To the Editor:
I am writing this public letter (my first ever!) because I am sorely in need of enlightenment (and admittedly, I also feel the need to vent). So if someone could please explain to me:
How on (Whole) Earth can it be, that our local organic food store will (laudably) provide a discount for shoppers when they use the FreeB bus or come by bicycle, but will NOT grant it when someone walks to the store? Isn’t the whole idea to encourage and reward behaviors that reduce fossil fuel consumption? Why is walking, of all things, ranked the same as pulling up with the SUV (possibly from just 2 blocks away)? What part am I missing here?
On Tuesday afternoon this week, in blazing sunny, 80 degree temps and 85 degree humidity weather, no less, my husband walked (actually walked!) the entire way across town, from Mountain Avenue (a whopping 4.2 miles round trip, according to Google) to the store and shopped. But when he asked for the discount at check-out, he was denied. Because he hadn’t biked. I thought he was joking at first when he recounted the encounter, that’s how surreal it felt.
But no; no joke. Even after pointing out that he had a broken and very visibly swollen wrist (four surgeries and counting) and most regrettably could not even bike; no matter. Inexplicable stubbornness reigned.
“No bike, no discount,” was, verbatim, the final flat verdict of the elderly gray-haired checkout man. Seriously? Where is the logic in that? For now, I am seriously, seriously miffed, because IF there is a punchline here, it’s that I, who have nurtured veggie patches and all things organic since my early 20s, was finally starting to make inroads in convincing my more economically-oriented mate to go more and more local and organic with me and adjust our budget accordingly. Needless to say, that was a bit of a setback. Hubby will not enter the store again any time soon; and neither will I any more.
Our business goes elsewhere from here on. We can stay local and buy our eco-cleaners and supplies, our Stonyfield yoghurts and milk all at McCaffreys; our CSA share and local Farmer’s Markets will cover the veggies, my Weleda products I may have to source from Germany, and for my spelt flour, I will just order in bulk online if I don’t find local. Can’t be helped.
I still would strongly encourage Whole Earth Center to reconsider their discount policy, to include the ambulatory specimen of humanity as well. I never thought that my formerly favorite store in Princeton could be so lacking in common sense, a sad surprise indeed.
Barbara Kaiser, RN