As consumers we sometimes become irritated when we can’t find a product we want at the grocery store. We can’t imagine that the store is sold out of something we wanted --- and we might even let a clerk know how we are feeling!
Recently, I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal that made me pause and think about how blessed we are in this country. The article was about the challenges Wal-Mart is facing in India because of how difficult it is getting produce from a small village to retailers.
Here are some of the scenarios the Wall Street Journal presented about moving produce to market in India.
From Kheri Shikohpur to Chhutmalpur is five miles. It takes the farmers 45 minutes to three hours to make the trip. Village farmers use tractors and horse-pulled carts to reach the nearest wholesale market.
From Chhutmalpur to Azadpur it is 140 miles, which translates to seven hours to make the trip. Unrefrigerated trucks take the goods to the big-city wholesale markets like Azadpur where cold-storage warehouses exist, but are scarce.
From Azadpur to Gurgaon is 20 miles. It takes 90 minutes to travel it. Traders buy goods at big wholesale markets in Azadpur and take them to small markets like Gurgaon.
From the Gurgaon market to a store is five miles. That trip takes 20 minutes. Shop owners pick up their goods in small trucks or cars.
All of this adds up to a grueling trip to move produce from the farmer to the consumer. Granted it is not just the rough terrain but also the bureaucracy in India that slows the journey.
Nevertheless, the comparison between how produce travels in the U.S. and India is the focus here. If a store in India is out of an item, my guess is consumers aren’t sure when they will be able to buy it in the future. A day? A week? If a U.S. store is out of an item they will usually have it no later than the next day. Or, you can go down the street and get it from another store.
So what is my point? Life is better when we appreciate what we have rather than get irritated when we can’t get what we want at that moment. We are blessed in this country.