m. and there was a 9-10 year old kid getting a 44 oz. Mountain Dew to take to school with him!!! Talk about having to bite your tongue!!!
    2544 days ago
    A true bite-your-tongue moment... I've had a few of those myself! There's nothing you can do about it, either. Mentioning that the contents of her shopping cart were a bit less than healthy would have started an unpleasant confrontation at the very least... and, even worse, could very well have sent the poor woman into a binge when she got home. What we need is an unjudgemental way to educate everyone; and I'm not sure what that would be. I've read articles about the latest government recommendations for healthy eating, and many comments attached to these articles are angry and defensive: People do not LIKE being told they have to eat less in general, and less unhealthy food in particular. They don't LIKE being told that too much meat is bad for them, and that vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are much, much better for them. They don't LIKE being told that whole foods (that one has to take home and cook) are WAY better than processed foods that come out a box or a can. I'm afraid when people hear something they don't like they have a tendency to hold their hands over their ears and yell, "LALALALALALALA, I can't HEAR you!!" Only that could explain the comments like, "Humans are evolved to eat meat, not vegetables," "Fat is good for you, carbs are bad," "It's the food processors' (or restaurants') faults for not making healthy food." Very few people want to take responsibility for their own health, but that is the ONLY thing that will make someone healthy... I know, I know, I'm preaching to the choir, here, but it frustrates me to no end... getting Americans to eat healthy food and exercise would do way more for our country's health than forcing everyone to buy health insurance.

    Whew.... Sorry, Sue, you pressed the wrong button! :)
    2544 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/1/2011 11:11:37 AM
    I'm guilty at the grocery but figure no harm/no foul. I keep my mouth shut and a smile on my face.
    2544 days ago
  • MGO09190
    I'm guilty of doing the same thing, all the time... I work part-time at a grocery store and I'm appalled to see the things some people buy. I started feeling less bad about doing it when I see the same people buying garbage consistently. No amount of "but maybe it's for.." can explain that away.
    2544 days ago
    I've done the same thing in various places----the grocery, restaurants, and at school when I see what teachers buy to eat. I have always packed my lunch--for 36 years. For one with my IBS, most of the fried junk hurts my gut, but then for two, I eat a lot healthier now too. School lunches are getting a little better, but they still are really high in fat. I believe everywhere should be a No Judgement Zone, but I have to start with myself.
    2544 days ago
    Comfort food! Poor lady. Uncomfortable, more like it.
    2544 days ago
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