Once upon a time, like last Wednesday through Sunday, The Walker Four went to Eugene to visit some friends. Actually, it was a Bandon and Eugene trip, but that first part isn’t really necessary to this story, so never mind, I guess.
One stop on my Eugene list is always Market of Choice, because it has an amazing bulk section and it’s like being a kid in a candy store. The first time I ever set foot in that place, I was completely blown away by all the options. Balsamic vinegar and cocoa powder? I can’t even touch that where I live.
Yadda yadda yadda, when this trip came up, I was a genius and packed jars in anticipation of this visit. My goal was just to get the stuff I can’t get at home, and the thought made me pretty giddy. I need more hobbies, that’s why.
It’s always a little unnerving asking for tare the first time at a new shop. As we’ve already established, I’m a bit of a pessimist, so I just assume I’m going to get shut down. (And yet, I tend to be incredibly lucky. Go figure.) Our friends assured me (hi Mara and Alex!) that it was going to be okay, though, so I had a little more confidence, perhaps, than I might have had otherwise. I grabbed a cart and found an available check stand, swallowed my fears and asked.
The cashier was an older gentleman, and he just looked at me blankly. Not like he wouldn’t do it, just that he didn’t know how. Another cashier heard me, a younger woman this time, and she was like, I can do that. And didn’t even blink when I started unloading my jars from my bag.
I thanked her and told her how excited I was about their bulk bins. She acted like this was perfectly normal, so she’s my new best friend.
I thought I had brought plenty of jars, but I should have packed more. Abby was with me, swooning over the dried fruit selection, so there went two off the top. I purchased that aforementioned balsamic vinegar and cocoa powder, as well as sucanat, dark brown sugar, chocolate chips, different pastas and granola, etc. Oh, geez, and almond butter! In our town it’s close to $17 a pound, which is why I never buy it. There it was a mere $7 or so. Yes, please.
Mara came with us, so while Abby and Mara looked at the display of odd socks and discussed lipstick shades (Mara has two boys, so she doesn’t really get to do girly stuff), I pushed my cart around to see what other goodies the store had, just because I like to see what’s going on. I ended up getting a couple rolls of paper-wrapped toilet paper (that is another post for another time) that were cheaper than similarily-wrapped TP in my town.
It was a very pleasant hour is what I’m saying.
Back at the checkout counters, I couldn’t find my new best friend Tare Lady, but the cashier I ended up with was also very nice. I thanked her for taking my jars, and we chatted about the loveliness that is bulk. Then I skipped to the car.
I told Eric about a blog comment Monday about a Market of Choice in Beaverton, and he was all, oh, there are even closer ones to us, like he’d actually researched it or something. (He has a keen sense of direction. One of the reasons I married him is that he can always find our parked car. That is a skill that evades me.) We very rarely travel to the Portland area on purpose, but since baking supplies constitute a lot of the packages I end up with in my kitchen, it might be worth planning a trip periodically, or at least taking advantage of it when we roll through town (we have family in Washington State, so it does happen on occasion).
I feel compelled to add that I am very grateful for my own grocery store and the ability to bring my jars. Even if the bulk aisle isn’t extensive, at least we have one. I thought living in a small town would be a determent to my project, but that hasn’t been the case. I’m not sure now that it matters how big your town is – it’s more how willing stores are to let you bring your own containers. And I lucked out on that front. In the next town over, a mere 19 miles away and about twice our size, my mother was talking to a grocery store checker about how I bring my own jars etc., and that lady was shocked I was allowed to do that. (Kind of sounds like a challenge, don’t you think?)
So thank you, my little grocery store.
Next up: I packed jars, Eric packed his keg. Zero waste beer!