With temperatures plummeting and dry winter weather settling in…my parched lips begged for a bit of nurturing. So, during my weekly grocery shopping outing, I decided to simply pick up a tube – you know that old fashioned ChapStick® or Vaseline®.
While initially this seemed to be a simple need and desire to tackle a basic, short-term problem, I quickly learned a few lessons about being cautious when seeking products in stores that appear to adhere to and self-promote as “natural” or “values-based.”
As I wrapped up my grocery shopping excursion, I swung by the “cosmetic” section to search – unsuccessfully – for basic lip balm. When the sales person finally arrived (actually, I tracked her down…and had to wait until she finished re-stocking a shelf – hmmmm, priorities must be one of those store touted “values”?). As she propped herself against a shelf (she must have had a late night) and “patiently” awaited my request, I presented my question: “Do you carry basic lip balms…you know, like the old-fashioned ChapStick® or Vaseline®”? From the look on her face, one would have wondered if I’d asked for some type of obscene or illicit product (“I know you don’t sell weed here – even though it’s legal in Colorado…”). “We do not (not, we don’t) carry or sell any (yep, that’s ANY) petroleum-based products,” she informed me.
Okay, I thought…as someone who has experienced an adverse reaction to certain food and product ingredients, this company/store’s choice to not sell petroleum-based products seemed reasonable – minus, of course, the outlandish facial contortions and reaction bordering on unpleasant and unnecessary demonstrated by the sales person (maybe another one of those store “values”?).
If it had not been for this sales person’s intriguing response, I simply would have made my purchase ($3.75 without petroleum vs. $1.59 with) and not given a second thought to her unique reaction. However, as is my nature…I began to reflect on this attitude and wondered if and how it might support and/or align with other “concerning” ingredients (and my own values) that might be sold by this store (or others).
As I scoured the shelves of this store for items I either purchase regularly or occasionally, I zeroed in on and began to dig into what was written on their labels. Some unfamiliar ingredients prominently displayed on these labels (and mind you, not EVERY ingredient is listed for our viewing pleasure) included:
I don’t know about you…but, given my experience and what I’ve unfolded and shared within this blog, Holiday meal planning this year will focus much more on the importance of label reading. Plus, as the New Year approaches, I feel much more committed to reducing – possibly even eliminating – many items that contain these items and are carried and sold as part of this particular store’s “values-based” litany of items.
As you journey through the Holiday Season and beyond into the New Year…remember…amazing lessons are lurking out there…waiting for us to stumble upon them and grab at the opportunity to learn and use (and share) that information in making personal, conscious choices – even when those lessons may occasionally be shrouded in inconsistent messaging and unpolished, unsavory, and tactless sales and “customer service” staff execution.
Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2014 EM Carlock