A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to go to the Trader Joe’s grocery store in South Burlington.
Although this Trader Joe’s – the only one in Vermont – opened in May 2014, I had never visited it. I had, in fact, resisted opportunities to visit it, just as I generally resist chances to go to Costco, or Home Depot, or WalMart.
For one thing, a visit to any of these chain stores requires me to drive to the Burlington area. Listen: If I’m loading multiple young children into our minivan and driving an hour or more, it’s certainly not going to be in order to buy things. I’d rather save my money and stay home.
For another thing: I’ve been to Trader Joe’s, and Costco, and Home Depot, and WalMart. I’ve even been to Target and Ikea, neither of which exists in the state of Vermont at present. I went to all these places and more when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. So I know that, although people like to shop at these stores because they’re full of “good deals,” what they’re really full of is stuff that you don’t know you needed until you were surrounded by thousands of square feet of “good deals” crooning your name. These stores are not your friends; these stores, like all others, just want your money.
I didn’t move to Vermont to shop at Trader Joe’s; if anything, a major selling point of Vermont was its dearth of chain stores. Shopping shouldn’t be that easy; I’d far rather navigate the miniscule aisles of the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, with people judging me for allowing my toddler to stand up in the basket of our shopping cart, in order to pay four times what I’d pay at a big box grocery store.