American Culture – In Bulk Part 1

It was my junior year of college at Syracuse University, and at the time gas prices were simply outrageous. Everywhere you went gas was over $4 per gallon, and as a classic poor college student, that was enough reason to keep the car in the garage and walk to class, practice… wherever I had to be.

All excited, my buddy came home one day claiming that the gas prices at the local wholesale store, Sam’s Club, were significantly cheaper – even under the $4 mark, and that he signed up for a membership. I had never heard of Sam’s Club before, nor had I ever been into a wholesale store like that, but when I went to check it out I quickly realized that gas isn’t the only thing there you can save money on.

Wholesale stores are one of the easiest ways to save money. Buying in bulk means cheaper prices… and my Sam’s Club membership served me well throughout the remainder of my college career. If you are a college student looking to save money, you should definitely have a membership to a Sam’s Club, BJ’s, or Costco near you. 

I recently discovered, however, that the wholesale store experience near New York City is much different than that of suburbia. I was mesmerized by what I was seeing. 

Barbaric… if I had to describe it in a single word, it would be that. Thousands of people, literally, bumping into eachother left and right, crashing shopping carts, and butting in line as if it was “Black Friday.” As I walked the aisles, slowly keeping up with my friends, I found myself looking up more than I was looking down. It helped that I didn’t have any food shopping to do. It is so easy to miss things when you’re preoccupied. Think about it… when was the last time you went to a wholesale store not to shop? Well, I’m grateful I did. 

The first thing I noticed was the amount of food, particularly the meats. In terms of sustainability, it is amazing that we have such dominance over the planet that we can even fulfill our basic caloric needs. What happens, though, when society’s caloric demands exceed nutrition’s proverbial grasp? 

Take away #1: with increased demand and a fixed amount of nutrients in the environment, our food has become nutrient deprived. Not only does this present an issue of global sustainability, it also speaks to the arguable need for supplementation. The reality is it has become increasingly difficult to obtain one’s daily requirement of micronutrients, especially when you consider that a 2-liter of soda costs less than a head of broccoli, for example.

Allow this to serve as an introduction. Part 2 of this blog post will really dive into more specifics and discuss more of the issues we now face as a society.