Monday, August 24, 2009

how to be a consumer when you don't have a car

It's back to school time. The kids' footwear is all the worse for wear, their undies have gotten pretty ratty and I'm feeling a need for a fashion infusion. In the past, this would have been when we made our our annual pilgrimage to the mall. So, how to go to the mall when you don't have a car? We have a few options:
  1. walk/BART/bus to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek
  2. walk/BART to downtown San Francisc
  3. walk/BART/shuttle bus to Bay Street in Emeryville
As I sat down and pondered my options this past weekend, I could not quite muster the courage to do any of the above. So, instead, we walked down to the shops on College Avenue and made stops at Jeremy's, Elements and Cotton Basics. The good news: we were able to support our local businesses by shopping locally, we didn't have to spend an hour and a half commuting, and we didn't have to fight the crowds at the mall. The bad news: we didn't get all of our shopping needs fulfilled. But, then again, that's why there's online shopping.

While there may be fabulous gourmet ice cream on our local shopping drag, there are no stores here that sell camping equipment. So, in preparation for our upcoming camping trip, we biked down to REI. It's probably about four miles there and what's nice about the route is that it goes through the Ohlone greenway, the pedestrian/bike path that follows the BART tracks through Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito. After dropping a chunk of change at REI, we loaded up our panniers with a 10-pound tent and some sleeping mats then biked the (slightly uphill) four miles home. Of course, we had nothing on the fellow biker we met in the REI parking area, a guy who looked to be in his sixties, who had set up his bike with front and back panniers in preparation for a trip he is planning from Paris to Amsterdam.

1 comment:

sarah said...

also, all along your local strip, loads of resale clothing stores. so you can consume & feel virtuous, since you're essentially "recycling."

doesn't solve the undies dilemma, though...