mom and pop health food stores

All posts tagged mom and pop health food stores

COVID-19 Health & Safety in Health Food Stores

Published April 6, 2020 by Maryanne

Health Food -- My coconut wrap, arugula, avo, tomato, coconut cheeseCoconut wrap with avocado. tomato, and arugula 

Yesterday I had a horrible experience in a health food store. The owner sent me an email apologizing, so I won’t “name and shame” but I think it’s important to share my experience in case others have something similar happen to them. And I made a promise to myself to never support them again after what went down.

First, this is MY POLICY…

Beginning today, I am no longer supporting mom and pop “health” food stores who do not respect the boundaries of COVID19. This includes: 1. Cashiers/managers and other workers NOT social distancing. 2. Stores that do not sanitize their carriages; 3. Store that have a “policy” for CUSTOMERS to wear those vinyl/latex gloves because they are unsanitary when used incorrectly; 4. Stores that do not clean their parking lots that are filled with said gloves discarded on the ground.

Now, my bad experience…

There’s a health food store I’ve favored for over a decade. They had everything. Great produce, mineral make-up, toiletries, and perfume that doesn’t test on animals (I’ve used cruelty free products since 1996), and even a great selection of incense.

Two weeks ago, I noticed they had vinyl gloves for customers to wear to shop. These types of gloves never sat well with me. In fact, I think they are disgusting. Nevertheless, I put a pair on and within seconds I was pulling them off because I could feel my sensitive skin reacting to them. I tossed them in the garbage. I shopped, then afterwards I went to my car and noticed these gloves were discarded all over the lot. The store didn’t take care to clean up and put them in the garbage. I found this to be vile and was proud of myself for not participating in the glove thing.

Yesterday I went back to the store and now it was mandatory that customers had to wear gloves. I told a cashier that I couldn’t wear them because last week they made my hands red.

Well, she took it upon herself to come out from behind her cash register and scold me — two feet away from me! Not at all social distancing. Now I was freaking out because I knew this person was a smoker and not in the best of health. Even though I’m very healthy, I didn’t want her to pass it to me, if she had it, then I might pass it to someone else who isn’t very healthy! So not cool.

At this point, I’d also like to say, that this store does not sanitize their carriages. This is something that never bothered me before. I am not a germ phobic, but now with COVID19, I can’t…

Anyway, I told her I was going to contact the owner of the store because she was harassing me. She went nuts and told the manager of the make-up department that I was going to tell on her. What a big baby! The make-up manager wasn’t much better in insisting that I wear the gloves. It made no difference to her when I said I was a professional writer/author and I couldn’t afford to have my hands get red, itchy, or whatever else would happen because two weeks ago I had a bad reaction to the vinyl gloves. Did she give a shit? No. Instead the two women continued to behave like scary, uptight school marms as they went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about “store policy.”

I was like, “forget it,” and left. Without groceries.

Then I called one of their other stores to speak to the owner. He wasn’t there but another manager told me I could go back into the store wearing WINTER GLOVES.

REALLY?! WINTER GLOVES?! That is even more unsanitary! I practically laughed in her face.

I left feeling defeated. It was a 25-minute drive and now I had no groceries for the week. When I got home, I researched and found this wonderful article from Men’s Health: You Shouldn’t Be Wearing Gloves To Go Grocery Shopping

I smiled to myself and posted this on Facebook. A nurse friend said the article is correct. Being right was cool, but it didn’t take away from the drama of being yelled at by two misinformed puppets who seemed to take a sadist delight in ganging up on a friendly, happy, petite, attractive woman. It was an extreme level of catty I haven’t experienced in a long time; from two mean women who were stuck in a go-nowhere job. Perhaps they were pissed that they had to work during the COVID19 pandemic. But that is not my problem. They should take it up with their boss.

The incident took it’s toll on me and I had a headache since last night. This is when I realized, you can’t call a place a health food store when it’s stressing you out, because STRESS IS NOT HEALTHY!

Later that day, my husband took me to Whole Foods. Over the years I had my issues with that store too, but to my surprise, the way they were handing things was impressive. They had customers lined up outside, letting people in as others left. Everyone was politely standing six feet apart. The wait wasn’t bad at all, especially since it was a gorgeous spring day.

