I feel like one doesn’t have to search long or far through the internet or among close friends for a story where someone was shamed for a parenting or lifestyle choice. I have a fairly sound and respecting group of family and friends. Up until recently, I was confidently able to say that it had not happened to me. Until it did. It was produce shaming.
A few weeks ago, I was completing one of seven trips I make to the grocery store in a week. You know, because it isn’t humanly possible for me to ever remember everything I need in one trip. Even with a list on my phone. But I digress. I was quickly putting items not on my list in the cart and hoping to make a quick exit with a cranky toddler.
I made it to checkout and an older woman approached me. She handed me a business card and began to explain that while she worked in a particular industry, she was approaching me for another reason. That reason was because she noticed that I did not buy organic grapes.
Yes. That just happened. This woman watched me shop and watched me purchase non-organic grapes. And she didn’t like it.
While the woman was kind, she did go on to explain that she was passionate about purchasing only organic produce. According to her, the grapes I was purchasing for my daughter were awful and deadly. Her business card contained a list of all of the produce that I should be buying strictly organic and how I am harming my children by not doing so. She then continued to eye the grapes I had just paid for as if she was waiting for me to run them back into the store and exchange the death grapes immediately.
Um, I grew up eating non-organic grapes, and I turned out okay. I think? Wait. Don’t answer that.
While on the outside I was smiling and nodding and being polite (because I wasn’t about to engage in this level of crazy), internally I was a mix of emotions. About a third of me appreciated that this woman was passionate about health. I can respect that. Another third of me thought that her approach was pretty brazen and uncalled for. I mean, lecture me for parking crooked, not for my purchases. And the final third of me wanted to open the bag of non-organic grapes and start eating them in her face. Just to see if it would make her twitch or explode.
So it finally happened. A complete stranger went out of her way to tell me she didn’t agree with the way I was choosing to feed my family. I’m not going to lie, it stung. It made me second guess myself. I do by many organic items to feed my family. I do take their health and wellness seriously. For a stranger to critique how I do that, flat out sucked.
But then I went home and made a fruit salad with non-organic grapes. And it was still delicious. And my daughter hasn’t grown a third arm. Yet.
*For the record, I buy organic when it makes sense. Sometimes the organic produce is over priced and gnarly looking. As in this case, the grapes were. So I was purchasing the grapes my children would eat. Not the bruised up sour, mushy, organic ones (at that time). Because right now, with their selective palates, they only eat three fruits. And I would rather have them eating some grapes rather than no grapes.