Let Us Pay
Updated: May 30, 2020
In my opinion, the word convenience has got to be the most heinous c-word in today’s vocabulary. The concept of convenience has been pimped out by every enterprise known to man in order to lure humans into a sticky web disguised as progress, efficiency, innovation and growth; turning us all into insatiable consumers and retail zombies. The saying that love makes the world go around has really been upstaged by money making it spin, and it is spinning out of control.
On the worldwide web, the alarm bells have been sounding and those who see and search, come together voicing concerns about the convenience culture and offering up solutions and mountains of advice to help us navigate and tweak our lifestyles for a better future. Even here, we must be vigilant because I do detect a predatorial scent lurking amongst the earth-loving herds, slowly planting disinformation to confuse and strike. After reading and reading, I am left confused and helpless. My head is spinning.
Instead of being overwhelmed by the massive changes we all have to make before a real difference can be felt, lets return to the concept of one: the power of one person and the focus on one action at a time. So, let us start with the humble cucumber.
When it comes to buying this fruit/veg, I have always found the easiest way to avoid plastics is to just go for the ones that are not shrink wrapped or stuffed on a polystyrene tray and suffocated with clingfilm. Supermarkets in Melbourne have cash registers designed with weighing scales attached, allowing customers to weigh and pay. This technology is hardly new. However, some countries still resist this method.
Big supermarkets in Malaysia still refuse to install this technology at their checkout counters. Instead, shoppers have to go to a weighing station where bags of produce will be taped shut, weighed and slapped with a sticky label for barcode and price. Going to the weighing station with a large fruit and asking for just the sticky label is one thing, taking five apples or ten dusty potatoes over to be weighed individually will exasperate other shoppers and workers alike.
In this case, the solution would be to support neighbourhood and farmers' markets, and our local green grocers. Use paper or lightweight cloth bags to shop for smaller fruits and vegetables. Our patronage and purchases can send a message for change to these large corporations. I think this is rebellion in the right way.
This path is not without costs but right now the planet needs us to pay up. So, if a recipe calls for Continental cucumbers that have to be shrink wrapped to extend shelf life, choose a substitute or do without. If you live an organic lifestyle and retailers insist on overt amounts of packaging for the sake of differentiation to prevent theft or miscalculations, start supporting organic-only stalls and shops that have more of their produce sold loosely.
For too long, we have been fed a choice of lifestyle where we can to see it all, have it all and do it all. It is perpetuating our greed and making us look the other way in our fast-paced life. If we go a lit
tle further, pay a little more or simply do without, we can make a difference the earth needs right now. Do not get confused by arguments about carbon footprint for now. Whilst valid, it can often be used to stifle our attempts. Retailers need to see consumer habits changing. Money talks. The alternative repercussion is far more inconvenient and painful. Some communities are already paying this way. Let us act whilst we still have a choice.