The past few winters have seen me somewhat housebound due to ice and not having access to a vehicle all that often, so spring is to be greeted with nearly boundless joy.
However, the spring fever that hit me during yesterday's warm and lovely day was pretty well dissipated by mid afternoon today. Spring fever for me means an overwhelming craving to get out of the house and be outside, or window shopping, or driving around the streets looking for interesting things to see....essentially any reason, large or small, that I can use to get myself out of this house.
My excuse to get out for an extra trip yesterday was the need of finding a particular brand of replacement sponge for a cleaning wand I purchased a couple of years ago at a hardware chain whose local franchise closed down some time ago. At the time it closed it wasn't the only store selling this particular brand of heavy duty cleaning sponge. I was unpleasantly surprised however when my shopping yesterday, in every store in this town that sells any sort of cleaning product, gave up no hint of the sort of sponge I need. Every store....EVERY STORE....in town is now selling the same two brands and none of those brands has anything remotely similar to what I need to attach to the long handled device that I use to clean the bathtubs. Neither of the companies represented in our stores has a device at all useful to me for this task. If I was capable of kneeling beside the tubs and stretching across their girth with a hand held sponge like I used to be able to do there would be no problem, but as of yesterday afternoon I have a very big problem indeed. For a town this small there is a remarkable number of stores selling home cleaning products, but they all stock exactly the same brands. This personal shopping fiasco happened just prior to discovering the lack of low sodium potato chips in town that I blogged about yesterday.
This afternoon seemed to stretch out long before me, so I decided my excuse for an extra trip out today would be to go to any of our stores that carry baking products like cookie sheets, rolling pins and what have you. I am in need of a new metric/imperial set of measuring cups and spoons. One of the stores was closed today so I will check there tomorrow, but after my experience at the other stores today I am not holding out much hope. Every store....EVERY STORE.... in town is selling exactly the same products made by exactly the same manufacturer and these products are not what I want at all!! As in the sponge debacle, there is no variety in product, no variety in brands. Every store featured one style of spoons and cups made of hard breakable plastic. These did have metric and imperial measure, but the quantities were cheaply stamped on and would wash off or scratch off in short order. I guess I am stuck with my 1970's imperial measuring cups and spoons, but now that I need to be very exact and careful in measuring sodium, sugar and carbohydrates for my diabetes and heart hassles, they are not entirely adequate. I am tired of having comparison charts taped inside my cupboard doors to be looked at when my memory fails me...as it often does these days. It isn't the end of the world to not find decent instruments for baking but it was again very disappointing.
The icing on the cake was trying to bring home a nice treat for my husband to compensate for the 7 bags of somewhat mashed bags of chips I purchased for him yesterday. I noticed the liquor store was open and since he hasn't had any beer for a long time, I decided to go in and pick out one of his favourites. What a shock I got! All the "good" beer is gone from the shelves. Those spaces are now filled with watered down "popular" brands that he can't stand to drink, or are made with corn products he is very allergic to. I couldn't believe it. After rooting around through the shelves and the stacks of cases piled all over the floor, I found one case of a brand he does enjoy...the last one apparently. I grabbed it and headed to the cashier. I asked her what happened to all the decent beer, but the young gal had no idea and couldn't ask the manager who wasn't at work today.
After my shopping experiences of the past 2 days I am starting to realize why long time residents of this town have been going into the city to shop over the past few months. Like me, they prefer to shop locally and support their friends and neighbours in the retail business, but have been doing a lot of travelling away of late to get what they need. I haven't been paying much attention to their complaints about local shopping over the past few months, but I am paying attention now! The last 2 days have been quite an eye opener for me.
I suppose I am going to have to follow their lead, as much as I despise going to the city to shop. For the past 4 years my husband and I have forced ourselves to eat the fatty meats, wilting produce, stale dairy products and nearly expired canned goods available in our local stores, but no more. If I am being forced out of town to shop for other things, I am adding groceries to the list and making a day of it in the city. I guess it is time to set some of my ideals aside and start eating what I actually need to eat.
I apologize in advance to the local proprietors and franchise managers, but I am being forced to go elsewhere to get what I need. I have watched things going downhill here for shopping since not long after we moved to town and it makes me sad to have to do my buying out of town, but the reality is that I can't get what we need any more in our local stores.