When you’re finally fed up , I asked my husband, what do you do?
He looked at me mutely, knowing I had reached my boiling point. I didn’t have an answer as I fired the question to the hubs and left our business quiet and frustrated. It wasn’t until I walked through the aisles of the large wholesale grocer; the $0.88 cake boxes in the main display, that my answer arrived.
I made my way through the produce aisles, noting the garlic from Gilroy, California. Other grocery chains only carry imported garlic from China and my angst returned; knowing that cost drives our current economy.
It would be nice for the consumer to have the choice to purchase the cheaper garlic bulbs from overseas next to the garlic grown in my home state. But most times these choices are made by higher powers in large corporations or political chambers. I mull this over as a long time customer finally chose the larger profit margin, acknowledging they will be purchasing fasteners from overseas.
I grabbed four Betty Crocker cake boxes and threw them into my cart in various flavors; chosen specifically for their colors. Red (red velvet), yellow, white and brown (chocolate) and a white frosting tub for good measure. This was an impulse buy.
I had remembered my youngest son’s request to bake a cake for his sixth grade plate tectonics project; something that required time. When my two older sons had to do this same project in sixth grade, foam globes from the craft store littered our kitchen table as they painted, cut and mounted the various strata layers of the Earth. The youngest’s globe currently sat upon our dinner table, primed and ready to be painted. The layered strata cake was not required. It was one or the other.
This son’s voice penetrated through my anger; the one that reminded me that sometimes I don’t hear him. He is lost among the older brothers whose problems seem to take precedence. Why reinvent the wheel if the globes worked with the older sibs? But his words came back to haunt me and I needed the distraction.
You never hear me. It was the icing on the cake and so IN the cart the cake boxes went.
This was fortuitous. Immediately upon entering my garage door, with my grocery bags, this youngest son sheepishly stood nearby.
“Mom, my project isn’t due on Thursday. It’s due TOMORROW.”
The cake mixer came out as he continued to prep and paint his foam globe. When called to choose his cake layers he quizzically asked, Why are we doing both? To which I replied.
I heard you.
Fed up with the world, the very least I could do was feed my kids. Not with junk food and cake..but with my time, and my bottled up energy. I sometimes wonder why this is all worth it and it was as I watched my son painting his Earth project that I realized what my subconscious wanted me to do.
It’s love that makes the world go round. It makes it all worth it.
It may not be perfect, ever. But it’s the reason I wake up each and every morning…even lately when it’s something I don’t want to do. I worry about our financial future for my family. I worry about the direction our country is taking. We are a balanced household, the hubs and I moderately on either side of the political fence. I am a proponent of global economy but want things to be fair.
Everyone looks out for their bottom line.
Small business and customer service are becoming a thing of the past…transitioning into large, subsidized corporate profits with technological interfaces. Customer service comes in the form of chat rooms and emails; not voice or face-to-face interaction.
Our globalization is allowing us to reach wide, but leaving a deficit in how to converse locally.
My sons sit with phones across from their friends with no words audibly spoken. We are losing our ability to communicate up close and personal.
When the weeds took over our garden after a record winter of rain, our family had mandatory weeding time for an hour this past weekend. The hubs and I noted after this physical, outdoor activity among gripes from our boys, that they animatedly returned to their computer screens and interacted with one another. It’s easy to get lost in cyberspace, independently saving the free world or trading stocks and bonds.
With the ground cleared, our yard looked empty. But removing the weeds made room for new growth. A level playing field to start over.
Thankfully, our customer of fifteen years was not a sizable portion of our business bottom line. But relationships and loyalties no longer reign in the climate we live in and we are cultivating future generations to forego these relations; to rely purely on statistics and numbers.
In the grocery store I see the choice to pay more for organic and/or made in the USA versus overseas. I want to stretch my dollar, to make the fiscally sound choice. But I grab the yellow squash from the produce home grown in my home state. I will pay extra for the choice.
Why purchase the cheaper import produce that is flown on an airplane; that creates a larger carbon footprint in our world with the fuel it uses to get to my location? I want my produce fresh, not gassed.
I ponder what my bottom line is. I’ve been silently shadowing and sulking, not standing my ground. I am finally fed up and need to make a choice and have a stance.
In choosing to feed my kids and family, fresh and locally sourced produce, I make my choice. With the help of my sixth grader I bake for several hours, cooking dinner with my garlic from Gilroy and spinach from Salinas. I buy strawberries from Oxnard, cauliflower from Santa Maria and beverage from Paso Robles. My grass roots campaign is seemingly small but our business will be following the same path.
I am sowing seeds in my own garden. I want quality relationships with my family, my community, our customers.
I carried the cake box into the sixth grade classroom this morning and told the teacher to please share with her thirty-two students. She was surprised to learn my son submitted two projects.
When fed up with the world, I choose to feed the world instead. For my sons. For myself. For the future.