Shopping is a tiny but important thing, one we often rush through without much consideration to its impact on our life. Those ten minutes we spend every other day in a supermarket can decide not only our long-term health, but the future of our planet.
Here’s how to go about shopping in a mindful way. Without stress. Without overspending. Without waste. Suits all locations, buying styles, and pockets.
Have a list, even if it’s just a mental one. It’s the best way to save time and money shopping.
Bring a bag from home, preferably a reusable one. All those plastic bags they give you in supermarkets are a blight for this planet. Some can’t even be recycled.
Use a hand basket instead of a shopping cart if possible. You’ll shop faster, and other shoppers won’t have to squirm past you on narrow aisles.
Navigate the aisles with grace, relishing the fact that you are walking in a paradise of taste sensations, a veritable miracle of civilization, a world of carefully packaged goodies that Aristotle himself never dreamed of. Bananas from Columbia. Tomato juice from Italy. Biscuits from France. Dark chocolate from Africa. Peanuts from Argentina. The world fits in your shopping basket.
Ignore promotions, discounts, and other special offers, unless they include products on your list.
Go to the fruit section and feel at least one fruit in your hand. An orange, an avocado, an apple, any other fruit. Enjoy its color, the texture of its skin, its shape, its weightless weight. Realize what a marvelous thing you are holding. Even if you’re not a fruity person, can you really go without buying it?
Go to the vegetables section and allow your eyes to glide over those fine tomatoes, those burning carrots, those leafy greens. Buy some even if they’re not on your list.
Don’t say no to fruits and vegetables with little blemishes or imperfections. These are the ones that everyone skips, and they end up thrown away, even though they taste just as well as the others. Be a superior shopper. Buy imperfect.
Look carefully at meat products. Use your imagination to visualize the animals whose remains have been carefully packaged and placed there on display before you. The cows, the pigs, the lambs. Think of what they went through for your convenience. Decide whether you really want to buy meat.
Pass by the wall of bottled water without giving it a glance (unless you’re dying of thirst). Ever wandered where all that plastic comes from and goes to? To say nothing of the fuel that has to be used to bring it there. Cheap water filters for the home are a better alternative.
Stop before a food shelf you’ve never been to before, or one you really like, and find a product you’ve never bought before, preferably something local. Try it out something new.
If there’s a line at checkout, wait patiently. Rather than buttoning your phone, take a mindful breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Think how wonderful it is to be able to choose the food you buy in a world where millions of people are still malnourished or starving.
Offer your place in line to a person who has fewer products in their cart than you. Or at least to an attractive member of the opposite sex. You won’t just do a good deed, but you may even get the chance to see a fine shoulder or well-shaped hip from up close.
Walk out of the shop feeling good about yourself. Feel the world under your feet, the weight of your bag, the air that fills your lungs. You’re a mindful shopper…