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Why We Need to Treasure and Support Local Independent Businesses
Last Sunday I went to my local Whole Foods store (now owned by Amazon) to pick up some little cotton drawstring “spice bags" to use as reusable tea bags. They had them in the bulk spice section, the label said “100% cotton” and the label was printed on brown speckled recycled paper, so they looked like they were what I wanted.
I bought them, and yesterday I opened the package to make tea.
I have the habit of washing anything made of cloth before I use it, so I ran it under the water faucet. The water beaded on the cloth. There was a finish on these bags. These are intended to be used in soups and for brewing tea, but water wouldn’t go through the fabric.
So I put all four bags in a bowl and added water to soak them. Immediately a chemical odor came from them that I could smell clear across the room.
Now I know from experience to wash products made from fabric before I use them, but I'm thinking most people would just open the package, pull out a bag, fill it with herbs or spices or tea, and put it directly into their soup pot or teacup. It would be toxic and taste terrible.
I squeezed the water out of the bags and put them back in the plastic bag in which they were packaged. And I took them back to Whole Foods.
I told the manager what happened and said, “This product does not belong in your store. How did this happen? Doesn’t anyone LOOK and TRY the products you sell before they are allowed to be sold?”
He agreed the product should not be sold at Whole Foods and immediately ordered an employee to remove it from the shelves.
The manager explained that now amazon has third party vendors stocking some of the shelves and this was one of those third party items. So we can no longer trust Whole Foods to be the Whole Foods we knew and loved. Product decisions come from above and don’t necessarily meet Whole Foods standards.
By contrast, we have a wonderful local hardware store called Sebastopol Hardware.
It’s my favorite store. They have everything one might need if you live in Sebastopol: kitchenware, hardware, building supplies, animal supplies, garden supplies. It brought tears to my eyes the other day when I saw they had a whole aisle of canning supplies, with shelf after shelf of canning jars and all the accessories (because this is an agricultural community and most people have gardens and canning is a tradition.
We’re coming up now on the harvest of our local Gravenstein apples. The hardware store rents an apple press so we can press our own cider. They know what we need here in this place and provide it.
The salespeople are very friendly and helpful and there. Unlike the big chain stores where you have to wait to get help, there are sales people on the floor, walking around, asking you how they can help you. They know where everything is. They know their products. They can help you make a decision. And they love to share their knowledge and experience.
It’s just a joy and delight to go in to this store. Every month they have Super Saturday where everything is 20% off. In addition the first Wednesday of every month is Senior Discount Day where all seniors get 20% off anything. And they don’t ask for your driver’s license to check your age. They trust you. They have fresh popcorn popping all day and you can have as many bags as you want.
More like this please.