Eco-Worrier at the Supermarket

>> Tuesday, 25 August 2009

It's a mine-field doing the weekly shop nowadays, don't you think? All those choices on which products to buy. Should you go organic, free-range, freedom-food, barn-raised, or value? And that's just the eggs. And you know that every choice you make can - even if minutely - impact directly on your environment. So it's nonsense time here again on the Potty Diaries. Here's a fable I came up with one day whilst musing on ethical shopping. It's been malingering in my files for a while. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.


Once upon a now, in a land just down the road and around the corner, there lived an Eco-Worrier, called Rose.

Rose was an average sort of woman who lived a moderate sort of life, with a family, a home and a job to juggle. She was generally a happy little flower, but every now and again she worried about the impact her existence was having on The Environment...

One day, on looking into her empty cupboard, Rose decided it was time to visit the supermarket. She wrote a list, packed up her recycled carrier bags, and set off in her Toyota Prius. Just as she was pulling into the carpark however, a tangle-haired pea-coloured imp appeared and sat on the bonnet. It was Environmenta, the Green Imp, curse of all women trying to live a moderate life...

Rose ignored her in the hope she would turn her attentions to the owner of the petrol-guzzling 4x4 parked in the next space, but Environmenta, smelling noisomly of damp clothes that had never seen the inside of a tumble drier, followed Rose into the supermarket.

“Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble” she cackled. “You’re on my turf now, little flower! Are you up to the challenge?”

“Oh yes, Environmenta. I think I’m ready...” replied Rose, hefting her recycled bags and waving them threateningly at her pursuer. Catching the imp off-guard, she knocked her over with a nifty swing of her trolley, and made haste for the vegetable section, hoping to lose her pursuer in the crowd of elderly ladies perusing the gondola end display of buy-one-get-one free offers on un-ripe strawberries and out of season hot cross buns.

Our heroine made it to the fruit aisle, and started to pick out some locally grown Braeburns. But as she reached for a plastic bag to put them in, Environmenta skidded round the corner and knocked them out of her hand.

“Oh, I don’t think so, my little Worrier! Think of the extra packaging! Think of the damage to... the ENVIRONMENT!”

Unphased, Rose reached into her Magic Handbag, grabbed a handful of extra-strong Common Sense Powder, and threw it at the imp. “Bollocks!” she replied. “I don’t want my apples bruised by the bottom of the trolley.”

“Fair point” replied the imp, still under the influence of the powder, and disappeared. But moments later, as Rose reached for a packet of dwarf beans from Tanzania, Environmenta surfaced again.

“Aha! Excessive Food Miles! And when you could buy this delicious locally grown swede instead!” She snatched the pack of beans from Rose’s hand and hovered triumphantly a foot above the ground. Rose thought for a split second, and then pulled her List of Planned Meals out of the pocket of her Cardigan of Invincibility, raising it like a shield and advancing on the imp.

Environmenta, cowering wimpishly in the Holy Light of the Truly Organised which fell from the List and illuminated the shop, covered her eyes. “Stop it! Stop it!” she begged. “I concur! Nothing else will go with the organic ethically farmed salmon and Fair Trade couscous you have planned for tomorrow night’s dinner! You win this round...” and she slunk, sobbing piteously, around the corner to hide in a display of over-ripe bananas.

This was not the last Rose was to see of the troublesome imp, however. As she approached the fish counter, Environmenta was waiting slimily for her amongst the squid and smoked haddock. “Ha!” she shouted obnoxiously. “Thought you’d won, didn’t you! Well, answer me this, Eco Worrier! Why are you buying ethically farmed salmon and not.... WILD ALASKAN???!!!! I’ve got you now! You are miiiiiinnnnneeee! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Rose stopped, thinking feverishly. Was this really the end? Had she miscalculated? Was this an opportunity to be both Green and moderate that she had somehow missed? But no. Breathing a sigh of relief, once more she reached into her Magic Handbag, this time pulling out her Double-Edged Sword of Generally Useless Information (otherwise known as a Blackberry). She clicked triumphantly on her preferred news website button, and spoke the following spell...

“Abracadabra, riddle the notion,
There’s a vast plastic island afloat in the Ocean.
It’s made up of bottles, biddle-de-dish,
Which when they breakdown in water pollute all the fish!
And this is the reason, if it’s from open sea,
That truly organic, fish never can be!”

There was clap of thunder. “Curses!” shouted Environmenta. “Don’t think this is an end to it! I’ll get you yet, my pretty!” and she disappeared in a puff of evil BeanFeast scented smoke.

Rose finished her shopping in peace. As she reversed out of the ‘parents and child only’ parking space she had inadvertently parked in when being harassed by Environmenta on arrival, she took a sip from her Fair Trade coffee to go and decided that next time, she would definitely do the weekly shop on-line...

7 comments:

The Green Stone Woman 25 August 2009 at 16:47  

Very good! I thoroughly enjoyed that and sympathized with Rose very much. It's so tough to be good all the time, you just want to be ecologically incorrect every other day for the hell of it. I think Rose deserves a medal, especially for that rhyme at the end.

Pippa 25 August 2009 at 22:02  

I think Environmenta lives at the bottom of my garden...

Potty Mummy 26 August 2009 at 10:30  

Thanks Irene - and glad you liked the rhyme...

Pippa, how unlucky for you. I assume though that she has a compost heap to fester in?

Iota 26 August 2009 at 22:13  

Cardigan of Invincibility - ha!

Mummy McTavish 27 August 2009 at 09:54  

I loved it, but I'd like to see Environmenta be all green and ecofriendly AND deal with a 2 and 4 year old. It's in and out for me and the best decisions I can make while being harassed by them will just have to do... and by jove if the only fruit they'll eat (this week) is out of season, I'm sorry, it's in the trolley.

Thanks for the entertainment and education!

Potty Mummy 27 August 2009 at 14:09  

Iota, can't imagine where that one came from, can you?

Mummy McT, amen to that!

bsouth 31 August 2009 at 09:09  

I think I love you. Please don't move to Moscow!

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