Inside some were disobeying the six feet rule, but my immune system is pretty stellar so I wasn’t worried. Especially their mouths were covered with masks and they weren’t scolding me, so no accidental spit was coming out of their mouths like how some people get when they yell.

When I paid, and I am not an Amazon Prime member so I don’t get a discount, my total was 20 percent less than what I usually pay at that mom and pop store. They also carry some brands I like that the other store doesn’t.

So until this pandemic ends and I can go food shopping every day like I used to and support other mom and pop health food stores, I think I’ll be just fine going to Whole Foods as a one-stop shopping place.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

Celebrating Mom and Pop Health Food Stores

Published May 15, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7343Basil Bandwagon (Photo by Maryanne Mistretta)

I took a much needed day off today and went on a little adventure and ended up, for the first time at two amazing health food stores I was never in before! Big Bear Natural Foods (http://www.bigbearnaturalfoods.com/) in Pennington, New Jersey and Basil Bandwagon (http://basil-bandwagon.tumblr.com/) in Flemington, New Jersey.

Basil Bandwagon has been around since 1993 and Big Bear since 1971 (with locations in Pennsylvania too!)

Since the mid-1980s when I first became health conscious, I was all about supporting the local health food stores. Back then, they were a real novelty. You go to the Mom and Pop stores and find amazing items you couldn’t find elsewhere. Then fast-forward to modern times and now all the big corporations like Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, A&P sell the goods, even the goods you’d least suspect: grass-fed beef, Miracle Noodles, kombucha and non-homogenized grass-fed milk. And that is a good thing, but not for the Mom and Pop stores. So I like to continue supporting them as much as possible.

The thing with Mom and Pop stores though is that they do jack their prices up, so my game plan is to look for sales or very unique products that are not yet in supermarkets.

Both stores went beyond my expectations!

At Big Bear I purchased Brad’s Kale Chips which were on sale. These raw chips are my favorite, but extremely pricey. So kudos to Big Bear for having a sale!

Then at Basil Bandwagon my favorite score was Nick’s Sticks (http://www.nicks-sticks.com/), grass-fed beef snacks with no nitrites, no added antibiotics or MSG (and no sugar either, I might add). These treats were absolutely delightful! As a little girl I favored Slim Jims (an unhealthy treat) and I gave them up in my early 20s learning how bad they were for you. Nick’s Sticks is the first grass-fed beef snack I ever had that was just as fabulous as Slim Jims — but they are GOOD for you. With 10 grams of protein, a fairly low sodium content for a snack, zero carbs, zero grams of sugar and nine grams of healthy fat — you can’t go wrong! This brings me back to the day of eating beef snack sticks on the porch, reading comic books, while my Grandma and Aunt Sophie chatted. What a great thing to have a healthy version of a favorite childhood treat!

And I’m ecstatic to say, the service at both Big Bear and Basil was excellent!

At Big Bear, the woman who helped me went out of her way looking for other health food stores in the area to help me find a product I was looking for. That’s how I came upon Basil Bandwagon, which was huge — possibly the biggest health food store I was ever in, including those in NYC. They had a counter where I ended up having a bean burger without bread. They put it on a huge salad platter, accompanied with fresh salsa. The greens were super fresh too. They had Bragg’s amino liquids on the counter and balsamic vinegar, as well as pink Himalayan sea salt. It’s so nice when health food stores go the extra mile for you and you don’t have to ask for stuff. Everyone in the store was extremely helpful and I spent a lot of time there.

You can guarantee I will be back at both health food stores

(Even though they are not in my area, they are well-worth the trip!)

And I gotta be honest too. Even though I’m a Young Living Oils distributor, I do LOVE a diffuser that was being used at Big Bear by a company called NOW. So I will be going back to get that diffuser. (No disrespect to Young Living, but hey, you gotta love my honesty! I still spend over $100 a month on Young Living products and always will. I’m just madly in love with that diffuser. Tee-hee!)

KUDOS to TWO AWESOME MOM AND POP HEALTH FOOD STORES!

YOU GIVE NEW JERSEY A GOOD NAME!

SAM_7349Looking forward to eating my Sea Snax!