Natural Grocers

Natural Grocers

The phone rings and it’s my husband asking me to stop at the store and pick up a loaf of bread. I’m in Edmond finishing teaching my class at the University. He’s at the off-track betting location watching the horses run. So, of course, I have to get the bread. And this is how we’ve stayed married for 33 years.

As I’m taking my usual path out of town to head back to the city, it occurs to me that there are no grocery stores on this street. There’s a Walgreens and lots of convenience stores. And then I see a Natural Grocers. I have never been in one of these. Well, even health food people eat bread, right? I pull in.

The first thing you notice when you go in the door is the opening and closing schedule:

“Open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:05 p.m.”

Isn’t that just too hipster cute? We are not going to live by other people’s rules, we are going to stay open a whole five minutes more.

Also, printed on the door in big, bold print: “No bags or paper sacks available at check out. Bring your own.”

Oh sigh. I’m all for protecting the environment but this is just too judgmental for words. But, I have no options, so in I go.

The first thing you see is aisles and aisles of vitamins. This is confusing to me. If these people are trying to live “naturally”, then why are they taking all manners of supplements and vitamins that the body may or may not need? That doesn’t seem very organic to me. And I hate all things chai and don’t even get me started on ginger. I’m not a very good potential customer. At. All.

Of course, you must understand, I’m one of those people who NEVER goes to the doctor. Oh, I see my OB/GYN once a year and get all that stuff smashed and probed. But I had a complete physical three years ago, the first in over 15 years, and figure I’m good for another twelve years. I really live by the don’t ask, don’t tell motto. The thought of taking regular medications or popping a bunch of vitamins is completely foreign to me.

There is a huge fruit and vegetable section, advertised to be all organically grown and harvested. That’s cool. But, guess what I also see in that area? Plastic bags to put your veggies in. So much for that “holier than thou” stuff about NO BAGS.

I wander around, searching for the bread. I know a lot of people who shop here are in the whole anti-gluten camp, but really, is there no bread in this store? Finally, I find it, stuck on the back aisle. There are about 20 loaves, all proclaiming to be naturally grown and naturally made. I have no idea what that means. I just need some bread. I grab a loaf that looks pretty close to normal and go to check out. I also pick up some Cliff bars as I walk by because I’m kinda addicted to those puppies.

So, I’m juggling bread and bars as I get to the checkout stand. The young lady very nicely asks me “Do you want me to get you a box?” So…plastic bags in the produce section good, in the checkout stand, bad. Paper sacks at checkout bad, boxes good. I don’t quite understand the environmental standards and rules for all of this. I say, “no thanks”, and go get a plastic sack from the apple display.

And then she says my total is $17.00. I know I got 10 Cliff Bars for $10—I told you I’m addicted—so that means that this unassuming “organic” loaf of bread is $7.00? Are you freakin’ kidding me? No wonder we all eat like crap, it’s too expensive to eat healthy.

I tell my husband that he is making ham sandwiches on a $7.00 loaf of bread and we both agree, that there was nothing magical or special about it. At. All. For $7.00 it should light up the room and sing the Hallelujah Chorus.

Next time I’ll stop at Walgreens and get a good old-fashioned loaf of Wonder Bread. I’m too old and not nearly rich enough to eat “natural”.


Glenda Stansbury is Marketing Director of InSight Books and Co-Founder of InSight Institute Certified Celebrant Program. She is also a speaker, a trainer, and an observer of life, and one of Doug Manning’s adorable and talented daughters. You may email Glenda at