30 days without supermarkets #28-30: wrapping up

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Smoked ham

The last 5 days of the no-supermarket challenge were scuppered by spending them in Prague where at least for the first couple of days, I defaulted to Tesco because I knew where it was and what it did.

As the days have gone past, I have discovered where the small shops are – there are refreshingly large numbers of minimarkets, even in central Prague, though I suspect it will not  long before they too will be replaced  or outdone by Tesco Express stores as in the UK.

For the 25 days while I was in London, however, I accomplished my no-supermarket challenge without a hitch, and it was one of the most satisfying and creatively stimulating things I’ve done in a long time.   I learned a lot along the way, including:

  • Forcing one small change in any area of your life seems to have a knock-on effect in your thinking in other areas.
  • A small creative challenge is as good as, if not better, than a big one, because it’s do-able.
  • Shopping at supermarkets is fundamentally a depressing and numbing experience that stifles original, creative thought about the miniature challenges of everyday life.
  • The mind of the supermarket becomes implanted in your brain. Taking yourself out of them for a while is a liberating experience, and opens your eyes to other opportunities.
  • Genuine, friendly interactions with people in local shops make every day that much more pleasant. Scripted, enforced interactions with supermarket cashiers are a source of stress.

Several people have asked me whether I will continue to avoid supermarkets once the challenge is over. The answer is a resounding yes, not because I want to live in a permanent state of protest against them, but simply because living without them has been a joyful experience that has added many positive things to my daily life, and removed many negative ones.