For Shame


shame, n 1  a: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety [Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1986]


I am not a member at the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op.

There! It’s out!

I have absolutely nothing against the Co-op. It’s a lovely place filled with lovely food — much of it locally produced — and staffed by lovely people. I do, on occasion, shop at the Co-op; just last week I needed two cans of garbanzo beans and I had only one child with me and the Co-op was on my way.

When I took my two cans to the register, the clerk asked, “Are you a Co-op member?” I hung my head in shame and mumbled, “No.” She looked disappointed in me.

Most people are shocked to discover that I’m not a member at the Co-op. It’s a topic that’s come up a lot lately in conversations with friends and acquaintances from all walks of life: new neighbors, my husband’s colleagues at Middlebury College, and life-long Vermonters. We’ll be discussing some food product or recipe, and they’ll say, “Oh, you can get that at the Co-op. You’re members at the Co-op, right?”

When I confess my outsider status, jaws drop. Conversation screeches to a halt. At last, broken by their silent judgement, I start babbling an explanation.

Click here to learn why I don’t belong to the Co-op — and other shameful secrets — in my latest “Faith in Vermont” column for The Addison Independent!


One thought on “For Shame

  1. Liz Gamache

    Hi Faith,

    I appreciate your thoughtful take on the home energy reports pilot. I am sorry that the reports caused you to feel shame about your energy usage, as that was certainly not our intention.

    If you are willing, I would value the opportunity to speak with you and learn your thoughts on how we might change or improve the reports. Please feel free to contact me at the email address I provided or call toll free: 1-888-921-5990 and ask to speak with me.


    Liz Gamache
    Director, Efficiency Vermont

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