The Hidden Benefits of Schlepping Groceries

If you don’t have a car, then you’re probably familiar with the fine art that is grocery shopping on bike or foot — what to buy, what to pass on (jumbo bags of toilet paper, for example). Well, isn’t it nice to know that gasoline savings aren’t the only reward for your troubles?

Grocery shopping without a car may lead to healthier choices. Photo: Flickr/William Couch

Today Rob Pitingolo at Extraordinary Observations points to an Apartment Therapy article on the health benefits of “schlepping.” But it’s not just the lifting and walking (or cycling) that help you say fit, says Pitingolo, a car-free Washingtonian:

There are plenty of people who will argue until they’re blue in the face that grocery shopping without a car is an unacceptable burden in life. I wouldn’t take it that far, but I would agree that it’s less convenient and more challenging to do than if you have access to a car.

I don’t have a car, so when I do it, it means I have to make strategic shopping choices. I don’t buy whole watermelons or 12-packs of Pepsi because those things are really heavy and bulky and difficult to transport without a car. To some people this is a great tragedy.

What would life be without sugary soda and 15 pound melons? To me, it’s a blessing in disguise. Schlepping means I keep fresher food in the house, because I’m not tempted to “stock up” on junk that keeps indefinitely in the pantry. It means I have less waste because I don’t overbuy.

No, this isn’t for everybody, and I’ve heard dozens upon dozens of reasons why it’s impossible for many people and many families. But that’s not the point. The point is that sometimes when you look past what seems obvious, and you move beyond seeking out convenience at any cost, what you find might not be quite as bad as you might think. It could even be a blessing in disguise.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Pedestrian Observations wonders about the feasibility of a Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas high speed rail line. The Kansas Cyclist says that the state will allow drivers charged with DUI to operate motorized bicycles. And Reno Rambler reports that southern Utah is stepping up its efforts to welcome cyclists.