Supermarket Sweep

I came across the Traidcraft Supermarket Shoppers’ Survey on their website the other week and I must admit, it has been troubling me ever since. Having started to answer questions on my shopping habits, one of the many distractions in my life stopped me from completing and submitting the survey, so my contribution will count for nothing in the final statistics when Traidcraft publish them.

And in some ways, I’m mightily relieved about that. Because the honest answers I had to give did not match the answers that I wanted to give. Availability of fair trade products is NOT a major factor in selecting the shop I choose to buy from. I do NOT do a sweep of every shop I enter to see what fair trade products are in stock. I do NOT feel I have some influence over the products that a store stocks, because I do NOT take the time to write a letter or speak to the manager and make my views known. I do NOT know where to buy locally produced food. I am scared of what might turn up in an organic fruit and veg box delivered to my door. I do NOT expect to find all the fair trade products I want in the big supermarkets and I do NOT do anything about that.

Coop Fairtrade LogoSo I went to the local Co-op today. And I scoured the shelves for fair trade rice and pasta, raisins and walnuts, biscuits and apples. And I spoke to the manager about the availability of fair trade products.

I managed to come away with fair trade bananas, chocolate, muesli , Demerara sugar and a promise from the manager to look into fair trade pineapples. But to be honest, my little expedition into new shopping territory didn’t fill me with enthusiasm, determination or the remotest desire to do it again.

I do want to answer those questions differently. So even though my responses to the survey count for nothing in the final statistics, they may lead to a change in my shopping habits. But I would like that change to be easy, straightforward and clear cut. Unfortunately, I suspect that like most things in life, nothing could be further from the truth

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