Three Aisle Shopper

By Georgie Bright Kunkel

Old habits die hard as they say. I still cling to my old habit of buying only what I really need. If I didn’t have the money, I always went without whatever it was that I thought I had to have. The “I want it and I want it now” urge was never in my scheme of things. When I was young I don’t remember of ever having a dress from the general store in our little town. My mother who taught herself to sew managed to create all my dresses on her new electric sewing machine. No, I never wore pants until later on when I actually broke the dress code by wearing a pants suit to my teaching job. But that is another story.

Since I was not affluent enough to buy the latest fashion, I would draw pictures of outfits that I dreamed about owning someday. I still have in my possession a big envelope holding all the styles I created on paper to fit the Flapper Fanny figure that I had copied from the daily newspaper cartoon. I fantasized wearing these fabulous creations someday.

One learns from experience how to fit one’s income to one’s essential purchases.
So when I go to the super market, I usually avoid the aisles that I know I won’t find what I really need. That is, except on rainy days when I prefer to do my walking exercise in the store and then I walk every aisle whether I need anything in all those aisles or not. And what aisles carry what I really need? There’s the dairy aisle which I find by passing by the increasingly burgeoning shelves of hard liquor added to the usual wine supply.

And conveniently near the variety of milk products are the myriad of cheese varieties and other items that a host might be choosing for a wine and cheese party.

Another aisle that I honor with my presence is the vegetable section where, if I am lucky, I can find relatively fresh produce, hopefully locally grown. I know, I have four planting beds which my late husband had created for his gardening but since I never gardened I stayed out of the sun for the most part. The planting beds are now covered with plastic as I can’t bear to dismantle the beds that were carefully bordered with two by sixes. Maybe someday, an avid gardener will use them and I will benefit from someone else’s green thumb. One advantage of my having stayed out of the sun is that my wrinkles are at a minimum. My doctor, however, encouraged me to stay outside at least 20 minutes per day even in cloudy weather to get that needed vitamin D.

City life has removed us from getting exercise by plowing, reaping, and harvesting. Go to any gym and you will find people who are free of physical exercise in their work pumping iron or riding an exercise bike. I once remarked to someone in the exercise room that if we hooked up all the machines to the electrical system we could light the building. But no one took my suggestion seriously.

Oh, I only mentioned two aisles that I frequent. The third aisle is the cereal and bread aisle. I try to avoid the prepared and canned foods if at all possible. So here’s my quandary. I hate to pay the overhead for a big super market when I only shop in three aisles but that’s the way it is. I can’t go back to the way I lived in my childhood when I helped my mother garden and can vegetables for the winter. And I am not about to dig in my four planting beds to produce my own food so super market, here I come. If I want to see real gardens growing I can go a couple of blocks away where there is a beautiful vegetable garden bordered by flowers. May there be many more in the future.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at or 206-935-8663.

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