Buyer Beware

Bjorn, Ting, and I just finished up our grocery shopping in Eastern Market. It was particularly fun because Tuesdays at the market are local-only, so everything there was grown in Michigan.  

(That didn't stop me from impulsively asking one vendor, "Are these apples from Michigan". Oops.)

 

The produce there is so amazingly affordable. I got a quart of sweet peppers for one dollar. A quart! They managed to shove four or five peppers into that small little box – it was incredible. They had them all mixed up by color, too, which was so wonderful.

 

Apples, two dollars a quart. A huuuuge bunch of kale, two more dollars. On and an and on. We filled two canvas shopping bags, filled brimming to the top with gorgeous veggies, for $48.

 

And I really enjoyed the experience.

 

I mean, I truly deeply enjoyed it. It felt Good - Good with a capitol 'g', as in Good for my soul, Good for my community.

 

I don't usually think of shopping as a Good experience.

 

And yet, it seems to hold that potential.

 

When we are truly engaging with our community, trading money (a place holder for our own work) for another's work and skill and time – that's Good.

 

The market holds great power. Markets are neutral spaces, they treat me and my dollar just like my neighbor and their dollar. That creates great power. Ancient orders of class and power and privilege have been ousted by feisty little mercantile upstarts.

 

America's power, which has at times been used for Good, was built on the might of our market.

 

And, yes.

 

Our markets destroy communities. Our markets may even be destroying the very earth on which we live.

 

Markets are powerful. Buyer beware.