not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

supermarket proximity

A not-particularly-exciting biographical excursion into the degree to which I've had supermarkets/grocery stores nearby my home for the last ten years, with a final not very interesting revelation that indicates the "significance" of this history.

Eleven years ago, I moved to College Station, TX and shared an apartment with a coworker whom I'd previously only known over the Internet. At the end of the summer, we needed to find a new apartment, and we hadn't been very diligent about checking, so we just found something and took it in desperation. A year and a half later, after the company went out of business, my car broke down, and I didn't bother getting it fixed, because I lived like four minutes from a nearby supermarket (although this had never been a consideration when we'd rented it), and didn't really need to drive much.

Soon after, I moved to Boston (fixing my car in time to drive up). Initially, I was staying temporarily at the House of Ten Dumb Guys and got a local agent to show me around places for rent, so not suprisingly they were all near Dumb Guys, and I ended up living right down the street from them. Soon after, my car broke down again, but my work's location had moved close to a T station, and it was maybe just under a 10 minute walk to Porter Square, which had a T station and a Star Market, so no big deal.

Later, I moved into Dumb Guys, and somebody (I think dfan) pointed out that there was a pedestrian underpass under the commuter rail tracks, which meant a different Star Market was actually even closer.

When I moved to Oakland, I had originally planned to live near a BART station and ride transit to work, and damn the cost. But then I eventually discovered that, in fact, the BART station "near" work was hardly near it at all; in fact, it took me about 28 minutes to walk it, and that was not going to be a reasonable commute at all. So I set out on foot in the other direction, towards Lake Merritt and downtown Oakland, to see how far I could walk in 30 minutes, and said: I will only live somewhere around there. And I was in fact able to find a place within that radius (25 minutes or so, I think). By total chance and good fortune (for I'd have taken this place regardless), there's an Albertsons three blocks from me--maybe a four minute walk.

Having supermarkets in walking distance is a great convenience when your only mode of transportation is walking. It also means you can go frequently without the time overhead seeming a big deal. I typically go two or three times a week; most of the time, I manage to crank through the 10-items or less express lane. It's kind of stupid in terms of time spent to not buy more, but it reduces the carry load (although I could carry a lot if I had to, at least on this short a trip) and it means I don't buy too much junk food and can keep that a little under control.

So, it's turned out, though never by conscious choice, I've always had a supermarket in convenient walking distance for the last 11 years, especially the eight+ years I've been carless.

And now the Albertsons down the block from me is closing at the end of this month. For "remodelling" they say, but they have not announced a re-opening time. (Although they're super-busy and they claim the place is just too small, which is posisble, so maybe they just don't know when. But the flyer I'm looking at sounds pretty final.)

I've already made the walk up to the next nearest one I can find (because the local one is now closing two hours earlier than they used to, and I never stock up enough, as mentioned above). That walk is something like 20 minutes, maybe a tad more, which means a ten minute shopping spree becomes an hour-long round trip.

So my thought, as I'm walking back from it, having had convenient supermarket access for more years than years I have been carless, is, "gee, I guess I'll actually have to go less often and buy more stuff so I don't have the huge time sink".

However, eventually, later in the walk, it dawned on me that buying more stuff would then require carrying more stuff on the now-longer walk.
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